What was once the stuff of science fiction is now daily routine. We’re talking about the Internet of Things (IoT). According to Gartner, “The Internet of Things is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.”

In the business world, “things” have been connected for a while – computers, smart phones, lighting systems, HVAC, security, and output devices. Humble printers part of the Internet of Things? You better believe it. Through Managed Print Services, many organizations have gained experience in capturing and applying digital data from connected systems of output devices.

“The MPS industry has followed a track similar to the evolution of the IoT now underway,” observes Kirk Pothos, Vice President, Xerox Managed Print Services Offering Development. “First we had the Internet of printers. We quickly learned that because they are networked, information can be collected frequently and in a very efficient and automated manner. This meant we could finally capture data sets that could be used for analysis and other purposes.”

MPS Shows What Can Be Done
There are parallels between the potential of IOT and its level of maturity, and what MPS shows can be accomplished with network connected things. “IOT is just beginning its journey, but pretty soon, after there are enough connected things, the concepts of MPS-like assessments, KPI reporting and other data will be even more relevant. IoT suppliers will use similar methods to unlock even more value from these connected things,” says Pothos.

“To give an example of this potential value, consider a hospital with all its network-connected medical equipment. Think of the return on an MPS-type program for medical devices to maximize the value of those assets, which are expensive and in many cases life-saving.”

What IoT can learn from MPS
Since MPS and intelligent output devices have been around a bit longer than the concept of IoT, perhaps there are some lessons to be learned here. IoT suppliers and users might save time by adopting these tips:

• Use assessments to benchmark your connected environment
• Transform data into guidance through dashboards and visualization tools
• Focus measurement on key variables
• Use data to guide constant, incremental improvements
• Work with an experienced partner

Come back next week when Enterprise Matters explores these five lessons in more detail.