The Internet of Things refers to the billions of physical devices that are connected to and share information with the Internet. Devices are connected via wireless networks and processors which are getting smaller and cheaper every day. This means it is possible to turn almost any device into one that is connected to the Internet and make it smarter.
Devices can range from something like a light bulb to your washing machine, if it is an electrical device, you can be sure that it can be converted to an Internet of Things device. To make an otherwise ‘dumb’ device ‘smart’ or to give it the ability to transfer data and to give it tasks or to create actions for it is the Internet of things.
Examples of the Internet of Things
Something as simple as a light bulb, that can now be controlled with your smartphone is an example. Any physical object that can be connected to the internet and then controlled.
A door with a smart security lock that can be controlled via your smartphone motion sensing lights that turn on or off after detecting movement. Something as simple as children’s toys may be connected to the internet or something as serious as driverless cars that depend on information being received through their sensors and depends on geo-location for accurate driving,
The term Internet of Things would usually be used for things that weren’t originally designed to be used with the internet or weren’t meant to communicate with the internet. This means something like a computer or even in some regards a TV and smartphone are not considered Internet of Things devices. Smartwatches or wearable technology are considered as IoT devices. Existing devices that had no way of connecting to the internet in their base form can now be connected to the internet.
How IoT Devices Impact Project Management
IoT devices have fundamentally decreased the time it takes for a project’s execution. Communication is a huge, if not the most important aspect to a project’s well-being and communication can make or break a project’s execution. And this is just communication amongst human employees.
If devices are included, devices that would not normally have communication capability, a project can be completed much faster. Here are a few ways IoT devices directly affect project management:
- Faster Reporting
Time is money and the projects can decay when you’re waiting for reports to come in. Devices connected to the internet can generate results, data, and reports considerably faster. Devices may be automated so a sequential generation of data and reports may be possible. This makes the project and its phases independent from other parties where before, projects and their phases would be stuck waiting to get analytics for their own systems.
Say, for example, you want to run a test of a car’s tire. Before, you had to depend on other devices, such as a motion camera and sensors on the drive path or an entirely localized field where you could run tests. Now, the car and the tire itself can be fitted with sensors and communication devices that can send real-time results back.
- Real-Time Observation
In the same sense, project managers can now observe project phases and their results in real time. Before, the state of a project may not have been apparent until it was too late to change it. An over-all view was not possible.
Using devices fitted with sensors and wireless connectivity, the scope of observation increases tenfold. What can be observed can be changed as well and thus connectivity of devices provides the opportunity for projects to become agile.
- Valuable Bank of Data is Available on Demand
Projects often use data from previous or existing projects done on the same subject. To access this data and to store your own data for later use, it must be archived. With IoT, data that you use or generate may become immediately available and extremely helpful for cross-referencing.
Before, accessing data and recording it, from the contents to the tags was extremely time-consuming as all of it had to be done manually. To store data, you need data and storage and companies have to be careful for when they run out and need more to store.
- Data Trends
With the speed at which data can be collected and handled, data can be observed to create predictions and possibly, solutions to problems. Just the speed at which IoT produces information can be conveyed to team members instantly and thus creates a sense of familiarity amongst team members.
Data analysis is an important aspect and is used as an important resource.
- IoT Creates Equal Expectations
There are no longer excuses for delays. Data is created and communicated instantly. Projects have never been faster and never been considered to deliver at a pace that they are now. Companies adapting to the IoT trend will be the ones to see success and the ones ignoring it will be left far behind. It is a level playing field now where a lot of power falls into the project manager’s hands.
Project managers should be aware of all the technologies that are available that can aid the project. It should be the responsibility of a project manager to implement technology into their projects and to have employees keep up with it.
Why You Should Care About IoT
The Internet of Things creates a possibility of effective and quick project life. Any project manager who wants to create an environment of quick results should look into IoT as a solution. The competition will eat you up as IoT is becoming ubiquitous in our culture of future living. Project management suited to Agile and bigger projects who adopt agile is also adapting the technologies associated with it.
The bottom line that integrating IoT means faster communication, faster results, better data collection and archiving and thus faster project life its ability to be changed as well during its life.