The business world is undergoing an unprecedented period of technological advancement. Resources like the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing have already revolutionized business and promise even more disruption. New technologies make lofty promises, but you don't want to adopt something that won't deliver on them.
Whether you realize it or not, many businesses are already moving towards a state of hyperconnectivity. It's less of a buzzword and more of a step forward for modern industry. It could bring both considerable benefits and substantial risks to your business, so it deserves your attention.
What is hyperconnectivity?
Hyperconnectivity is a broad term that refers to a state where almost everything is connected, from infrastructure to people. In a hyperconnected business, everything that can or should communicate does, and does so quickly.
The world is fast approaching an age of hyperconnectivity, thanks to the IoT. Experts predict IoT spending will surpass $1 trillion by 2022 as more people embrace these technologies. Hyperconnectivity is skyrocketing among consumers, and it's growing even more in the business world.
Gartner estimates 50% of major business processes will incorporate the IoT before long. While that level may not constitute hyperconnectivity, it does get companies close. So why should you care about this trend?
Increased efficiency and savings
When all or even most of your infrastructure can communicate, it boosts efficiency. Hyperconnectivity enables not just person-to-person and machine-to-machine communication, but machine-to-person connectivity as well. If there's a disruption along some part of your workflow, you can respond to it faster.
Take the supply chain, for instance, which is becoming increasingly connected today. The traditional logistics chain is prone to disruptions from factors like mechanical failures, traffic and weather. A connected logistics chain, on the other hand, can sense and communicate changes like these so you can adjust routes in real-time.
Hyperconnectivity can also help your business bring down expenses like energy costs. Technologies like smart thermostats can reduce energy spending by 15% by monitoring and responding to changing electrical needs. In a hyperconnected workplace, you can also check usage reports from your phone or computer and adjust settings manually.
This state of continual, comprehensive communication enables your business to become more flexible too. If all of your systems run on a single, centralized network, you can install updates faster. Instead of changing each part of the process individually, you can issue broad, sweeping changes all at once.
Hyperconnectivity applies not just to your business systems, but your customers as well. When your company is hyperconnected, you'll offer more ways to communicate with consumers and have access to more consumer data. As a result, you can understand and respond to changing customer demands faster.
The more connected your digital infrastructure is, the more useful tools like AI will be. If your machine learning systems can access data from all aspects of your business, they can produce more meaningful insights. In turn, these insights will enable you to evolve continually, which is essential in today's fast-paced business landscape.
The benefits of hyperconnectivity aren't the only reason you should pay attention to it. You could be moving towards a hyperconnected state without realizing it as you adopt more IoT devices. If that's the case, you should be aware of the risks that come with increased connectivity.
Interoperability is a problem with the IoT, as not every device works on every network. Since 71% of U.S. companies say technology integration affects the outcome of a merger, this can be an issue. It may be more challenging to integrate new processes when everything runs on a different and potentially incompatible system.
One of the most significant risks with hyperconnectivity is cybersecurity. When everything runs on a single system, there are more potential entry points for a hacker. For a hyperconnected network to run smoothly, it needs a more comprehensive approach to security.
As you work with more customer and employee data, you also have to keep privacy in mind. A substantial amount of IoT traffic is unencrypted, which presents a considerable privacy risk. If you can't secure all of the data you work with, you could find yourself in the middle of a public scandal.
The age of hyperconnectivity is here
The world is moving towards hyperconnectivity, whether you're ready for it or not,, so you should be aware of its advantages and risks. It can be a revolutionary business tool, as long as you implement it with care.
Hyperconnectivity has too much potential, both good and bad, to ignore. It's time to start thinking about how it relates to your business - it could just make or break your company.