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  • One of the nation's busiest airport terminals uses beacons to gather data about passengers, lines and wait points, and displays that data on 13 large screens.

  • The vast majority of enterprises have positioned themselves to collect, manage and store data from device sensors—in other words, to deploy Internet of things (IoT) technology, according to a recent survey from Aeris. The accompanying report, "The Business of Enterprise IoT," indicates that most IT departments are developing both IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) apps internally. They're also taking advantage of analytical tools to maximize the value of IoT data. Through this, they expect to boost competitive advantage, while reducing day-to-day costs. To reach these goals, IT organizations will need to overcome a number of hurdles, including the need to ensure connectivity while effectively integrating IoT apps with enterprisewide data and app systems. "Opportunities will be met with challenges," said Janet Jaiswal, vice president of enterprise marketing at Aeris. "As the number of connected devices grows, organizations will not only be under increased pressure to better manage their devices and obtain data-generated insights to improve operational efficiencies, but they also will need a deeper understanding of how best to address the complexities associated with connectivity and data consumption to lower operational costs." An estimated 300 U.S. and U.K. IT decision-makers took part in the research.

  • Technology professionals aren't just like everyone else. They take on tasks that require a great deal of both science-based skills and innovative capabilities. They often work under immense pressure and are essential to keeping the company running. As a result, IT pros have specific requirements for their workspace. To create a productive and satisfying work environment, organizations need to consider the work requirements of various departments and teams, including IT. In a section of the recent book, Why Should Anyone Work Here?: What it Takes to Create an Authentic Organization (Harvard Business Review Press/available now), co-authors Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones weigh in on the characteristics of companies that embrace individual personalities and work approaches. Such businesses proactively seek to hire employees who bring a variety of backgrounds and perspectives to their teams. They don't discourage creative conflict—they encourage it. And they reward experimentation—even when some experiments fail. "To attract the best people and succeed as a business," the authors write, "the authentic organization of the future will need to foster environments where creativity and innovation are at a premium, employees feel engaged and committed, and leadership pipelines are carefully cultivated for future success." The following "workplace individuality" assessment questions and best practices are adapted from the book. Goffee is an emeritus professor of organizational behavior at the London Business School, and Jones is a fellow of the Centre for Management Development at the London Business School.

  • Senior management is increasingly pushing technology organizations to innovate, but IT teams are perpetually saddled with other, more immediate responsibilities that keep them from focusing on innovative projects, according to a recent survey from Ipswitch. The resulting report, "The 8 Issues Derailing IT Team Innovation," ranks these distracting demands based on which ones create the most time-consuming, frustrating challenges that stand in the way of innovation. Given the wealth of high-profile breaches in recent years, it's not surprising that cyber-security tops the list. But other concerns also loom large, including budget constraints and customer issues. "IT teams work valiantly behind the scenes every day to make sure their digital businesses stay connected," according to the report. "With challenges like dealing with cyber-threats and new technology—or even just the sheer volume of day-to-day work—it is getting harder and harder for IT teams to keep necessary innovation from going off the rails. … These are the true front lines of IT, where decisions need to be made quickly, and business operations depend on systems functioning properly." A total of 2,685 global IT professionals took part in the research. (Respondents could pick only one tech issue in response to each question, thus resulting in lower overall percentages than if they could have selected more than one issue.)

  • One of the most appealing uses of artificial intelligence—for businesses, government and other organizations providing sales and support—is for virtual agents.