Do not be alarmed, but Internet-connected devices are surrounding you at this very moment. You probably have at least two within an arm’s reach, if not three or more. Many of us spend eight or more hours per day looking at our computers, responding to emails, hosting web conferences and consuming information from the web.
When thinking about the sheer number of devices we use on a daily basis, the obvious ones like computers and phones come to mind, but we have more devices connected to the Internet than ever before and that number is growing exponentially. According to the online statistic portal Statista, there will be over 23 billion devices connected to the Internet in 2018, and that number is projected to hit 30 billion by the year 2020.
In 2007, with the mass production of the first iPhone, we received access to a mainstream, Internet-connected smartphone, introducing a completely new way for people to consume online content. Soon after, in the relatively short period of 10 years, we went from having only a computer to access online information to smartphones, tablets, cars, smartwatches, smart-TVs and smart-homes with thermostats, speakers and even Wi-Fi connected refrigerators.
This phenomenon boils down to one term: Internet of Things (IoT). According to Forbes, the concept of IoT started back in 1999 when Kevin Ashton of Proctor & Gamble found a way to link RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags to the Internet and coined a term to describe the growth of our interconnected world.
What impact will an almost 20-year-old concept have on business communications in 2018? It means that companies are continuously communicating to their employees and these employees are connected with their employers 24/7. We no longer exist in a workplace where an email sent after 5:00 p.m. will go unseen until the next morning. Instead, employees are seeing it on their phones by the time they reach their car, their car can dictate the message aloud, they can speak a response into their smartwatch, and they’ll have a reply waiting for them on their tablet by the time they arrive home.
IoT allows businesses to communicate to their employees faster, easier and with content that is viewed across myriad devices. Daniel Newman, a contributor to Forbes, speaks to how IoT allows for “unified communications,” or the idea that our vast options on which we can consume content provides us with a consistent flow of communications across all levels of the company.
Businesses can capitalize on this movement by adopting a host of content creation platforms. Social media and video usage is growing right alongside the number of connected devices, and companies have every opportunity to jump on these trends, not only riding the trendy bandwagon, but also steering the ship towards perfecting their company’s unified communications. Emails and newsletters only reach so many eyes with questionable success rates as nearly every employee is on a deadline and time is a precious commodity. Quick-hitting, information-rich content across social media and video channels attracts more viewers, keeps them watching until the end and makes them come back for more as internal communications no longer feels like a time-consuming necessity, but rather the most effective way to get company information.
Adding to traditional forms of communications like company newsletters and emails by incorporating approaches that are more modern doesn’t just benefit and bring together employees. Companies can also transition to the use of video and social media to engage with other key stakeholders, such as customers and shareholders.
The meeting place of the future in an online hangout, the old watercooler is on Twitter, the previously routine company newsletter is an entertaining video on YouTube and the CEO’s quarterly townhall is an engaging Facebook Live video.
And the best part of this transformation is that you already have all the necessary tools at your fingertips. Do you remember all those connected devices on your desk right now that we talked about? Everything you need to turn your company into an IoT-using, unified communications-saturated, business-of-the-future company is a few free downloads away.
Call to action: Need help bringing an IoT communications approach to engage your employees? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.