The Internet of Things: hype vs. Reality
Fastmoving - Jun 29th 2016, 12:12
As the world enters the fourth industrial revolution and the third age of digital, smart and connected systems are altering every aspect of the process to deliver goods and services to today’s consumers. The Internet of Things poses unique challenges, but also opportunities for companies in the consumer goods industry. Christopher Beck, of Ecolab, addressed the Internet of Things at this year’s Consumer Goods Summit held in Cape Town. It formed part of a wider look at the digital disruption facing the industry.
It has now become imperative for companies to use the data at their disposal to optimise their businesses. True value comes from leveraging data to deliver actionable insights that can inform the people and decisions that deliver business success. The Internet of Things (IoT) has already made a significant impact on South Africa, and Africa at large, with companies realising the benefit of omni-channel, but also of analysing their data. However, this has also resulted in huge digital disruptions that will either benefit or destroy businesses in the consumer goods industry.
Digital disruption is change because of the influence of digital technology. It affects how business is conducted, and how we engage, interact, and think. Disruption shatters business models and then reconstitutes them entirely, which may cause discomfort, but ultimately introduces a range of innovation into the mix, offering alternatives to the norm. There are three reasons the fourth industrial revolution is classified as such, namely velocity, scope, and systems impact. It is these three factors that are causing disruptions in not only the consumer goods industry, but every industry across the globe.
Peter Freedman, Managing Director at the Consumer Goods Forum, commented: “All industries experience waves of disruption but the consumer goods industry is arguably going through more disruption right now than we have seen in a lifetime. Digital is perhaps the biggest disruption because it affects how we produce, buy, sell, and communicate.”
This digital disruption will have either positive results or negative ones. Those who have gained the most from this are the consumers who are now able to use technology to access new products and services previously unavailable to them. This innovation will in turn affect the consumer goods industry through increasing efficiency within the supply chain and logistics, creating a more profitable global supply chain, and opening up new markets while driving economic growth. In turn, this disruption could put many out of jobs, but also increases the fear that machines and computer programs will replace the human element.
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