Bsquare has identified five principles that define the world we now live in, one comprising billions of connections between people, devices, organizations, and ideas. Device makers and their customers must understand and address all five to successfully navigate this connected world.
The first of these principles is unprecedented speed, a concept that permeates much of our society today. Whether scanning your credit card at the grocery store or clicking the help button on a travel site, 30 seconds feels like an eternity. No experience is too fast.
The same is true in business. When everything is connected to everything, and billions of devices are talking to each other, the rate at which something can change exceeds the abilities of humans to keep up.
Security is a key element of speed. Think of a guard walking around a building. If it takes 10 minutes to get from floor to floor, bad actors have 10 minutes for their shenanigans. But in the connected world, a breach can begin in microseconds, while a human being can react in seconds at best.
That is why devices must be monitored by the algorithms and automated logic of other devices. Speed in my mind is making sure you’re aware of everything at a moment’s notice. If you can rapidly detect, assess, and respond to an anomaly, the customer ideally never knows there’s an issue. This holds true for any malady or malfeasance, whether from a hacker or a faulty software deployment or a fire.
When something goes wrong, you have a path to resolution quickly because you always have the necessary data available. Otherwise, for example, if a McDonald’s kiosk suddenly takes a long time to authorize a credit card, a customer could keep trying different cards without recognizing the device has been hacked.
Speed is also important for operational integrity – is the device doing what it’s supposed to be doing?
The machine needs to recognize that its performance is not normal and take corrective action quickly.
Devices must be monitored at a pace consistent with how quickly something could go wrong, or how serious the consequences can be, say when controlling the cooling rods in a nuclear reactor. Or for anything engaged in a real-time process, such as a surgical robot removing an appendix.
Speed helps ensure that technology remains a conduit between people, rather than displacing them. As home health care increases, a hospital must be able to provide the same level of support to a patient under remote observation at home. Whether a patient is clicking the call button on a device to immediately summon a nurse virtually, or the nurse is monitoring all the devices reading a patient’s vitals, that information needs to move at a speed that makes it a safe and natural experience.
At a higher level, speed is about the momentum of a company as a whole and how quickly you are analyzing your customers’ behaviors and adapting your product strategy.
A study from research firm IoT Analytics found that the time it takes the average company to design, build, and ship connected devices is progressively getting faster, from 28 months in 2016 down to 16 months in 2019. That same data showed that companies with more aggressive timelines also achieved better financial results.
Shipping quickly is what high-performance companies do. Speed also means how quickly you are learning from your devices and improving them over time. If you cannot change your product cycle or your mindset, you will remain behind the times.
Stay tuned as we continue to address the remaining principles in future blogs: unbounded scale, always on, systemic learning, and collective wisdom.