The Internet of Things and business technology

The Internet of Things from WikipediaThere's been quite a bit of buzz lately about a company called Twilio, a San Francisco-based start-up launched in 2007 by Amazon.com veteran Jeff Lawson and software developer Evan Cooke. Twilio’s technology is credited for shifting the world of telecommunications away from hardware and carriers and toward a software-based model. Tech experts point to Twilio as a harbinger for the future of business technology.

According to a

Wall Street Journal

report, Twilio is striving to “do for communications what Amazon Web Services did for computing—move it to the cloud.” The company has recently shifted from a customer base comprised almost exclusively of Internet companies (such as Uber and Carguru) to include a wider range of industries (such as Home Depot and Coca-Cola). Twilio explains this trend in that WSJ report: “it is working with more big companies in markets such as retail, finance, logistics and transportation, where the Internet of Things is driving demand.”

The WSJ report

continues: “The shift in Twilio’s customer base may be an early indication of how the Internet of Things is evolving behind the scenes.” The report references

an article by Gartner analyst Jorge Lopez

who wrote that “over the next five years, more objects will be connected to the Internet and will transact and negotiate with businesses and people. That will redefine what competitive advantage means and present new challenges for CIOs. While the Internet of Things may not be evident for a few years, the infrastructure is being constructed now, and the communications and messaging element is a big part of that effort.”

So what is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

Techopedia

does a good job of explaining it: “Most of us think about being connected in terms of computers, tablets and smartphones. IoT describes a world where just about anything can be connected and communicate in an intelligent fashion. In other words, with the Internet of Things, the physical world is becoming one big information system.” IoT includes anything connected to the Internet, such as cars, refrigerators, shoes, and other things we cannot even imagine yet.

It is estimated that more than seven billion people and businesses, and at least 30 billion devices, will be connected to the Internet by 2020. We are entering a new world of technology as the lines between digital and people and things blur. 

At Sinu,

our long-term mission

has always been to leverage software to get all our customers’ “things” to talk to us, to provide as much value, efficiency, and productivity enhancement as possible to the people who use them. For many years, we have used software to enable each computer at our customers’ offices to report back with information on their “health” – several times an hour. This data helps us spot problems, plan ahead, and anticipate problems before they occur. Some of the devices we implement, such as our

Meraki

wireless access points, are pretty smart and talk back to our cloud-based monitoring systems in very smart ways. Other devices, like printers, still have a ways to go.

By monitoring each customer’s Internet connection from the cloud, we can ensure multiple key “things” in their office – such as their firewall or wireless access device – is online and supporting productivity. The Internet of Things will create an infinite amount of data; however, getting data on “things” is not enough on its own…the data needs to be in a format that can be easily accessed and understood. One way to make the data useful for our customers is to aggregate it into nightly reports that are archived and can be easily accessed to support

Business Intelligence

. This “Big Data” helps inform mission-critical decisions for our small business and nonprofit customers, now and into the future.

At Sinu, we like things but we love people. We welcome the Internet of Things but we will never lose focus on what really matters, the people who do great work with these things.