We know what productivity growth requires: investments in new technology. For previous generations, this was factories full of machines, first powered by steam and then by electricity. More recently it was the arrival of computers, which changed how work was organized within and across firms.
We often perceive the impact of new technology imperfectly and with a lag, and today is no different. We can see a wave of hardware and software innovations underway — technologies such as 3D printing and distributed ledgers will allow manufacturing and finance to become more dispersed — but it is hard to know exactly where it will take us.
Stephanie L. Woerner, Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan Center for Information Systems Research
From MIT SMR Custom Studio
Realizing value through the Internet of Things (IoT) may begin with simple goals, but it can also catapult a business toward new horizons. The level of commitment to completing the journey really depends on the presence of four factors:
Translating Threats Into Opportunity.
A major driver in IoT initiatives is finding a new source of revenue in the face of changing industry trends. In CISR’s survey of 352 CIOs, respondents with the highest levels of IoT commitment generated 50% of their revenues from products introduced in the past three years. These CIOs see firsthand how quickly disruptive change can occur.
Consider Schindler Holdings AG, which manufactures, installs, and maintains escalators, elevators, and moving walkways. In this increasingly price-sensitive industry, maintenance accounts for 75% of operating profits. This prompted Schindler to use IoT to not only improve equipment maintenance through the data generated by its elevators but also to reposition itself as a service provider that helps customers with building management using this data. To move in this direction, it developed a Web-based customer portal and a mobile app to provide real-time insights.
It is widely understood that China needs to move from an investment-intensive growth model to one based on science, technology and innovation. But before I take up this subject, let me take a detour to tell a tale of two countries.
Both countries are small. One has a population of 5.5 million people; the other has a population of 8 million. In both countries, the dominant ethnic group is about 75 per cent of the population and minority groups make up the rest.
Both countries are rich. One country has a per capita gross domestic product of US$52,000 and the other country has a per capita GDP of US$35,000.
Both countries have faced existential security threats from the outside and armies in both countries have mandatory conscriptions. One country was actually kicked out and evicted by its now much larger neighbour, because the union would have threatened the political dominance of the main ethnic group. The second country is located in a region surrounded by hostile nations.
As the New England Patriots’ 10th appearance in a Super Bowl approaches, sports fans are eager to see the legendary pairing of quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick take on the Atlanta Falcons. Whatever the Patriots accomplish, though, won’t be thanks to all that fancy new technology assisting the Falcons and other NFL teams.
Since early October, Belichick has been limiting his use of his NFL-issued Microsoft Surface tablet and its related technological systems. On Oct. 2, Belichick was caught on national television tossing his tablet in frustration. The move came after his defense failed to prevent a Buffalo Bills touchdown pass. But what really sparked his ire was something much more common.
Who among us hasn’t, at some point, been so frustrated with a computer or other piece of technology that we contemplated throwing it out a window? The real driver in these situations, though, is far more complex than we might expect: A cascade of system failures comes to a head in a crucial moment.