The Internet of Things (IoT) has gone from being a topic best left to technology futurists to one that is about as common as corn flakes. Despite a lot of talk, there remains confusion about just how important this technology breakthrough will be for the supply chain.
We're somewhat clear that end-users will be embracing Internet-connected devices with abandon. A "March 2014 Digital Life in 2025" report issued by Pew Internet Project, created in association with Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center, tool a look at the horizon of IoT -- and it looks bright. "Some 1,867 experts and stakeholders responded to an open-ended question about the future of the Internet by 2025," said the report. "They said it would become so deeply part of the environment that it would become 'like electricity' -- less visible even as it becomes more important in people's daily lives."
The same may be said in the supply chain as machine-to-machine connections make the supply chain run more smoothly. For example, sensors will allow factories and supply chains to closely track materials to smooth out bumps in lead times and logistics.
Further, distributors, component makers, and contract manufacturers will have to be on hand to help OEMs understand the challenges that lie ahead in these markets. Pointing to recent European headlines about Google's search engine and privacy concerns, Eric Schuck, president of global components for Arrow, told EBN in an interview:
One of the very interesting challenges that we'll be continuing to face globally with the proliferation of IoT, is those times where IoT collides with big data. The data privacy concerns, for example, comes with a lot of responsibility for the providers of the product to be a consumer themselves and to a more limited extent government entities that questions the privacy guidelines being set around areas that are now largely unidentified.
Clearly, this is a conversation that needs to continue. In the meantime, take a look at this infographic, created by Postscapes with Harbor Research that tries to capture the complete story about the Internet of Things.
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN