I have been following the trends of “Internet of Things” (IoT) and “Internet of Everything” (IoE) for a number of years while considering how these trends might affect organizational productivity. On my professional Pinterest page, almost 100 resources on these overlapping topics have been collected. One such resource is Hess (2014) who defined IoT as “a system where the Internet is connected to the physical world via ubiquitous sensors” (para. 1) and noted that sensors can be any device that gathers data and reports back to a data collection facility such as a data warehouse, a database, or log server. Thus, the “The Internet of Things is not just about gathering of data but also about the analysis and use of data” and gave the classic example of the Internet Coke Machine designed by computer science students in 1982 to keep them from making a wasted trip to the Coke machine only to find it empty! According to Chui, Löffler, and Roberts, two types of applications from IoT include : (1) information and analysis and (2) automation and control. Better quality information can lead to enhanced decision-making in organizations. For instance, the tracking of products through embedded sensors to track RFID tags as products move through the supply chain are being utilized to improve inventory management. According to Chui et al. (2010), situational awareness is enhanced as decision makers are given real-time data through visualization technologies allowing them to make needed adjustments. Also, IoT can support more complex human planning and decision making. For instance, the oil and gas industry is relying on the sociomateriality of mediated data through extensive sensor networks placed in the earth’s crust thereby allowing for decision-making at a distance and lowering the costs of development and improving the flow of oil (See also Monteiro, Almklov, and Hepsø 2012; McWhorter, 2014). IoT has the potential for enhancing decision-making in organizations based on higher quality information being provided from tracking customer behavior. Also, enhanced situational awareness, and sensor-driven decision analytics are improved. In the meantime, automation and control types of IoT depicted by Chui et al. (2010) include: process optimization (i.e. automated control of closed systems), optimized resource consumption (i.e. smart meters), and complex autonomus systems (i.e. collision avoidance systems that sense objects and apply brake).
Internet of Everything (IoE)
Recently, I have been interested in the Internet of Everything (IoE) because it moves IoT to a new realm. Cisco (2013) described IoE as: “People. Process. Data. Things. Yesterday, they functioned independently. Today, the Internet of Everything (IoE) brings them all together by combining machine-to-machine (M2M), person-to-machine (P2M), and person-to-person (P2P) connections”. This is an avenue toward a sustainable competitive advantage. And, IoE certainly should be of interest to those researching Virtual Human Resource Development (Virtual HRD) as it underscores the need for Technology Development for the acquisition of skills necessary to understand and implement the changes for people, process, data and things. –Rochell McWhorter Connect with Rochell on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rochellmcwhorter