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The Internet of Things (IoT) might well be the most important shift in business since the advent of the computer, as it moves the world of business from one in which SKUs and consumers are disconnected points on the supply chain to one where they are
tightly integrated with one another, constantly providing data and feedback to those corporations that are willing to listen to them.

The simple definition of the Internet of Things is an army of tens of billions of connected devices making our lives easier.  IoT is a seemingly infinite number of devices with a seemingly infinite array of sensors producing effectively an infinite amount of data.

We are going to have more than 9 Billion connected things by 2018 and software is becoming more important than ever to make hyper-connected things smarter.

The Internet of Things is the next revolution in computing and includes the expectation that we will see a pervasive integration of semiconductors, mobile communications, Big Data and analytics propelling the IoT into the wider economy.

The Internet of Things is opportunity for Wholesale Distributors to drive potential changes in business models and realize significant cost savings.  Wholesale Distributors are now seeking ways to drive growth from data on the billions of connected devices on their wired and wireless networks as the permeation of smartphones, tablets, and home broadband reaches maturity.

But that data comes at a cost. Data requires the ability firs to capture it, second to analyze it, and third to act upon it. Each of those steps takes effort, often a great deal.  The Internet of Things produces so much data, in such varied ways and formats, that collecting and understanding what is being said requires capabilities that are only beginning to appear in the marketplace.

There are significant opportunities around IoT. The most obvious area is in data management as IoT creates new varieties of data as well as greater data volume. However, we believe the opportunities go much further than data management.  Companies need to analyze and interpret the data, which we believe requires investment in real-time and predictive analytics. 

Finally, any optimization suggested by the analysis has to be presented to end users for them to take action—or automatically to
initiate a new process.  We believe that IoT applications need to be integrated into existing business processes and IT landscapes.

A common view might be that the most important software implication from the IoT is the database/data storage layer. It is true that the IoT creates very significant data volumes that will only increase (dramatically) over time.

The real value of the IoT for wholesale is in connecting your infrastructure to your broader business process software. The use of in-memory technology will become a necessity to successfully combine IoT data with business transactional data in one shared

For example, running the IoT for wholesale on an in-memory platform can help you operate in real time, enabling unprecedented benefits in terms of customer insight and just-in-time distribution and maintenance. It enables an environment where you can finally
monitor, analyze, and automate in ways that greatly improve customer experiences, streamline key business processes, and create new business models, saving your organization millions in efficiencies and generating new streams of revenue in even greater proportions.

To learn more about Internet of Things innovations for Wholesale Distribution and top priorities to consider when building a successful IoT strategy, visit:

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This post originally appeared on SAP Business Innovation.