With all the talk of the Internet of Things being this years buzz word, bandwagon and FUD focus (fear, uncertainty and doubt created by the tech industry), its worth remembering its still really all about what I, and a few others, call the Internet of People.
The Internet, this amazing, democratizing resource for everyone, connecting everyone, giving everyone access to the World’s information and now connecting everyones ‘things’ as well, is not about the devices, gadgets, databases, apps and profits to be made from it, but about the people in the World it enriches, it brings closer together, it educates and it helps lead better loving and serving lives. It has turned the tables on commercial organizations, putting the people (customers) in the driving seat as business models are turned on their heads and our willingness to share information with organisations and others is what is going to make them, and us successful in the future from a commercial perspective.
As John Mckean’s puts it in his new book, The Customers New Voice “for the first time in history, individuals are developing the ability and willingness to share any information at any scale with anyone”, be that directly through trusting an organization with their information, and indirectly through the internet of things. This creates a generational win-win: customers get what they want – extreme levels of product relevancy, experiences, interactions and firms get what they want – highly expanded revenue generation opportunities, high conversion rates and lower costs.
So when firms are jumping on the IoT bandwagon, sticking out their device things be that in a fridge, a car or at a shopping Mall, collecting all that data, it means nothing if the firm hasn’t mastered the new competence of how to inspire enthusiastic customers into sharing their fuller information, actual intentions as well as their IoT data. This is going to be the real battleground as firms learn the competencies around listening, creating trust, and being able to make sense of all that data better than their competitors.
For people to take part in this win/win world, there is also a new set of online digital competencies which, are going to be as important for people to master as their financial competence and as valuable a personal asset, as a house. This is because, simply stated, we are spending more and more of our time online and therefore we had better get good at being online or we are going to waste a lot of that time, we will not be well informed, we will end up buying at a higher price, miss the best deals, loose touch with our friends, not get that job and become less confident in the ‘offline’ world as a knock on effect.
Social media competence and ability is one of the good measures of how competent people are in the digital age, as if they are good on social media, they know how to listen online (they have refined their streams of news and information), they have built a brand or persona (which people find attractive and deem worth engaging with), they know how to communicate and the language of online (a killer app being “chat” , witness the meteoric rise of WhatsApp and Snapchat ) cutting down the traditional communications barriers, they know how to use the tools and technology (how to use a computer/tablet/mobile and associated apps) to get want they want because they have invested time to learn them and have a focus for their online activity.
So when you hear the term Internet of Things this year, remember to put that in context of the Internet of People as a firm by learning the competencies of how to really connect with your customers (the people) and as an individual, thinking about the consequences of an even greater, inevitable (because its the way the world works) personal utilization of “all things internet” and learning how to get better at using all aspects of this Global resource.
Of course another Internet lesson is that you rarely come up with something unique as a term or topic. How interesting then when you Google the term (after I had written my article) you get 2 articles:
1. The Internet of Things is really the Internet of People – from Mark Hurd of Oracle, someone who I used to work with at NCR, so great we think alike – good article.
2. Internet of People – Technology 2015 to 2025 from IDTechEX – a report who’s emphasis is really on the tech/things side of the house.