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The Internet of Everything

OK, I admit I’ve seen the acronyms IoT and IOE and the terms “Internet of Things” and “Internet of Everything,” but I really didn’t give them much thought.

Until I read an article this morning in one of our supermarket industry blogs (Morning News Beat, by Kevin Coupe) and it hit home for me:

“It was just another email. Until I thought about it for a minute, and considered the implications.

The email was from Amazon (as so many are in any given day), and it was promoting a new item available on the site – a Brita water pitcher that comes with a filter than enables the consumer to have cleaner, better-tasting water.

Except that this was a pitcher with a curveball – because this Brita pitcher comes complete “equipped with a built-in counter that tracks the amount of water that passes through the pitcher’s filter. The pitcher itself will automatically order a new filter through Amazon Dash Replenishment when the old filter nears its capacity. This new connected pitcher with Amazon Dash Replenishment gives Brita owners exactly what they want – a new Brita filter on their doorstep at the time they need it.”

According to a 2014 Time Magazine article, The Internet of Everything has become a catch-all phrase to describe adding connectivity and intelligence to just about every device in order to give them special functions.

The things and appliances we use every day are getting smarter. Let’s think about the navigation tools we use while driving.

Back in the day, when we planned a driving trip, we would get out our Thomas Guide book and flip through page after page to plot the route to our destination.

Then we got portable GPS gadgets (like Garmins and TomToms), which we plugged into our car to help us plot our trip. When we rented cars on a vacation or business trip, we would be offered the option to also rent a GPS (for $9.99 a day).

Now we have WAZE, the amazing real-time technology invented in Israel, now owned by Google. If you haven’t loaded the WAZE app on your smart phone, you should. It will change your life. No matter where you are in the world. I was in Costa Rica this weekend, and was able to launch WAZE and see exactly where I was. It directed me to the most traffic-efficient way to my destination. Normally (that would be every day), I log on to WAZE to find the fastest way to get anywhere. To a meeting in downtown L.A., to my hair salon, to the airport. And the route may change several times during my trip, depending on how traffic changes, in real time. By the way, WAZE is free.

That is true connectivity and intelligence.

Photo Credit: Wilgengebroed on Flickr
Photo Credit: Wilgengebroed on Flickr

Today I might not have a “smart” water filter or a fridge that tells me when I’m low on milk, but it probably won’t be too long. However, right now I can control the temperature in my home via my smart phone, my friends can see how many steps I’ve taken and calories I’ve burned (via my Fitbit app on my phone), and with Google Wallet, I don’t even have to bring a credit card or wallet with me when I go grocery shopping. I just “wave” my phone at checkout.

Two years ago, the president of Cisco, John Chambers, predicted the financial impact of IoT on the public sector would be $4.6 trillion. Trillion sounds like a pretty mind-boggling number.

So make it personal. What would the impact be for you, personally, if you had access to a completely connected world?

Some of us are faster adapters to the latest technology than others. In my industry, the Internet of Everything is already having a huge impact. For example, in food shopping, the numbers I’ve read say that currently 25 percent of the population is interested in doing their food shopping online. Or rather, letting others pick out their food. And they can have it delivered at any time of the day or night. To their home or office. They decide. That still leaves 75 percent of the population who will continue to go to conventional brick and mortar grocery stores, and shop when the stores are open. And when they feel like leaving their house to go shopping.

So think about your work, your industry. Or your kids. The job they will hold in 10 years probably doesn’t even exist yet.

And that’s pretty darn exciting for some of us.

Think about it!


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