The Essential Eight technologies Board byte: the internet of things

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What should corporate boards know about the internet of things?

The IoT refers to the connection of all kinds of devices to the internet and to each other. It’s a network of digital connectivity that spans two overlapping areas: smart, connected products and services and the collection of data to improve business performance. 

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What's next for the IoT?

The IoT is making cities smarter: Cities such as Barcelona and Dubai are turning to the IoT to connect, automate and monitor public transit systems, parking, air pollution, traffic congestion, waste management and street lighting, among other things.

The IoT is transforming manufacturing: Manufacturers and industrial products companies are looking to the industrial IoT to reinvent manufacturing. They're increasing digital investments in their operations and across their value and supply chains, connecting their factories so they become the “factories of the future.”

The IoT is helping healthcare: Connected devices are making their way into healthcare. People are starting to use wearable connected devices to help control their blood pressure, stress levels, weight and even sleep. The data from these devices allows doctors to provide more personalized care.

Questions boards should ask management about the IoT

Boards will also want to keep abreast of the opportunities and risks that come with the consumer and industrial IoT. Here’s what boards can ask management about how the IoT might fit into the company’s strategy:

  • Are there ways we could effectively leverage the consumer or industrial IoT? How might IoT impact our company and industry?
  • Are we thinking about how other new technologies, such as AI and virtual reality, could also be integrated with the IoT? What is the potential impact on our business?
  • Should we invest in the consumer or industrial IoT, and, if so, how they might change our business model and strategy? What are our competitors doing in this area?
  • What are the risks associated with becoming connected, including the potential cyber and data privacy risks? Do we have a risk strategy for consumer and industrial IoT in place? 

Read more in our "Board byte" on the IoT. 

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