In our house, I am the chief dishwasher stacker. There is no argument. I do it better. Of course, few people argue to do a tedious job at all, so maybe I am delusional. But I think not. I am the better dishwasher stacker. A casual poll of male acquaintances in a local purveyor of adult refreshments recently uncovered that we are all better at this task than our other halves. I’m not going to proffer a reason (but I think we all know why it is true).

We have a 10-year-old Bosch dishwasher and it has a nasty habit. It’s a good size, 14 place setting, big enough for the full dinner table, and a quiet one, 46decibels, which is important in open plan living. It’s hard to focus on the subtleties of Game of Thrones when 20 litres of water is sluicing the BBQ grease off the plates behind you. Anyway, that nasty habit, sometimes it leaks, badly. It took me ages to discover why. Exactly what innovative stacking practices were causing it to overflow across the kitchen floor?

In the meantime, I went looking for a cheap and easy way of alerting me that it was spilling its dirty water. What I wanted was a little sensor that I could fix on the floor underneath it that would fire off some sort of alarm when it got wet. This was 8+ years ago and I didn’t find what I was looking for. Now they are everywhere, and cheap, and you know what? There is a whole new world to this, it’s called the internet of things (IoT). I was a trendsetter. Who knew?

I don’t need it for my dishwasher anymore, I modified some of my stacking practices and the problem automagically disappeared.

Now at work I find myself engrossed in the internet of things. We have clients all over the country in all sorts of sectors that are starting to realise the opportunities available to them to improve their businesses, deliver better customer service and create differentiation and competitive advantage.

The challenge with connecting things to the internet is that they tend to start pouring out data like water from a fire hydrant, and how do you drink from that? These things are telling us useful information but we need a way of consuming that information, digesting it in a useful and timely way and then engaging responsive tasks and activities appropriately.

Here are some real world examples. For a facilities management business, sensors in the basement can tell you when it is getting wet down there, or when the air conditioning in the north-west corner has been fiddled with and the power bill will be starting to rise. For plant and machinery, when vibration or movement steps out of tolerance. For open spaces management when the ground needs watering. For solo remote workers when they stray outside a geo-fence or remain stationary for a protracted period.

Pieter van Schalkwyk, the founder and thought leader of XMPro has published an excellent white paper on this topic. Here at Professional Advantage we turn that theory into reality. What is your thing?

You can read more about Professional Advantage and business process management here.

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