Over the past several years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been making the rounds in tech circles as the next big thing. The plethora of data to come from all of these devices has been part of the big data push. The sheer mass of data to be generated by the IoT is mind boggling given all the sensors we are seeing in our formerly “dumb” machines. Theoretically, with all of that data, impressive predictions can be made based upon tracking trends and behaviors.
For some, the benefits will come from the opposite direction. IoT will provide situational context to everything that we do, enabling systems to provide the information we need exactly when we need it.
Imagine buying a new television. You plug it in, as per the instructions, but you are having trouble determining how to properly adjust the picture or browse the Internet. The manual is not detailed enough to provide the answer so you decide to look online.
Normally, you would go to Google, search for a combination of your model number and the problem you are having. That may yield results, but it is a very slow process finding the right combination of the right question and an answer that doesn’t point back to an “answer” you have already ruled out.
Instead, why not let your computer, tablet or phone detect the TV on your home network? Simply click on an app that not only manages your devices, but provides detailed documentation and troubleshooting information on every feature. The answers you need are right there, without having to search for them.
Talk about simple.
Just In Time Information Chains
This is the world we are entering, Just In Time (JIT) information. You walk into a store, your identity is detected using your phone, and the correct staff automatically reacts to your presence in the “ideal” way. Your phone is becoming your identifier. Your collection of apps paints a clear persona of who you are for retailers. When generalized and linked to your phone ID and not your name, there is a lot of information that can be gleaned and used at a moment’s notice.
This has the potential to change the world in ways that we are only beginning to imagine. It is forcing us to take a deeper look at what privacy means and how we balance it against the benefits. The question I have been trying to answer is, How will this impact Content Management?
When you look from the marketing perspective, it is going to provide a lot of information to marketers to focus their message to prospects and customers. Every new sensor is just one more data point leading to a clearer picture of who you are and how they can “help you.”
When we look at the rest of the Content Management world, I see minimal impacts in the short term using conventional IoT definitions. Manufacturers and suppliers can use it to provide better customer support and to provide customers information they need quickly. In our day-to-day world of collaboration in the office, we are years away from significant impact.
Or are we?
Internet of People
In my work life, I play distinct roles. The needs of those roles are well defined and independent of the devices that I am using. Of course, this is the Internet of Things, not just devices. If we start to analyze people in this context, the big picture changes.
Before I go to my next meeting, what if I checked the social media feeds of the participants to try and determine their current moods and attitudes? A normally cheerful colleague may be in a bad mood. Knowing that in advance would help our collaborative efforts.
When you think on the potential benefits of monitoring different media as sensors monitoring people, we discover an IoT that can start to benefit businesses today. If live sentiment analysis can be fine-tuned and automated to inform me how the people I interact with are doing, that could have a huge impact on my business.
Maybe we are closer to seeing benefit from IOT in the everyday business world than I thought.
Title image by Aaron Amat (Shutterstock)
Editor's Note: Time to revisit Laurence's Instead of Fighting Content Management, Simplify It
About the Author
Laurence Hart is the Content Management Strategist at Alfresco. Laurence works with organizations to help them evaluate their strategy as it relates to their Content Management efforts, bringing two decades of experience solving the various challenges implementing content solutions.
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