I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about the fundamental shifts in our economy that are going on and how they impact our career and professional development. Monday I asked if you were ready to treat yourself as a start-up. Today I'm wondering how the Internet of Things may start changing our work.
What is the "Internet of Things"?
When real-word objects--buses, water mains, cows--are connected to the Internet, this is called the "Internet of Things." It's possible because RFID, bar codes and other technologies now allow us to tag and uniquely identify real-world objects so that they can feed all kinds of data into networked systems. So we have cows wearing sensors that communicate with farmers when the cow is ill or pregnant. And the ability to control all devices in your home (like lighting, heat, appliances,etc.) through your Android phone.
Earlier this week, Cisco, published an infograpic that illustrates the growth in and potential of The Internet of Things. This article in McKinsey (requires free registration to read) also does a nice job of explaining what it is, as well as laying out 6 distinct types of applications. And IBM's "Smarter Planet Initiave" is all about expanding the Internet of Things:
Three Big Ideas
- Instrument the World's Systems
- Interconnect them
- Make them Intelligent.
At this point I don't think it's a question of IF this will have an impact. It's more about how soon and how will it impact?
Why Should I Care?
The Internet of Things is going to automate a ton of jobs that have never been automated before, reducing the numbers of workers needed for many occupations or eliminating jobs altogether. At the the same time it will create new jobs in areas we can't even predict. It will also change the nature of many jobs--the skills and knowledge, the processes, etc--in ways we can only imagine.
Paying attention to how technology and other trends may be shaping the new world of work is incredibly important. It allows us to see where old careers may be dead or dying and where new opportunities may await us. It can show us how our current jobs may change and what we need to do to take advantage of change, rather than letting it happen to us.
As I think about Positive Professional Development and what it really means, it occurs to me that it's partially about always scanning the horizon to see what changes are coming my way. Positive PD is also about asking the right questions--like, "how can I build up my core strengths so that I'm prepared for these new opportunities"? It's about catching the crest of a wave, not waiting for it to wash over me.
So are you prepared for The Internet of Things? How do you think it will impact careers and work?