‘Internet of everything’ promises profits for the nimble

We’re not anywhere close yet to having achieved the “internet of everything” (IoE) but the growing connectivity among people, devices and organizations is already a big money-maker for business.

The increasingly networked world is expected to enable global profits of at least $613 billion for private-sector businesses this year, according to a recent study by Cisco. And the biggest profits will go to companies that optimize connections among people, processes, data and things.

“The internet of everything has the potential to significantly reshape our economy and transform key industries,” said Rob Lloyd, Cisco’s president of development and sales. “The question is who will come out on top and win in this new economy. This study shows us that success won’t be based on geography or company size but on who can adapt fastest.”

Cisco’s study looked at 7,500 global businesses and IT leaders in 12 countries. It found that the US, China and Germany can expect to reap the greatest values from the expansion of “smart” networks in 2013.

So where’s the money in moving toward an “internet of everything”? Cisco identified five areas where an increasingly connected world is also good for the bottom line:

  • Better use of assets – By helping businesses to act, sell and manage processes more effectively, the internet of everything reduces both expenses and the cost of goods. Over the next 10 years, those benefits could reach a value of $2.5 trillion, Cisco found.
  • Improved employee productivity – Smarter connections mean people on the job can be more productive … or produce the same amount of work in fewer hours. The value from this could reach $2.5 trillion over the coming decade.
  • More efficient supply chains and logistics – Less waste and better processes could add up to $2.7 trillion worth of benefits in this area, the Cisco study found.
  • Happier customers – By improving customer experiences through the internet of everything, businesses can add more customers and increase the value of existing ones. Total potential benefit over the next 10 years: $3.7 trillion.
  • Faster, and more profitable, innovation – Smarter, more plugged-in businesses can go to market more quickly and enjoy improved returns on their investments in research and development. The value of faster, better innovation could reach $3 trillion by 2023.

But is what’s good for businesses — higher profits, higher productivity, faster and more efficient processes — good for the people who work for and or buy from them? Yes, the leaders questioned by Cisco assert.

One-third of those responding to the study said they believe the internet of everything will create jobs, and half said they believed it will lead to higher wages.

Those future jobs, though, might not be what today’s job-hunters are looking for. The Cisco study noted:

“The top jobs of tomorrow don’t even exist today. IoE will reshape what we define as employment because it will allow businesses to tap into employment resources on demand. In addition, IoE shortens the time required to learn new skills thanks to advances in online education. This reduces the amount of structural unemployment.”


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