What the Internet of Things Can Do For Productivity & Employment

Before I get out of bed each morning, my iPhone tells me how long it will take me to get to work.  My NPR app instantly connects to my Bluetooth speaker and plays today's Morning Edition.  Siri tells me what meetings are on my calendar, and lets me know what weather to expect before I even look out the window.

My wake up is automated in a way that was designed to make me more efficient — all thanks to my Internet-connected device. A 2014 Allied Business Intelligence survey predicts that 40.9 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020.

What does this mean for productivity — both personal and in the workplace?

Robert Cohen of the Economic Strategy Institute is studying what the "Internet of Things" (IoT) means to our productivity, employment, and jobs. To learn more, see his presentation below where Cohen details some of the changes that IoT may bring.

IoT is the term for items which are designed to be used with technology and software that allow for data transmission and digital networking, also known as “smart” products.

Cohen has three takeaways for what IoT means for productivity and employment: 

        1. Process and architectural changes — how we do our work, and how the organization is structured — related to IoT will bring about new efficiencies and raise productivity and output. Without this type of progress, it will be difficult to operate massive networks with about 50 billion connected devices.

        2. Software Defined Environments will provide the ability to build, version and manage complex environments. IBM writes, “A Software Defined Environment (SDE) optimizes the entire computing infrastructure — compute, storage and network resources — so that it can adapt to the type of work required. In today's environment, resources are assigned manually to workloads; that happens automatically in a SDE.”

        3. New Jobs will be “cross-skilling” jobs that will merge functions that were previously more “siloed.” New jobs will also be created in teams that deliver software or manage operations more efficiently. Both types of positions will benefit from machine learning and from the ability to work with new protocols by using approaches from new coding languages.

From talking to Siri on your Apple Watch to adjusting your thermostat from your smart phone, the world is quickly becoming more reliant on Internet-connected devices. The availability of data on almost anything is taking the guesswork out of our lives. Our jobs and productivity will surely change in coming years — with greater automation, greater technological dependence, and “re-skilling” of our positions.



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