Connected devices – Enabling efficiency and enhanced experiences

50 billion connected devicesKnown by its more popular term, the ‘internet of things’, connected devices are changing the way consumers and businesses work, play and interact. By 2020, there could be up to 50 billion connected devices1 – and an explosion of connected ‘things’ will permeate all aspects of our lives.

The ultimate goal of this is a network of devices which know their owners intimately, including everyday decisions, which can provide them with better insights and a more personalised experience. For businesses, a connected network will create more opportunities for automated efficiency – and a network that is able to reduce waste on its own.

Case in point: GE using smart tech to increase productivity

GE launched its first smart factory in 2012 to manufacture sodium nickel batteries, resulting in some significant benefits to the business.

In 2012, the business announced it would spend $1.5 billion in order to increase efficiency in production. The company installed 10,000 sensors across 180,000 square feet of floor space2. These sensors measure everything, from the temperatures used to make batches of batteries and even air pressure. This allows employees to track the history of specific products, and find faults more easily. Employees are also given iPads with internal apps to track this information. Using these insights, workers are able to detect faults quickly and can stop those products from going to market.

By implementing these changes, GE forecasts it will increase worker productivity by 1.5% every year.3

Looking at the future

  • Consumers are growing accustomed to connected devices and expect the type of insights they can receive from connected digital ecosystems which track everything they do and provide them with insights.
  • Businesses are increasingly using connected devices in order to automatically detect insights from within their businesses – and improve efficiencies. Businesses in all industries, not just manufacturing, should investigate how these processes can be installed.  

What you need to know

  • The connected device trend is already changing how business and consumers interact – users expect more information from technology.
  • This expectation will seep into all and every communication. The onus is on businesses to provide consumers with insights, and not just observations.
  • In the workplace, those businesses which track their own operations with connected devices will have access to more accurate representations of their productivity than ever before. Those that don’t will be left behind.

Graph reference: Business Insider, ‘Wearable Gadgets Are Still Not Getting The Attention They Deserve — Here’s Why They Will Create A Massive New Market’, 30 August 2013
1 ITU, ‘ITU report confirms: dramatic growth in data volumes and globalised services create new ICT regulatory challenges’, 18 April 2013
2 MIT Technology Review, ‘An Internet for Manufacturing’, 28 January 2013
3 NextBigFuture, ‘GE putting $1.5 billion to scale Industrial Internet and targets 1.5% Worker Productivity Growth Each Year’, 30 January 2013