James Heppelmann is the CEO of software company PTC.
The term Internet of Things doesn’t actually communicate much. It’s a catchy phrase and we all like it, but it’s not clear what it means. But when we say “smart, connected products,” then I think it becomes a little bit more tangible, and people really understand that much of the excitement here isn’t about the Internet—it’s about the things.
If you step back and say, “Why would people connect things to the Internet? What’s the point?”—I think there are three killer applications.
 The first is that you can service things better if you can communicate with these things and have feedback loops. You can be proactive. You can be efficient. You can maintain higher degrees of up-time. Better output with lesser input.
 The second thing you can do is you can operate these things better—operate them remotely for reasons of safety, efficiency, accessibility, you name it.
 And the third thing is that you can make them better. You can have feedback loops into the engineering and design processes to understand if the customers use the product like you thought they would. How does the design perform in actual use for the customer? So I think that this will have a transformative effect on the way things are created, operated, and serviced. And a tremendous amount of efficiency and differentiation and value will be created as a result.Reference: How the Internet of Things could transform the value chain.
Of course the Internet of Things isn't just about things, but also about people, too. Beyond mobile devices, we will increasingly have wearable technology and no doubt embedded (implanted) technology as well, which monitor our vital signs and medical condition, not to mention our whereabouts and activities, via the Internet. Google Glass and Apple Watch are just recent, high profile examples. As with any media and technology, digital and analytics, there are upsides and downsides. CEOs like Heppelmann and their marketing team will tout the upsides, of course, but it is our responsibility to weigh the downsides as well, from cyber hacking to privacy breaches.