The Internet of Things: Creating Value For Associations

JP Guilbault, a thought leader on the future of work and technology, breaks down the implications and advantages of a fully connected world.

In 1999, tech expert Kevin Ashton coined the phrase “The Internet of Things” to describe the network of objects and devices connected to the internet. Twenty years later, the IoT network has expanded exponentially. From the GPS in our watches to the thermostats in our homes, nearly everything we interact with in our daily lives is connected to the internet providing instant access to new opportunities and adding to the ease of our daily lives.

It can be easy to forget how far we’ve come in comparison to where we were only a few years ago. “Think about the printer in your office,” says JP Guilbault, President and CEO of Community Brands. “Not too long ago, someone would try to print something and realize that the toner was out. They would tell the facilities manager, and then the facilities manager would replace the cartridge and order a new one via key strokes and a web browser. Today, your connected printer calculates when it will run out of toner and orders a replacement cartridge for you in advance. Today, your car schedules the next service appointment, and today, your office adjusts the temperature automatically. That’s not only convenient, but when you’re not using time and energy thinking about toner, or scheduling an appointment, you’re using it to concentrate on the important parts of your business that require creativity and problem-solving, or making the world more sustainable. IoT allows us to focus on things that matter.”

Guilbault, a thought leader on the future of work and technology, breaks down the implications of a fully connected world and the advantages that IoT offer associations to innovate and thrive.

The Power of Connection

Connections between devices are reshaping the way we conduct our lives and work; from manufacturing to healthcare, to accounting, human resources and marketing.

“If you are an association focused on a manufacturing or agricultural segment, new technologies are leading to the era of machines and humans interacting, and the data produced is not just insightful, it’s a revenue stream and a new career. Today’s smart factories will need workers that are technologically agile to mentor robots, interpret findings, and repair sensors” says Guilbault. “This power of connection is also changing the way associations connect. Not only are machines becoming connected but we as human beings are becoming more intradependent and connected through technology each and every day. Organizations are partnering with industry, with schools, and local governments to break down geographical and stereotypical barriers.”

Connectivity Yields Results

“The American Academy of Pediatrics has a worldwide mission to improve the health and lives of children,” explains Guilbault. “Doctors and researchers now have the ability to quickly and effectively transfer medical knowledge and education to those doing work in third world countries. They can teach and observe as though they’re right there on the ground and as a result of this connection, infant mortality rates have declined. That’s just one example. This availability of connected information is going to be a catalyst for economic and social improvement on a global scale throughout industries.”

“At Community Brands, we have more than 50 offices with over 3,000 employees worldwide,” explains Guilbault. “Connected project management, social networking, and development tools allow us to go beyond the physical barriers of distance and move at an incredibly fast rate. In this rapidly accelerating world where partnerships matter, your ability to swiftly move information and align ideas is going to be what separates you from others.”

Speed and Personalization Are True Differentiators

“The Internet of Things, as it relates to the workplace, is about the speed and availability of information,” says Guilbault. “Today’s consumer has an expectation of speed: one-day shipping for products they want, even having a hotel room key that is instantly sent to their phone when they check-in.”

“For organizations, speed is a differentiator for members. Information is everywhere, it is ubiquitous. But those organizations that can get information to their members and adapt the experience the fastest, and in the simplest way possible will gain a competitive edge. Expectations around technology are higher than ever before.”

“Take the Apple Watch for instance, we are now able to get notifications about an irregular heart rhythm or take an electrocardiogram (ECG) and the app will deliver that data via PDF to your physician without having to make a physical trip to their office. Amazon’s Alexa makes shopping, receiving information, and being entertained as easy as simply saying the request out loud. Alexa can set alarms, read your e-book collection to you, set appointments on your calendar, and give you traffic updates as you cruise in your car. Alexa connects with Cloud and Wink Hub products to control lights and locks in your home from a vocal command. Even cash is facing challenges keeping up with the rise in use of apps like Venmo and Cash-App syncing with our bank accounts to transfer funds between friends, tenants and landlords, and for services. The Internet of Things is taking over and streamlining our lives in ways which at first felt ‘Jetson-esque,’ but are now considered the norm and becoming required for retaining consumer and member engagement.” Guilbault shares. “Why shouldn’t a prospective member or event attendee be able to participate in this keyless commerce experience?”

The Future of Connectivity

“CRMs and AMS platforms are going to be infused with artificial intelligence which will have a direct impact on not just the speed, but the focus of the information associations deliver to their members.” Guilbault says “that data from social networks, news feeds and legislation will come together to allow associations to personalize every message to every member about every kind of offering-and it will all be done by machines while association workers continue to create new programs and benefits. That is what the future will bring and it is amazing.”

About Community Brands & JP Guilbault

JP Guilbault currently serves as CEO and President of Community Brands, the leading provider of business management, engagement, commerce & payment solutions to member-based organizations. With 3,000 employees serving over 130,000 clients in 34 countries, CB empowers people and organizations to grow stronger, succeed faster, and achieve their dreams- because powerful work needs powerful tech. 

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