You don’t need to work at a tech startup to be exposed to the vast internet-related jargon being tossed around daily. Ambiguously coined terms like the “Internet of Everything” or “Internet of Things” have taken the form of even vaguer acronyms (“…you know, the IoE”). Even if you are savvy enough to have deduced the general meaning of these abstract concepts, you’re likely still wondering what exactly these “things” are, and, more importantly, how you can capitalize on them in the workplace.
IoT vs. IoE: As Interconnected as Their Names Imply
Defined loosely as the universe of objects or devices that are connected to the internet, the Internet of Things is as broad and rapidly evolving of a concept as the medium to which it refers. As the world around us becomes more automated with voice assistant devices, wearables, smart homes and other—well, things—the term IoT is more commonly being used to describe objects that communicate with one another sans human touch.
While arguably one in the same, the Internet of Everything takes an even broader stance, defined by Cisco as the “intelligent connection of people, process, data and things.” Essentially, it takes the concept of the IoT a step further, adding layers of intelligence that enable syncing, convergence and other actions that require virtual, data-driven communication.
In truth, the IoT and IoE have become a mashup of vendor-defined concepts that can change based on the latest gadget or technology being promoted. In the interest of clarity, let’s think of the IoT and IoE as one in the same (“the IoE”), simply defined as anything out there that is powered electronically and can connect to the internet.
Maximizing the IoE – Where to Start
At the most fundamental level, companies of all sizes should be focusing on utilizing the IoE to enhance their team’s ability to work productively. With all the smart technologies on the market today, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the novelty of things like automated appliances, which can involve significant upfront costs and yield little to no long-term savings. Meanwhile, low voltage, internet-controlled lighting can yield significant savings in both the short and long term. Above all, ensuring your staff is able to connect to your systems from any device, anywhere, is the most important thing you can do to cut costs through increased operational efficiency.
Agnostic of device type or brand, an employee should be able to walk into a conference room, connect seamlessly to its audio visual technology and effectively present his or her content to everyone in the room. Before you consider purchasing that remote air quality monitor or whatever the coolest smart gadget might be, you must ensure your employees are fully empowered with the foundational technology to succeed in their designated roles using their devices. And with the diversity of devices out there, that’s no small task.
Implementing an Effective IoE Strategy
At SiteREADY, we understand that approaching the concept of something as seemingly all-encompassing as “the Internet of Everything” can be a daunting task, which is why we advise clients to start with the basics.
Take, for instance, the ability to move around your building. Whether you’re renting out a single floor of retail space or 30 floors of a commercial high rise, your staff and visitors need to connect seamlessly to your network—from anywhere in the building. Think about what your employees need at the daily level to succeed on the job, then progressively identify and implement new opportunities for technology to optimize your operations.
As with any operational investment, there are costs associated with leveraging new opportunities through the IoE—and they can be significant. When considering the types of technologies that would be most valuable to your business, equally consider your potential return on investment and whether there are other options that would yield incrementally better results. Generally, there is minimal cost to enabling workplace mobility, and that cost is quickly overcome by the gain in productivity you would expect to see. But, because we’re dealing with intangible elements like efficiency and productivity, this can be difficult to measure in the short-term.
By nature, SiteREADY’s consulting team is immersed in the ever-expanding universe we call the IoE, and our experts are here to help you understand which of these seemingly infinite solutions will fit your organization’s needs. To schedule a site evaluation, call us at (813) 517-1700 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributor: Kevin Schmidt, VP of Technology Services at SiteREADY