The widely quoted survey from McKinsey Global Institute about the Internet of Things (IoT) reveals that the „myriad possibilities that arise from the ability to monitor and control things in the physical world electronically have inspired a surge of innovation and enthusiasm”. But: It is the myriad of possibilities, which make first steps into new business models, service offerings, product improvements and process acceleration difficult. Missing technical standards and even not clearly defined terminologies need pioneering work within companies and cultural change in business partnerships. Whether it is Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or more consumer oriented IoT – the linkage of the physical world with the digital sphere will finally need partnerships between companies who have never before thought of possible cooperation. Strategic challenges face technical and security risks as well as legal issues as business models will enter new ground in dependencies and responsibilities in product and service safety as well as data security.

Internet of Things offers exciting business opportunities, but needs orchestrated transition processes. These can can liberate an inspiring atmosphere of innovation – if well guided and done with care.

An ideal playground for forward-thinking revolutionists, using IoT and IIoT as a springboard to leave competitors behind. And such revolutionists are not rare: As the BI Intelligence report found, manufacturers globally will invest $140 billion in IoT solutions over the next five years. Of all of the industries analyzed, manufacturers will be the earliest adopters of IoT solutions and will invest heavily in new IoT solutions for factory floors. Logistic companies are expected to invest roughly $112 billion in 2019 in automating their warehouses and shipping. The concept of connecting household devices to the Internet, will nearly triple to $1.7 trillion by 2020, research firm International Data Corp said. A Forrester study with 593 organizations in 16 countries, commissioned by Zebra Technologies, showed, that nearly 65 percent of surveyed firms have deployed or are in the process of implementing IoT solutions. Over 80% of surveyed firms agreed that IoT solutions will be the most strategic technology initiative for their organization in a decade. These firms represent many sectors, including retail, manufacturing, consumer products, transportation, healthcare, government, oil/gas, and hospitality. Organizations deploy these IoT solutions to address a variety of strategic, operational, and business challenges.

These activities are accompanied with cultural and communication changes, as explained above. IoT initiatives can affect every department – IT, business and product development, manufacturing, sales and marketing, finance and legal, customer service, etc. This results in enhanced requirements to orchestrate internal knowledge sharing and education, role-based information management as well as specific communication measures for external stakeholders such as business partners, customer, press and investors. An exciting transition process, which can liberate an inspiring atmosphere of innovation – if it is well guided and done with care.

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