Over the last decade, the introduction of connected technologies has changed our lives. Across all manner of physical objects, sensors are being embedded that can track and share information, self-optimize and learn how to perform better — with or without human intervention. Welcome to the connected world of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Edwina Fitzmaurice, our Global Advisory Business Development Leader, says connected devices and the IoT will increasingly have a major impact on the way the world works.
“IoT connected sensors enable the monitoring of the physical world of machines, ‘things’ and even people, and with some intelligence attached, the devices can communicate and transact with each other,” she says. For example, sensors in a self-driving car connected to a passenger’s health monitor could detect if the passenger was having a heart attack, identify and divert to the nearest hospital, alert the emergency room, advise the family and let the health insurance company know what was happening.
In a world where IoT devices are pervasive and connected, many more scenarios like the example above will be created. So much so that our many aspects of our lifestyles will be transformed.
And with each new lifestyle or behavioral change, new, as yet unimagined, consumer needs will arise, opening new doors for businesses to meet those needs.
The challenge for the C-suite
“The opportunities exist, but for hard-pressed C-suite executives it can be difficult to imagine the future possibilities created by IoT. The C-suite comprehends the need to innovate and set the tone inside their organizations around the importance of embracing new technologies. But then they have to rely on and enable their people to bring forth new ideas to create the breakthrough results” she says.
With that call to action, we see a shift in how organizations respond. Millennials entering the workforce can be an important resource for companies because this group quickly grasps digital concepts and can reimagine how work could be done. Increasingly we see younger managers leading “innovation challenges” inside their organizations to rapidly tap into the art of the possible around the emerging technologies.
It could be argued that middle management has the most difficult position while this challenge is going on; they understand the strategic shift toward disruption for growth but are busy running the current business and have often spent a great deal of their career working on cost reduction or efficiency programs.
“A new type of leadership is required where disruption, creativity, innovation and a growth mindset are demanded, and this can be a challenge for middle managers who have been rewarded for efficiency over many years. Middle management sets the day-to-day pace of an organization and so it is an essential part of any strategic imperative within an organization. Strong change management is important to enable this critical group to lead the change,” says Fitzmaurice.