In the northern hemisphere it is summer, and vacation travel in the United States and Europe has gotten into mid-gear. It is a time when there is an accelerated feeling of just how out of synch the “Internet of Things” and “Social Media” and “Digital Enterprise” have gotten from many real issues. Roads are still crumbling. Highways are no different than they were in the 1950s. Over 99% of homes are about as primitive as they were when they were built. Airplanes still can’t take off or land in fog, and when they do take to the air, the overall travel time has not changed since the mid-1960s.
There has been a change in the nature of service. Now no one does anything for you. The job of customer service has been outsourced back to the customer. You want to find a product, YOU find the product. You want to pay, you establish your credentials, enter your information, and track the transaction. Want to fly? Stay in a hotel? Borrow an apartment? Rent a car? Book a place in a restaurant? (the list goes on and on and on) – don’t expect a human. And when you do, if you do, they will be less informed than you are, and not as commited or motivated to help.
What are CIOs working on? Are we, as IT leaders, finding ways to better engage customers, make their lives better, relate to them where they are, as they are, for whom they are? Even the term, “Internet of Things” focuses on the anonymity of the transaction: take in signal, compute signal, respond to signal. Antiseptic, clinical. If one were to say an ‘Internet of Engagement,’ then it might show that the intention is not to digitize everything, but to exploit the power of digitisation to drive better understanding of the customer, prospect, and partner to improve business results.
Internet of Things is not a bad start. Not a great start, but not a bad start. It is time to move past ‘things’ and into business outcomes, into deeper engagement with the customer or more intelligent work on behalf of the customer. Drones delivering pizza or gifts and driverless cars and a hundred other initiatives are wonderful academic experiments with serious potential to improve the supply chain. But for the average business, and the average customer, are you sure that you have found the best value in an internet of things, or is it time to look at an internet of engagement?