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Creating a competitive advantage: The Internet of Things

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            Manufacturers take different approaches when it comes to gaining a competitive advantage in the market. Some use pricing strategies, some ramp up customer service and some choose their information technology (IT) department as their corporate distinction. The latter of the three is a strategic move dating back to 1913 when Henry Ford pioneered the product assembly line and transformed automotive manufacturing. One hundred plus years later manufacturers continue to use technology strategically to gain a competitive advantage by leveraging what’s called the internet of things.

The internet of things defined

            The internet of things (IoT) is a quick way to describe the interconnection (via the Internet) of computing devices embedded in everyday products, enabling them to send and receive data. It includes cloud storage, data sensors and networks, among other tools, that work together in an effort to help companies and customers manage the digital side of their lives as intelligently as possible. It’s mobile and virtual and includes a nonstop internet connection. IoT is being referred to as transformative technology. More and more companies are tapping into it to determine what kind of information they might want to get, as well as figuring out what they can do with it. Once they grasp the basics, they’ll realize how infinite the possibilities really are. 

Upgrading IT means change

IT change cannot occur without a highly skilled staff, and even then, this level of upgrade comes with a big caveat—don’t expect it to be easy. Adopting technology into the culture of an organization doesn’t happen effortlessly. Manufacturers need to be receptive to and ready for this level of change. It requires the complex integration of computer systems, operating systems, software and networks. In this way, IT operations will become the catalyst for improvements instead of the obstacle holding the company back.

IT change, including the IoT, isn’t without its challenges, not the least of which involves security and privacy. But, it is the biggest trend in manufacturing currently. It will afford opportunity as well as commotion. Countless hurdles will have to be cleared in the name of policy implications, business dealings and technical challenges. But, the concept will thrive and change and evolve into something few have predicted, yet.