What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? I can tell you what it isn't. It's not some new hyped up technology that comes and goes like Nextel Walkie Talkies or Blackberry. It is quite the opposite. IoT is the backbone idea or structure of how technologies will communicate and interact with the environment or people around the device and not just now but in the future too. It encompasses a wide range of applications like allowing you to turn on your Nest thermostat when you leave the airport from a trip so your home is already the perfect temperature when you arrive and all the way up to the programming, control and monitoring of a buildings lighting control system from across the world and even more applications. IoT doesn't involve one industry or any one type of product; it can be used in virtually any industry or product. The chances are high that you are already using some form of IoT in your personal or professional life and don't even realize it but more importantly so are most of your customers, reps, manufacturers and scarier yet... your competition.
Can you capitalize on all that the IoT has to offer to better serve your customer and yourself, grow your market reach and even make a profit? Absolutely!
Pay attention to whenever a manufacturer or rep comes to you with a product that says it is 'Smart' or 'Connected' and chances are it is using IoT to make a task more convenient, safer or easier in some way and even expand its capabilities. These are the products your customers will be looking for in the future, if they aren't already, to solve problems on a project, save labor and give them the advantage against their competition and if you aren't there in front of them with these solutions someone else will be. Get involved with your manufacturers and learn what they have to offer, set-up a display or have samples available for salesman and coordinate training if possible for your employees and customers through ‘Lunch & Learns or NAED's Learning Center or any other resources available.
Our industry is changing and the IoT is just one aspect of the change that isn't coming, it isn't knocking on our doors, it is here...Now.
The NAED Strategic Technology Committee recently published a new guide that will be helpful to explain the IoT to your executive team. Click here to download.
Keep looking for opportunities to grow, expand and get better everyday. We as distributors and manufacturers have to not only adapt to change, but embrace it. A decade ago, the manufacturers and distributors that went full steam ahead with LED lighting early are mostly still the leaders today. They saw what was coming and embraced it and those who kept trying to sell HID lamps, ballasts and fixtures were left behind. It will be the same with IoT over the next few years. Embrace the changes coming and invest in your inventory, and more importantly -- your people and yourself.
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