Imagine if the ordinary, uncomplicated objects around your home office were connected to a wireless network and the Internet. We’re talking lamps, toasters, and coffee makers. It’s not as far fetched as you might think.
Gartner, Inc. forecasts that a 30-fold increase in Internet-connected physical devices by 2020 will significantly alter supply chain leader information access and cyber-risk exposure.
But beyond the creation of “smarter” homes and offices, the future explosion in the number of intelligent devices will create a network rich with information that allows supply chains to assemble and communicate in new ways.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is forecast to reach 26 billion installed units by 2020, up from 0.9 billion just five years ago, and will impact the information available to supply chain leaders and how the supply chain operates, depending on industry.
“It’s important to put IoT maturity into perspective, because of the fast pace at which it is emerging, so supply chain strategists need to be looking at its potential now,” said Michael Burkett, managing vice president at Gartner.
“Some IoT devices are more mature, such as commercial telematics now used in trucking fleets to improve logistics efficiency,” he adds. “Some, such as smart fabrics that use sensors within clothing and industrial fabrics to monitor human health or manufacturing processes, are just emerging.”
As these capabilities become mainstream they will allow modern supply chains to deliver more differentiated service to customers more efficiently. This will happen when many more physical assets than today are communicating their state to a networked ecosystem that then formulates an intelligent response.
Gartner believes that a double-digit increase in digital marketing investment will provide supply chain leaders with deeper market insight, as well as fulfillment challenges in industries where more granular market segments are targeted.