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The Process of Absolutely Everything: Powering the Internet of Things

Let’s go through your typical workday. You wake up early, probably to your alarm clock or coffee maker. Maybe you catch up on news by scanning sites and blogs online or on your smartphone during your commute. If you drive, you might use certain apps like Waze to navigate through traffic. When at work you use devices such as your phone, computer and others to network and communicate. For lunch you probably use a refrigerator or microwave to prepare your food. Once home, you might relax by watching Apple TV or OnDemand.

If this seems like a normal day to you, then you’re not just engaging in the Internet of Things, but in the Process of Things. If any of the activities above aren’t integrated with other devices at home or work, chances are, they will be soon.

Setrag Khoshafian and Bruce Williams of Pegasystems led a breakout session at the recent PegaWorld conference where the two discussed how the proliferation of connected “things” is changing the nature of business models and processes.

The trendy new phrase ‘Internet of Things,’ or IoT, is starting to pop up everywhere. GE defines it as the ‘industrial internet.’ Author Martin Wainwright defines it as the combination of “sensors, data, networks, and services.” Techopedia defines it as describing “a future where everyday physical objects will be connected to the internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices.” Regardless of how it’s defined, it will drive all digitization in the future.

Williams reiterated how prevalent such devices are in our lives. They’re so expansive that we’re hardly conscious of how often we use them. “Our devices are participating in new and innovative ways. It’s as pervasive more than ever today,” said Williams.

However, interconnectedness isn’t a new concept. So why is IoT suddenly at tsunami status? Here are some explanations for its explosion:

Parts are cheap, readily available, and tiny

An example? Farmers can use sensors to monitor their soil. Because of such advances, many in agriculture and manufacturing have the ability to purchase effective tools that are small enough to be implemented where needed.

Both big and small players contribute to an ecosystem

Startups are in a burgeoning environment where information can be spread quickly and pervasively. As long as net neutrality remains, small organizations will be able to have their voices heard as much as the bigger ones.

Open operating system platform are emerging

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are abundant. Anything can proliferate quickly today.


Co-creation is key. Commercial sites like Kickstarter have revolutionized crowdfunding, but government agencies have the ability to foster a collaborative effort easier than ever before.

Everyone is talking about it

Do a Google search for ‘Internet of Things’ and more sources will appear than IT publications like ComputerWorld, CIO Magazine, Wired, and CNET. When Apple and Wall Street Journal are reiterating its importance then you know the debate has entered the mainstream.

Although the session was primarily visionary, the speakers presented current issues where IoT could be turned into the Process of Things.

For example, 60% of all energy is used to head, cool or light buildings. About 5 billion people will live in cities by 2020. By applying IoT processes, we can adapt practices to accommodate escalating populations. Buildings could sense their capacity, memorize preferences of certain residents, and adapt the temperature and lighting for whoever is there. This replaces human to machine interaction with machine to machine. But action must be taken before 2020 in order to ensure success.

“We must sense events before they occur and respond to achieve desired outcome,” said Setrag Khoshafian, “There are so many layers from sensors to business problems that you want to solve.”

By 2015, we will have more mobile devices than people. By 2020, it’s projected we’ll have almost 15 billion of these devices worldwide. At the current rate, there won’t be a business sector in the world that isn’t connected through the IoT. Imagine the efficiency of a process where everything is integrated all around the globe, in different fields of business, toward the same goal of maximizing of delivering a good or service.

The operative word: everything. The Internet of Things will only become more prevalent in our lives. A device is nothing on its own; data is nothing but old news…unless we utilize it in a way that yields a favorable outcome. It can help us in the workplace and in our homes. The process of absolutely everything, is anything.

Click here to sign up to receive GovLoop and Pega’s guide on the “Power to Engage, Power to Simplify and the Power to Change,” coming out in July. http://direct.govloop.com/engageguide

For more information about PegaWorld 2014, visit the event website.

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