The Internet of Things (IOT), also in some desperation known as Internet of Thingamajigs,[i] keeps people puzzled in both business and IT. Rest assured, there won’t be an overarching Internet of Everything any time soon. Instead and in fact, a strong tendency is emerging to elevate IOT as the convergence of IT, OT (Operational Tech, industrially speaking) and a very loosly defined all-encompassing IOThingamajigs. It means that the latter will bridge the interaction gap between Information Technology, Operational Technology, Production, Maintenance, and Mass Personalization.[ii] New IOT is developing as a Transformative Tech Triad, best visualized by this self-explanatory brand logo (left).
Internet father Vint Cerf rightly pinpoints the IOThingamajigs quite basically as “Internet of Things and Sensors and Actuators,”[iii] or everything Internet between and beyond IT and OT, including Wearable Computing, Personal Care & Medical Devices, Connected Cars, Smart Buildings, Smart City solutions, Smart Logistics, the so-called Industrial Internet of Things, the Internet of Things & Services, Industry 4.0, Machine to Machine communication (M2M), and so on.
The Decade of SMACT
IOT Triad’s developing business technology story is pretty straight forward. In 2000, right after Kevin Ashton had launched his RFID IOT at Procter & Gamble, the Internet bubble blew up and a brand new calendar era began. From that Year Zero on, businesses in Olympic four-year periods have jumped and will continue to jump digital breakthrough S curves from Social to Mobile to Analytics, Cloud, and Things – in one word SMACT. In January 2010, IBM’s CEO Sam Palmisano proclaimed the Decade of Smart which now tangibly develops as the Decade of SMACT. The five constituents of the forceful SMACT foundation are equally important as they mutually maturify each other over time into one interwoven cyber-physical platform. Of course the whole journey started long before 2010 (see below).
Business-wise, SMACT’s Social component equals the well-known Social Business trend. Mobile equals Always On or NYPD (Network Your Pet Device). Analytics is short for data-driven Business Intelligence plus Artificial Intelligence: Big Data+BI+AI. Cloud is the technology notion for Secure Services Anywhere. And connected Things means everything Internetworked beyond IT and OT. APIs and mobile apps are knitting this rich business technology ecosystem together, where Personal and Pervasive Computing come together and cross pollinate one another to form a formidable full-circle Pervasive Interaction Engine (PIE) that expectedly will generate over a trillion dollar in revenue for business and government worldwide.
Pitching SMACT-driven IOT
It’s impossible to ignore the disruptive SMACT powers – so dominant and completely natural this platform development is. One abstraction layer higher, traditional IT, OT (Operational Tech) and the IOThingamajigs constitute the new Technology Triad for organizations to fully embrace. As far as SMACT is concerned: Analytics is at the center and meanwhile we have entered the defining ACT period which will see the most of all acceleration in innovation and adoption.
Arguably the best mnemonic pitch for SMACT-driven IOT comes from the three mottos that 124 year old Things company Royal Philips chose to promote and guide the company right into our IOT Tech Triad era. Read them carefully: “Let’s Make Things Better,” “Sense and Simplicity,” and “Innovation and You.” Only the last one is active now, but together these deliberately selected slogans perfectly spell what the SMACT future has in store: IOT Triad-wise, for suppliers of goods and services, and all conceivable partners and customers alike!
Triumph of Technology
Another way of explaining what the SMACT-driven IOT Triad comes down to – with a hat tip to Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema in their 1995 book called The Discipline of Market Leaders – is the tight integration of Product Leadership, Operational Excellence, and Customer Intimacy. Through this convergence a convincing cyber-physical “Triumph of Technology” (Dutch: Triomf der Techniek) can be reached, the ultimate memory aid and goal that once again Philips used decades ago to advertize itself in its home country.
11 Olympic Internet Years in Three Decades – Just for the Record
1980 – Moscow: Accessibility to the ARPANET is deliberately being expanded; TCP/IP is introduced in 1982.
1984 – Los Angeles: TCP/IP is installed at CERN after Tim Berners-Lee returned.
1988 – Seoul: “Once upon a time computers were for thinking. That’s no longer true. Computers are for communicating now, and networks allowed that to happen,” says Harvard astronomer-turned-to-computer-expert Clifford Stoll in the Washington Post. The Morris worm infects the Internet with malware for the first time and DARPA sets up CERT, the first Computer Emergency Response Team.
1992 – Barcelona: A Web browser is still only available on the NeXT OS; by the end of 1992 there are 50 web servers.
1996 – Atlanta: Frantic commercialization of the Web. US FED chief Alan Greenspan memorably warns of Irrational Exuberance, economically speaking. The Internet bubble builds up.
2000 – Sydney: The Internet bubble burst and financial markets plunge dramatically Year Zero of the decisive SMACT era.
2004 – Athens: Web 2.0; Facebook is founded. Breakthrough for the Social SMACT development, paving the way for the Social Business trend.
2008 – Beijing: Apple launches its App Store; the app economy takes off. Breakthrough for the SMACT’s Mobile component. Also Lehmann Brothers collapses and the Great Recession sets in.
2012 – London: US president Barack Obama launches his government’s Big Data Initiative; Gartner revises its definition. Breakthrough for the Big Data Analytics SMACT development.
2016 – Rio de Janeiro: Over 20 billion dollars of Cloud revenue projected; IT spend expected to be mostly Cloud. Breakthrough for the SMACT’s Cloud component.
2020 – Tokyo: Probably 50-100 billion connected Things on the Internet worldwide, throughout economic sectors; multi-trillion dollars in revenue projected; Industry 4.0. Breakthrough for the connected Things SMACT development.