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Interana 2016 Predictions: IoT Enables Businesses outside of Tech to Gain Insights from Big Data

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2016.  Read them in this 8th Annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Bobby Johnson, Co-Founder and CTO, Interana

IoT Enables Businesses outside of Tech to Gain Insights from Big Data

With 2016 just around the corner, all eyes are on the Internet of Things (IoT). Ask analysts, manufacturers, and software developers, and they'll all tell you that among the major topics on big data and analytics, the IoT will grow dramatically and become a part of everyone's daily life in 2016. It's not only about smart phones and watches, look for BlueTooth deadbolts on front doors, smart football helmets, and a sky full of drones around Christmas. A recent TechNavio report (Feb 2015) predicts the number of connected devices will grow to exceed 17 billion in the next 5 years--more than two for each of the planet's projected 2020 population of 7.7 billion.

This means that in 2016 many traditional businesses will suddenly have access to dramatically more data generated from their business and customers than ever before, collected from IoT devices and sensors. So 2016 will be the year that they must learn how to manage and analyze this data, and incorporate that analysis into their business processes to make better day to day decisions. To adopt new technologies and practices is a hefty challenge, but it's also a huge opportunity for traditional businesses to compete with web businesses using exactly the tools that have led to the success of the web.

Web companies have always had access to detailed information about what their customers are doing, because it happens on their servers. The most successful web companies are the ones who are adept at analyzing that data and using it to improve their products and their operations.

With the IoT revolution, the entire world is being instrumented the same way a website is. A huge range of businesses such as retailers, manufacturers, hotels, restaurants, and hospitals are now able to collect information about how their customers move through the experience of interacting with them. For example an electronic ordering device at a restaurant tells you exactly when every person has ever decided to order a dessert or another drink. Optimizing the buying experience to sell more drinks is exactly the same problem as optimizing a mobile game to get more in-app purchases. Another example is a applying for a loan at a bank - it might involve web searches, phone calls, and visits to branches over a long period of time. When data on how accounts are created is brought together it can be analyzed and optimized the same way a web retailer optimizes a checkout funnel.

This will be enormously valuable for consumers - every real-world interaction will get the same level of user experience care that a great mobile app does. The reason you love your smart phone is because the best apps have such an easy and seamless interface, and the way this happens is by iterating those designs again and again based on data of how they are used.

For businesses, the race is on in 2016 to leverage all their raw data so they can provide great real-world experiences. The companies who do it best will be the long term winners in their spaces, just as the web and mobile companies who dominate now are the ones who were best able to iterate on their products based on data.

To do this, companies first need to recognize data sources that matter to them and get the right kind of sensors and devices deployed, which is a trend already picking up steam. Next they must build or buy tools to let them easily look at the data so they can make day to day decisions based on it. And I don't just mean the analysts or the data team, everyone in a company can benefit from detailed information about what is really happening on the ground with real customers. If this is done well it leads to the most important change - everyone in the company is making decisions based on what customers are actually doing, and therefore making better decisions. This has been the norm for web and mobile companies (at least the most successful ones) for many years now, and thanks to IoT, 2016 is the year where it will become the norm for the most successful companies in every other industry.  

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About the Author

Bobby Johnson, co-founder and CTO

Bobby Johnson is co-founder and CTO of Interana.  As Interana's technical leader, Bobby guides his team by example and continually inspires them to create with big impact on the business world and ultimately people's lives in-mind. Previously, Bobby served as director of engineering at Facebook where he was responsible for the infrastructure engineering team that scaled Facebook during its heaviest growth years from 2006-2012, taking the social media giant from a few million college users to over a billion users globally. During his tenure, his team solved difficult scaling and infrastructure challenges, adopted Hadoop, and built Hive and Cassandra. Bobby personally wrote Scribe and Haystack. He received a Bachelors of Science degree in Engineering and Applied Science from Caltech.

Published Wednesday, December 16, 2015 8:02 AM by David Marshall
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