staircase to the cloudOnce proposed as a virtual representation of identifiable pieces of information from the Internet, the Internet of Things (IoT) is taking on an entirely new life of its own. Moving from a control of networks, it now signifies advanced connectivity among devices, systems, people, services, and things. And it is even reaching beyond machine-to-machine communication to cover a variety of processes, domains, and applications.

As the IoT is embedded into every physical object ranging from baby monitors to industrial sensors, investors, entrepreneurs, and engineers are eager to cash in the possibilities. IDC estimates that IoT-based technology and services will grow from $4.8 trillion in 2012 to $7.3 trillion in 2017 with a compound annual growth rate of 8.8%. Plus, most of this revenue will likely come from services, not the products themselves.

Think the Internet of Things isn’t for you? Here’s why you should reconsider.

What about your business? Does the IoT present an opportunity to grow revenue and become more profitable? It may be hard to believe that companies that are not manufacturers, retailers, telcos, or logistics providers could be impacted by the IoT. However, according to the America’ SAP Users Group (ASUG) IoT webcast “IoT and Industrie 4.0 – European Perspective, Examples, and Business Models,” every business in any industry and of any size is impacted.

Not convinced? Here are 4 surprising trends powered by the Internet of Things that may make you reconsider.

1. Change is already in progress and widespread.

The hyperconnectivity associated with the IoT is revolutionizing our behaviors in every facet of our lives. We know how to get the information we want, when we want it, and with the ease of typing a phrase and clicking submit. Technology lifecycles are overrunning economic cycles as innovations are now adopted within hours – not 2, 3, or 10 years.

As a result of this evolution, we are all sharing intelligence, roles, and responsibilities with people and machines through intuitive models, applications, and simplification. At the end of the day, that means more-informed and well-rounded decision making to move the business forward.

2. The IoT conversation addresses different things to different organizations.

It is widely known that plant floor view the IoT as an opportunity to become more productive and less disrupted. However, the way of consummation directly impacts supportive functions such as procurement, marketing, and aftermarket services.

  • Procurement sees its potential for adopting greater process automation, reaching better purchase agreements, and creating a network of suppliers to reign in maverick spend.
  • Marketing is targeting cost savings, thanks to the opportunity to collect and analyze actionable customer data, automatically update social media feeds, and most important, engage consumers that were once unreachable.
  • Aftermarket services are also emerging onto the scene by learning from manufacturing how to keep their customer’s products seamlessly operational and well-maintained.

3. The IoT is no longer just “cool” – it is transformative.

Senior leaders are not buying into the IoT rhetoric because it is cool or the latest fad; rather, they are fed up with the linear, insulated view generated by classic thinking and systems. After all, customers want results, and they are clearly and loudly asking for them. They are not willing to wait for vendors to eventually get the message and respond a couple years later. They want results now.

The IoT delivers a foundation for gathering information automatically and in real time, and for igniting customer-focused thinking, decision making, and action. By focusing more on achievable business models that create value and minimize waste in time, money, and effort, companies can innovate, behave, and lower costs in a manner that satisfies customer demands.

4. Federal governments are getting on board.

Yes, even governments see the value of the IoT. One example is Germany’s Industry 4.0 program. Designed to transform the nation into a manufacturing powerhouse, the initiative is focused on using digitalization of devices, information, processes, and things to eliminate waste from the overall system.

Why is this so important to a government body? Whenever a business increases productivity and revenues at the same time, employees realize higher wages. For the government, that means higher tax income and GDP despite declining populations. And that is what Germany hopes Industry 4.0 will deliver.

Start making the Internet of Things a reality for your business

Watch the entire Webcast series, “Internet of Things (IoT) Community Webcast Series,” presented by ASUG and SAP. Topics include:

Replay available: Making the Internet of Things Real
Replay available: Transform Business Operations and Reimagine Business
Replay available: From Big Data to Smart Data (IoT)
Replay available: IoT and Industrie 4.0 – European Perspective, Examples, and Business Models
Replay available: Operationalizing IoT Data for Predictive Analytics
Replay available: IoT – From Vision to Value
June 30: Transforming Your Business with IoT – SAP Partner Perspectives
July 9: Accelerating IoT in your Organization: Introducing SAP’s IoT Development Platform

For more on how technology is transforming the way we live and work, see Big Data, The Internet Of Things, And The Fourth V.