Part 2: Digital Business: A conceptual overview.

Sensors and the Cloud:  A match made in digital heaven?


Sensors are already being utilized in a large capacity by companies in a variety of industries that recognize the amazing capabilities they provide.  But when sensors are integrated with the convenience of smartphones, the speed of the internet and the massive storage space of the cloud, a whole new world is suddenly made available to those able to visualize it.   A good way to look at sensors is to think of them as a replacement for a living, breathing test pilot.  Sensors are so advanced that when used correctly, even in extreme situations, they can convey most of the same information that the human body can with pinpoint accuracy, but without the risks.  And instead of relying on human feedback, sensors record and communicate data in real- time.  They can do everything from sensing vibrations and movement,  to keeping constant temperature readings, without the need for manual record keeping.  Any desired piece of information can be extracted and stored on the cloud according to the specifications maintained in the data model through integrated, real-time communication over the web.

To get an idea of how sensors are being used within the digital business model, look no further than Nest which was acquired by Google in January 2014.  Nest thermostat controls home temperatures digitally via sensors and transmits data collected by these sensors in real time via the cloud.  It then can share this data with energy companies who can predict future energy consumption, resulting in increased efficiency, thus passing savings onto the customer.  Not only does Nest digitize temperature control, it also has the capability to share its’ digital cloud platform with other devices and services. One such service is Jawbone, which specializes in wearable digital technology that contains sensors. These sensors can detect when you go to sleep, and tell Nest to go into energy conservation mode in other areas of the house.  It then recognizes when you awake in the morning, in turn triggering your Nest thermostat to dynamically adjust the rest of the house back to a comfortable temperature according to prior data logs.  Regardless if its Nest, Comcast or any of the other numerous companies that have created a successful model based on digital business concepts, you can bet there is one thing they all possessed. . .the ability to VISUALIZE the possibilities digital business provides to their organization.




Source: “The Future Of Business Is Digital” by Nigel Fenwick & Martin Gill For more info on digital business: Data source: Forrester/Russell Reynolds 2014 Digital Business Online Survey


If you’re reading this, and can already envision the endless possibilities digital business can provide, you are on your way to success. Visualization is the component of digital business that determines the success of the model as applied to different situations.

If you are still asking the question, “Will digital business disrupt our business?”, you are already way behind.  The executives that understand the new era of a digital economy will find themselves leading the way to a successful future. Yet so many businesses continue to dismiss change and ignore their competitors’ advancements to their own detriment.   The ones who stay ahead of the digital curve thrive, and the ones that don’t invest in emerging technology eventually fade off into Chapter 11.

Blockbuster:  A case study in how NOT to visualize.
Blockbuster was once was the clear cut leader in the movie rental industry, yet failed to foresee their inevitable demise initiated by a fledgling startup known as Netflix.  What most people forget is that Netflix didn’t start out streaming movies online. They sent DVD’s through the mail. What allowed them to thrive was the foresight to evolve with the changes the digital age had in store for their business model, while their largest competitor continued with business as usual.  Netflix continues to grow and now use data analytics and digital business strategies to predict what their subscribers will watch with incredible accuracy.   Their willingness to adapt and invest in emerging digital and data strategies took down a corporate behemoth, and they now have moved their sights to all of the major cable providers in the US, and have even produced their own original shows.  Like so many others, Blockbusters’ management failed to visualize that the future of their industry was going digital.  Unfortunately, we see this too many times, as business owners are too stubborn, or cheap, to innovate.  What they don’t realize is they CAN’T AFFORD not to innovate.

Next in the Digital Business blog series:  An in-depth view of the mobile impact on digital business models.  Please follow us for more great content to come!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s