Small business: beware the Internet of Everything

Small business community web site Flying Solo posted a {cslimited}blog {/cslimited}recently urging readers to "Be someone on 'The Internet of Everything'." It promised to answer the questions: "What exactly is the Internet of Everything? And why is it important to be on it?" Sadly, it failed on both counts.

The post seems to regard the Internet of Everything as the vast repository of information that is accessible over the Internet via search engines such as Google. "If you have any question, any wish, any wondrous thought, you can just type it into a search engine. Some have called it The Internet of Everything."

And it suggested that many small business owners were "frozen in fear" because "They’re worried they won’t be found. They feel they’re going to fall through a crack and nobody will catch them."

Those fears might well be real, and justified, but they have nothing to do with the Internet of Everything. And the Internet of Everything is going to be such an all-pervasive phenomenon that even small businesses need to understand what it is, how it might impact them and what opportunities it presents.

The Internet today is predominantly the Internet of People: it either provides communication between people - via email, Facebook, twitter etc- or it provides information to people: web pages online movies etc.

The Internet of Everything is in part the Internet of Things: devices communicating to systems: soft drink vending machines that report stock levels; sensors in machines that transmit gigabytes of data every hour on those machines.

The Internet of Everything embraces the Internet of Things but is much more. It is about people, things, the data they generate, the systems that make sense of this data and create value.

It's been described as follows: "The Internet of Everything gives people, businesses, communities and countries the resources they need to collect and access data and turn it into valuable insight," and as the intersection of people, process, data, and things, and the systems that amplify the capabilities of each, creating synergies from the combinations."

Some observers have suggested that the Internet of Everything is at a stage of development equivalent to that of the Internet of People 20 years ago. If that's true then, looking at how the Internet of People has evolved in the past two decades, big changes are afoot.

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