Leave it to Apple to stir the pot. Usually it's because of an outrageously great technology, or for us in the supply chain business about how well they handle their own supply chain. This time it's about a payment scheme that involves technology in their newest devices. OK, so maybe it really isn't Apple making waves, but it's still falling on the company as the trigger to the debacle.
When’s the last time you faced something truly disruptive in your business? Could it be as far back as when Al Gore invented the Internet? Or maybe something more recent, like smartphones unleashing the omnichannel consumer on your industry? Well, there’s something peeking over the horizon that could blow all of them away. It’s the interconnected world of the future called the Internet of Things (IoT), and it’s gaining momentum.
The IoT (Internet of Things) is getting closer all the time. Of course it's easy to think about connecting your thermostat (already done), your refrig (already done) and your TV (also already done). But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Two of the main stumbling blocks to proliferation are price and size. But that's about to change in a big way, paving the way for the replacement of RFID devices as supply chain management tools.
As volumes of Big Data increase, the ability of a business to take advantage of it will be a strategic advantage. By making decisions faster than competitors will be key to survival. The CIO needs to understand HOW decisions are made and put the ducks in a row to get the right data, get the right tools, and, most importantly, present to management in a way that is USEFUL. I have picked a few key issues to discuss.
The more I read about how smart items are evolving, the more I'm convinced that the supply chain needs to be at the front of the line in devising strategies for dealing with, enabling, and making use of these technologies. The triad of technologies that I see most important to the efforts are digital tags, 3D printers, and mobile communications.
The technology that supports the supply chain is pretty amazing stuff. With the multiple combinations of item tagging, sensing, reading, and recording methods it seems strange that there are still gaps in visibility. Or maybe that's exactly the problem - too many options from too many directions.
We're constantly seeing new uses for big data. So much so that it's not even necessary to describe what the term means. Is the use of huge amounts of amorphous data making us better at our work, or is it adding layers of abstraction over the realities of the world?
We have seen publicity from IBM about how they are working with the automotive industry (both OEM's and suppliers) to created the “Connected Car” It is all about using big data, cloud computing, mobile and social to change the way the automotive industry does business. They have discovered that the “Internet of Things” is laying in wait under the hood or behind the dashboard for sharp businesses to take advantage of.
A new term (at least to me) has emerged that is being used in conjunction with the IoT. We've discussed the Internet of Things a few times and I've even suggested that the technology behind IoT could supplant RFID. One issue with managing the thousands or hundreds of thousands of items that will eventually populate this new category is the volume of digital chatter that will crowd the existing network infrastructure and the Cloud.
We've been tracking and writing about cloud based systems since the first issue of ec-bp.com. Of course back then in 2003 we referred to is as SaaS or even just 'online applications.' Since that time the world has mostly overcome its apprehensions about putting corporate data and processes outside the firewall. Even so, Cloud speculation and operations continue to be big news. To this I say - Whoop-de-doo!