All Aboard the Sensor Revolution: How the Internet of Things is Driving Innovation

Those who are plugged in know that technology is a swift changing animal—a shapeshifter always in flux, moving forward at a terabit-fast pace. Keeping up with every new buzz and innovation is undoubtedly whiplash-inducing. But look away and you’ll be left behind. Are you going to be a mere spectator or will you drive innovation in your company?

Well, Hello There! The Third Internet Wave is Here

The development of the Internet can be broken down into three waves.

1] The first wave, in the 1980s and 90s, was about building the Internet’s fixed line infrastructure and foundational technologies and getting people connected. By the new millennium, about a billion users were connected to the fixed Internet via primarily their PCs.[1]

2] In the 2000s, we had the second wave, which is characterized by entrepreneurial companies building services on those first wave platforms, leading to the emergence of second wave companies like Google and Facebook, powering the social media revolution and the growing app economy. During the second wave, there was also a transition to mobile software like Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS which allowed large numbers of devices to easily communicate with each other; ultimately, 20 billion people to the Internet via their mobile devices.[2]

3] Right now, the Internet of Things (IoT), which connects the Internet to everyday things and devices, is emerging as the third wave in the development of Internet. As Steve Case, the co-founder and former CEO and Chairman of AOL, explains: where the first wave was about building the Internet and the second wave was about building on the Internet, the third wave is about integrating the Internet throughout.[3]

All Aboard the Sensor Revolution: How the Internet of Things is Driving Innovation

As Steve Case, the co-founder and former CEO and Chairman of AOL, explains: where the first wave was about building the Internet and the second wave was about building on the Internet, the third wave is about integrating the Internet throughout.[3]

Funny name, serious opportunity: So what exactly is the Internet of Things?

Good question! Even though the term “Internet of Things” has been thrown around for over 15 years, the term is still not particularly well-defined or well-understood. Definitions and interpretations still vary widely and the IoT is shrouded in complexities and disagreements abound about what exactly should be classified under the umbrella of the “Internet of Things”. Since we are just sticking to the basics here, an easy definition is connecting a device with an on/off switch to the Internet. The Online Oxford Dictionary also gives a nice, concise definition: “The interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.”[4] Popular examples of “things” that are part of the IoT umbrella are the Apple Watch, wearable fitness tracker Fitbit and the Nest thermostat which allows users to control their home’s temperature from their Internet-connected mobile devices.

25 Billion Reasons You Need to Pay Attention

The analysts at Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 4.9 billion connected things will be in use in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014, and will reach 25 billion by 2020.[5] Moreover, Gartner projects that the total economic value-add (the combined benefits business will obtain from the sale and use of IoT technology) will be $1.9 trillion dollars in 2020, benefiting a wide range of industries, such as , healthcare, retail and transportation. [6]

The first two waves of the Internet catalyzed significant changes to the economy; the IoT third wave will do the same, establishing new winners and leaving the lagging losers behind based on a company’s ability to a connected world.

Yet these big numbers are just projections and skeptics are a plenty, after all, in the collective scheme of things, we are still in the embryonic stages of adoption of the IoT. Why a healthy level of skepticism can be important and a built-in impulsivity control in the innovation process, fear will results only in squashing innovation. As discussed in Robert’s Rules of Innovation, a book on how to be innovative that provides readers with a 10-step corporate survival guide program of the ten imperatives, “No Risk… No Innovation” is arguably one of the most important. As discussed in the book, without risk there can be no innovation. The willingness to take risk—given the cost of failure—can wither. Fear of failure can kill innovation.

We are at the precipice of a monumental change and entering a new era of connectivity. IoT will be likely be a transformational trend well into the next decade. You companies’ ability to adapt, innovate and thrive in this ambitious new time will determine who tomorrow’s winners and laggards will be. Innovate or die.

For more detailed guidelines and tips of the trade on how to promote innovation in your company, refer to Robert’s Rules of Innovation. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for the forthcoming Robert’s Rules of Innovation II: The Art of Implementation (available December 8, 2015). You can also check out innovation workshops and online webinars through the Innovation as a System™ Seminar Series.

Robert Brands

In his “Innovate to Thrive” and “Results Driven Innovation” Robert Brands shares the secrets of his ten rules of innovation. You will learn how to continually create and sustain the innovative concepts your business needs to stay ahead in the game. Connect with Robert on to learn more about Robert Brands

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5 Insights for Attracting Millennial Talent Inspired by the App They Can't Resist

More than half of employers admit in a new CareerBuilder study that it has grown increasingly difficult to find qualified candidates in the past five years. The study examined responses from 5,013 job candidates and 2,002 hiring managers in the U.S. in February. Great news, though. The answer to the recruiting problem might lie within the app that has everyone checking their phones multiple times a day for snippets of entertainment: SnapChat.

SnapChat users love creating and viewing six-second video content. What’s even more interesting is the recent trend toward five-second ads noted in KPCB’s report. The momentary ads serve the increasing consumer need for faster, more convenient access to information.

Watch Video Snapchat

A May 2015 KPCB report shows the growing popularity of the app. As of March, SnapChat usage by American youth has increased 11 percent from a year ago, with 57 percent of active users aged 12 to 24.

The basic principles surrounding short-form messaging tools like these might be the perfect way to find the talent entrepreneurs seek in today’s complex job market. Here are some ways entrepreneurs can streamline their hiring process by adopting SnapChat principles:

1. Be everywhere

Posting available positions to just one or a few places won’t cut it. It’s common for candidates to use 18 sources during their job search, according to CareerBuilder. Attract and engage a wide range of talent in the same way SnapChat users engage followers: share available positions with all followers. Post opportunities as status updates on all social media sites and pin announcements at the top of all social profiles as a standing message. Just as SnapChatters use the “your story” feature to showcase recent happenings to anyone who cares to view, do the same with new ways to creatively express job opportunities.

2. Leverage mobile

Spending on mobile Internet advertising increased 34 percent this year, according to KPCB. The study found time spent viewing information on mobile screens has increased from 0.4 percent in 2010 to nearly 10 percent today. Mobile optimization is a trend that cannot be ignored. Make it easy for applicants to access information about the position and company and apply for the job via mobile devices. Place jobs on platforms with responsive design and optimize the company career page for mobile. Use Google Analytics or a tool like Bitly to track where applicant traffic comes from.

3. Tell your story with video

Mobile video traffic is on the rise, according to the KPCB study, reaching 55 percent this year -- up from 50 percent in 2012. Even more interesting is the commercial trend toward five-second advertisements. It’s clear the best way to deliver messages short and sweet is visually, just as SnapChat does. Create short videos to introduce talent to the company culture. Show off the employer brand -- exciting happenings in the office, unique personalities of team members and clips of celebrations. Share these clips on YouTube, Vine, Twitter and every other platform where ideal followers are active.

4. Invite talent to engage immediately

One principle leading to SnapChat’s success is immediate user interaction. The application begins in live camera mode, without any steps in the way, prompting users to engage. Encourage promising talent to engage by making it easy to learn about positions quickly and apply without tedious click-throughs to follow. Connect to an online talent community where candidates want to interact and engage with hiring managers immediately. A tool like Cocoon allows for evaluating candidates through LinkedIn profiles and asking a few questions to create matches to available positions. The app is best on mobile devices so employers can view and chat with interested candidates quickly on-the-go.

5. Be more responsive

Responsive employers are more likely to keep on good terms with their talent pool, which includes brand advocates and even future customers. Yet, 32 percent of companies surveyed by CareerBuilder don’t feel a need to respond to everyone. That’s bad news considering 65 percent of candidates are less likely to buy from a company they didn’t hear back from after an interview. Respond to everyone, so candidates don’t feel like they’re sending information into a black hole. Additionally, respond quickly -- otherwise the window in which the candidate is most engaged will be missed, and the candidate might not care to respond back, especially if he or she has moved on to pursue other endeavors.

Heather R. Huhman

Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, a content-marketing and digital-PR consultancy for job-search and human-resources technologies. She is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle. Heather R. Huhman

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