Quick...name me the ten professions that have the smartest people.  I am sure that Brain Surgeon, Rocket Scientist, Medical Researcher and others were among the first ten that came to mind.  I doubt that many of you said, "Salesperson".  As a long-time sales guy, I don't take offence to that. While Salespeople tend to be good wordsmiths, we are not always the quickest to understand things that are nerdy.

So, I was happy to see a very pretty graphic from the FOW Community, with a lot of pictures (and not a lot of words). Here's what it defines as "10 Things You Need to Know"

 What is it?  A global network of connected people and devices

•  Not really how I would describe it, actually.

•  While this is factually true, it leaves out a few key things....such as "Internet", "providing data" and "devices that are not currently connected", as the main description could just be referring to me typing this blog post on my iPad.

What is enabled by it?  Decreasing technology costs, sensors, connectivity, APIs and more...

•   Wow, could you make it a bit more confusing

•   While it may be factually correct, I thought this was supposed to be simple and at least somewhat cohesive.   They list components (sensors), software (APIs), network (connectivity) and benefits, but not sure they explain much else.

What devices are involved?  It lists a bunch of them from cars, to appliances to parking devices...

•   Ok, bang on with this one.

•   It covers the consumer side, the government angle and items that will apply to Industrial applications.

What ways are there to connect?  Human to Human, Human to Device, Device to Device...

•   Ok, not sure if Human to Human makes a lot of sense here, as I think that is called talking.  Interaction between two humans using IoT would actually be between two applications (using two devices)

•   Same goes for Human to Device.  The more accurate way to look at it is Human to Application.

•   Device to Device is fine to describe two devices, assuming they are using the same application.

What Industries are going to be impacted?  It lists most large verticals...

•   Ok, back on track here...

•   The verticals listed show just how wide of an impact IoT will have on businesses of all shapes and sizes.

How many devices will exist?  It lists a variety of predictions by 2020...

•   I noticed that they did not list the prediction from my colleague, Richard Hobbs, who humorously predicted (cue the Dr Evil imitation) "1 Trillion devices"

•   In reality, all of them will claim to be right in 2020.  How, you may ask?  Everyone seems to use a different definition of what truly is an IoT device, so come 2020, they will just re-tweak their definition to accurately put the number in the vicinity of their prediction.  So, some will count a Meter Maid who uses a handheld to write tickets as an IoT device, while others will not.

How big will the market be by 2020?

•   Just like the one about how many devices, people will tweak the numbers to best meet their predictions.  Some will count only money spent on actual M2M hardware/airtime, while others will add in middleware and applications costs and others still will add in the cost to put locks on the cages that secure devices from teenagers who are bored....there will never be a number that everyone will agree with in this area.

What will the consumer impact be?  Convenience, Life Optimization, Personal Data Collection and Efficiency...

•   While I can't really argue with these, it doesn't really mean much in how it is explained.

•   Does life optimization refer to helping you find a life partner, organizing your sock drawer or making sure that there is only one milk in your morning coffee?  I ask because IoT can help with all three.....

•   The real benefits will be in things like better customer service, longer lasting products, reduced travel times and improved overall health.....maybe improving your health is what they mean by Life Optimization after all?  =)

What are the business challenges?  Customer privacy, managing huge amounts of data, over-reliance on technology and meeting customer expectations?

•  Has someone been reading my blog??  In all seriousness, I have written about all 4 of these things, and they are all major concerns going forward.

What are the business opportunities?  Improved customer service / personalization, Address real time needs and threats, improved and accelerated process optimization and more effective forecasting.

•   Can't disagree much with these four, actually.  I think it will allow for a lot of streamlining, which is another way of saying "massive job cuts" for many industries.  There will also be big opportunities in training people for these new jobs as the market shifts to adapt to new technology.

The Bottom Line

This is much better than some explanations that I have seen, that is for sure.  While it has some flaws in it, it covers much of what most people will need to know.  I just think we need to stop some of the "grand thinking" and do a better job of customizing the message to our customers...this will increase sales as it will decrease some of the anxiety of deploying such new and business-changing technology.