This sponsored post is produced by Stephen Forte, Chief Strategy Officer, Telerik.

As a 20-year veteran of the technology industry, I’ve seen the emergence of new next-gen technologies come and go – from the client server to the desktop, to PCs and laptops, and finally to the current mobile era. What makes this latest wave of devices, appliances and wearable materials different is their connectivity to each other and exchange of data via the cloud. To take this a step further, the Internet of Things is upon us and is something everyone in the technology world is talking about.

One Internet of Things enabler, Spark Core, gives developers the ability to connect everyday electronics to the internet over Wi-Fi. This may manifest in the form of a chip in a dishwasher that is now equipped to send data back to the device manufacture. The manufacture can then integrate that customer data into firmware and create an application for the consumer’s added convenience. This is a perfect demonstration of what Pew Research Center found in a recent survey and reported on in “The Internet of Things Will Thrive by 2025” – that one of the many ways the Internet of Things will be evident is in homes. “People will be able to control nearly everything remotely, from how their residences are heated and cooled to how often their gardens are watered.”

While this may seem a bit overwhelming to the average person, the consumer opportunity is huge. Homeowners can set a timer for all of their appliances on their mobile device and pause or stop them remotely and, ultimately, have total home automation from one device. But the Internet of Things will impact more than our homes, it will impact our careers, health, communities and more. And for the enterprise, the unseen motivation is the collection and analysis of user intelligence in order to, yes provide better service to customers, but also to drive practical innovation and therefore sales.

Doc Searls, journalist and director of ProjectVRM at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society in the same Pew Research Center report says, “Products themselves become platforms for relationships between customers and companies. This opens huge service opportunities.” The Internet of Things puts customer demand, production and supplier data into context faster, making it more accessible to companies. Devices are already collecting and aggregating data relative to their function and the user’s personal information like location, time and recurrence. But with the Internet of Things, companies can act faster on this intelligence.

With the Internet of Things, there’s also a Big Data opportunity for software consultants. To take the example of the dishwasher manufacturer again, there are tens of thousands of homes with dishwashers running almost daily. A chip in each home will produce a massive amount of data – frequency, time, weight of load, etc. The manufacturer now has to architect a whole new system to not only gather, but analyze this data that is now flooding in with every day – which is where third party advice and solutions come in. Putting the data to work requires true analysis and cross-referencing of groups of customers and sharing with them (or their dishwasher or smart phone) how they can save electricity by, for example, running their dishwasher at a certain time of night.

What about developers at these enterprises though? Developers already have to account for a multitude of devices but now they also have to account for the interoperability of just about anything and their respective applications?

There’s an increasingly greater number of devices, appliances, wearables and more. If everything is going to have sensors and be connected there is going to be a proliferation of applications. For example, if you work at the dishwasher manufacturer who probably has three or four applications today, it will likely require 20 applications tomorrow, plus an infrastructure to connect them all.

It’s the developer’s job to tie all of this together. Developers have the chance to enable interoperability between company and consumer with the Internet of Things because it’s their role to build better software. As a developer you can build the bridge between a software gap and the enterprise by creating the applications that will connect all of these Internet of Things. As mentioned above, an innovation like Spark Core makes it truly possible for developers to internet of things (yes that’s a verb now) anything…and there are many more technology advancements underway.

With the Internet of Things, every piece of data about the consumer can be pushed back to the application that the developer creates, allowing for the personalization of the consumer experience which ultimately is based on a consumer’s preference. This means that in the process, the developer is also satisfying enterprise needs and ultimately demonstrating value with future-forward technology and skillsets.  A must in today’s increasingly connected world.

Stephen Forte

Chief Strategy Officer

Stephen Forte is the Chief Strategy Officer at Telerik and is the co-founder and executive director of AcceleratorHK, Hong Kong’s first startup accelerator. He mentors at several startup accelerators, including Haxlr8r, the world’s only hardware startup accelerator. Stephen is also a board member of the Scrum Alliance. Prior to Telerik, he was the co-founder of Triton Works, which was acquired by UBM in 2010 and was the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Corzen, Inc., which was acquired by Wanted Technologies in 2007. Prior to Corzen, Stephen served as the CTO of Zagat Survey in New York City (acquired by Google in 2011) and also was co-founder of the New York-based software consulting firm The Aurora Development Group.

Stephen speaks regularly at industry conferences around the world. He has written several books on application and database development, and is also a Certified Scrum Professional, CSM, and PMP. Stephen holds an MBA from the City University of New York. He is currently based in the Telerik office in Palo Alto, California.

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