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You're thinking about the 'Internet of Things' wrong

With so many commentators, analysts and experts predicting 2015 to be the year of the Internet of Things (IoT) I thought I’d sit down with Bastian Schmidtke, product manager of Orderbird and IoT expert. In this interview we talk all things IoT; what it is, how to use it, and what it means for your business.

Your Orderbird app taps into the Internet of Things /Big Data philosophy, what can established businesses do to take advantage of the Internet of Things and utilise big data effectively?

First of all, established businesses have to share the mind-set of IoT; they need to understand what the world could do with their data or services, and how they interact with the world? What value does their data have to customers?

Every business has to find its own definition of IoT. From my point of view, IoT is not a standard, it’s an understanding of what the world will be in the future.

Similarly when developing a digital strategy what key things do businesses need to think about to maximise their strategy’s effectiveness?

I think for every business one of the main challenges is focus, and how to keep it. If you don´t know what you really want, there are so many options for you and it can become daunting.

But if you can focus on the one thing that is important to you and your business, you can forget all the other options and put all your efforts into doing the right for your company. And if you’ve done your homework here, you can then free your mind to dedicate yourself to the next project.

How would you describe the IoT and its capabilities to another less tech-savvy CEO?

We are in that science-fiction age now, then one we have dreamed about for decades. Anything can interact with anything and every incident can be a trigger for something else.

Over the last few years, we have learned that we generate data with every step we make. Next thing we need to find out, is the value of that data: How can we use it? For whom will it hold the greatest value?

If we see data and start to think “what can I use it for?“ , we make a big step into the next era of IoT. What comes after that depends on the problems we encounter with data security and data protection over the coming years.

What do you think will be the most significant change in the way we work in the next 5 years?

Work has the opportunity to be a lot more automated and connected. We won’t need to mechanically collect and punch in data as a distinct process as part of our regular jobs, but we have to think about how we can use all the data and make it work for us. We have to be open-minded to see and use the potential of it all.

What are the potential consequences those who see “Big Data” and “IoT” as meaningless industry buzzwords and don’t act on implementing them into their businesses?

I don’t see that every business has to be alarmed right now and be scared of sleeping through a big trend. If you have data, somebody will come and ask, if they could use it. If you don’t know about, it’s probably not that interesting or useful. And if you know that you could improve your business with data, you can explore the options, and see if you can do it on your own, or else you will find someone who can help you.

Nothing new there, right?

Thanks to Bastian for chatting to us, you can follow him on Twitter @baschmidt.