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Fooling ourselves with an Internet of Things.

by Michael Maoz  |  June 30, 2014  |  3 Comments

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?

Category: business-intelligence  cio  cloud  innovation-and-customer-experience  intent-driven-enterprise  it-governance  leadership  social-networking  social-software  strategic-planning  

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Fooling ourselves with an Internet of Things.

  1. […] Source: Fooling ourselves with an Internet of Things. […]

  2. I assume the title and first paragraph are meant to raise controversy with conventional marketing wisdom. With respect to B2C, #IoT is probably limited and years away from consumer value add.

    I’ll limit my comments to B2B and aerospace / industrial equipment.

    Just as SaaS started 40 years ago in the airline industry, some could argue that #IoT started here too.

    Remote engine condition monitoring, aircraft / asset health management, integrated electronic technical publications / manuals (IIETP/IETM), prignostics, autonomics …all focused on solving defects before they cause #PaxEx (customer experience) issues such as delays or cancellations – have been mainstream in aviation for well over a decade.

    Automobiles using ORD II sensors transmitted via on star focused on prognostic prevention of issues is becoming common place.

    Are we at different phases of the diffusion of this innovation across different industries – yes.

    Are most #IoT discussions early in the “hype cycle” maybe.

    Should more attention be paid to outcomes and value – definitely.

    But is B2B #IoT real and delivering value today – yes!

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