Data is weightless so the internet doesn’t understand physical limitation. Great, but how does data fit into our plans for the economic and social future? The uses of data stay constant whether oral, printed or digital. If the appeal of writing is that a message can travel without changing, the appeal of digital information is that the message can go anywhere. Data can therefore make inanimate parts of the business process mimic independent decision making behavior.
Entrepreneurs should consider how to place sensors, processors, networks and batteries in the space of common tasks. The current trend is to build devices that are specialized to industries and, for everyday consumption, that are mobile and packed with tech. Networked data and brick and mortar business seem like oil and water now as new entrepreneurs focus on newfangled consumer tech. However even with its appeal, this market is proving narrow. A different outlook is to focus on enabling productivity for established industries. The current investor is more willing to support entrepreneurship around industry-wide change than the latest photo sharing app.
The internet of things will restructure career options for engineers, putting them at the head of decentralized manufacture. At the same time the demand for professionals in the humanities, service industry and marketing could rise; companies will need to address negative perceptions around highly automated culture and the lost tactile ownership of work.