There's been a lot said lately about smart thermostats and refrigerator spam, but in our inaugural Tweet Jam of the year we moved past the household appliances (with a brief toaster diversion) to look at the impact the Internet of Things (IoT) will have on businesses. We examined the potential benefits and challenges of the IoT and tackled the pink elephant in the room: privacy.
Don't Believe the Hype?
It's hard to wrap your head around figures like $19 trillion. But when Cisco CEO John Chambers predicted earlier this month that the IoT's value would reach that value by 2015, people noticed. Realistic? Pipe dream? While the numbers may not align, the participants responded with a qualified "yes" when asked if they felt the IoT's hype was deserved.
From Home to Work
When people give examples of the IoT, the usual suspects are smart thermostats or their Fitbit. But how can this connectivity help in businesses? And has it already started under our noses? The participants had a lot of ideas of where IoT could help. But automation of repetitive tasks and the IoT's potential to improve healthcare were two clear winners.
Marketing's Best Friend?
The promise of deeper customer knowledge cause many to hail the rise of the Internet of Things as a marketing boon. From improved cooperation between companies to improvements in customer service — the benefits are varied, provided marketers can sift through the data to find the insights to act on.
Roadblocks and Risks
The potential of return from the IoT is matched almost as equally by the potential for risk. From the risk of being hacked, to cost and complexity of data integration, from connectivity to the additional stress machine to machine communications will add to companies struggling to work with current big data loads — it's a steep learning curve ahead for the IoT.
To have the all-encompassing connectivity that the Internet of Things promises, will standards need to be in place? Or will the technology outpace the creation of standards in this area (as it has in others), leaving us to work them out at a later time? From the technical requirements to the larger question of data collection and privacy standards, the answers ran the gamut.
Elephant in the Room: Privacy
The question of privacy came up throughout the Tweet Jam with different solutions proposed to balance the collection of data with respect for the user's privacy. The "opt out" suggestion came up regularly, though it's unclear how people would be able to opt out of pervasive connectivity.
A term brought up again and again was trust — can transparency combined with convenience be enough for people to forgo privacy but retain trust in companies?