Everything is getting connected and producing data that is stored somewhereBy Al Cervero, AEM Senior Vice President, Construction, Mining and Utility  

Webopedia defines the Internet of Things (IoT) as the ever-growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity.

It goes on to say that the Internet of Things extends internet connectivity beyond traditional devices like computers, smartphones and tablets to a diverse range of devices and everyday things (like equipment) that communicate and interact with the external environment, all via the Internet.

Does any of this make you uncomfortable?

The reality is, everything is getting connected, everything is producing data and it is all getting stored somewhere. Remember the Apple dilemma? Did the FBI find a way around it?

The saying today is, if you're sharing data, you have to get a return or value worth giving up the information.

Every time you use Google maps, you're sharing your location so you can improve your understanding of directions. Is it worth the share?  Every time you ask Amazon's Echo to give you information, they know your preferences. The next time you want something, don't be surprised if it tells you before you even know you want it. In fact, have you noticed Google maps is telling you how long it takes you to get home from work before you even thought about leaving?

How is this value exchange different than what happens with equipment? Customers operate the machine, creating data they need to improve efficiency. Manufacturers are reviewing that same data and customers expect value in return. Are you delivering that value in exchange for understanding and improving your machine? Providing electronic updates, repair notices, overheating warnings, etc.?

Is the sharing concerning?  Might the customer be uncomfortable for liability purposes or warranty purposes?  Make them comfortable – provide the value.

The world is more and more connected every day. Data is created, stored and analyzed, and today or tomorrow will show the value.

Don't be uncomfortable. Face it, be inquisitive and get on it and let your customers help. We can't turn back time; we can only find the value. Look for opportunities to provide value and benefit from it.