Voices from Accenture Public Service

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The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the ever-growing number of devices that are in some way connected to the internet. This includes the range of devices that are processing data and computing “on the edge”, such as Fitbits and home automation tools. We may take those connections for granted, but they link everything to everything else and (potentially) everybody to everybody else.

As a result, huge quantities of potentially valuable new information are being generated all the time, a topic I discussed in my previous blog looking at Data Veracity. Unfortunately, the bad news is that existing IT architectures were never designed to support this avalanche of continuously evolving data. In the 2018 Accenture Technology Vision, the trend Internet of Thinking addresses this by designing and pushing intelligent processing of this info out into the field. As more organizations move to the cloud and the velocity of change continues to accelerate, failing to control these new smart environments is not only a business risk; it could be a huge wasted opportunity.

The Internet of Thinking sets out just why all organizations (including pension and retirement agencies) must become adept at navigating these new smart environments. Extended infrastructures – from the cloud to the edge and everywhere in between – are becoming the backbone of the Internet of Thinking. Up to this point, most organizations have focused on enterprise systems as the priority for investment. Now, they also need to look outside their organization and embrace an ever-expanding selection of components as a strategic essential.

Smart investments in service design, infrastructure transformation and hardware considerations will empower truly intelligent environments allowing the merging of internal systems and external data sources. The relevance for pension and retirement agencies may not be immediately obvious, however, a closer look will make it clear that the Internet of Thinking offers some ground-breaking benefits.

One example for the pension industry? Asset management. Real estate is a major component of many agency portfolios. Eighty-seven percent of all public-sector funds and over 70 percent of private-sector funds globally currently invest in this asset class. Between them they hold over $1 trillion in real estate. At that scale, achieving even modest improvements in building performance and sustainability can generate very significant financial returns. With Internet of Thinking, internet-enabled heating and lighting systems can connect to building alarm, access control and security systems to be able to understand room usage, allowing landlords to reduce electricity spend. Smart real estate is a game-changer as landlord can charge premiums for their space as well as provide better services at lower costs.

In one recent example, we worked with a major US retailer to help it save millions in energy costs through the power of applied intelligence (advanced analytics, AI and automation) working on more than 2,000 connected sensors to optimize in-store lighting and temperature control across the retailer’s store network. By improving demand control and reducing peak demand charges, we’ve enabled eight percent savings in energy and 70 percent reduction in losses from faulty equipment.

This is just one example. The possibilities are as boundless as the Internet of Thinking itself. Real-time information from edge devices could revolutionize how pension and retirement agencies manage their investments and divestments, support their members with new services and actuarial models and transform the employee experiences they offer.

Let me know what you think, please get in touch or leave a comment below.

To learn more, visit www.accenture.com/pension and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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