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The Surprising Gift that Comes with the iPhone 5S

Whether we realized it or not (they didn’t make a big deal out of it), Apple launched the iPhone 5S with a special gift for the consumer and business alike. People spent the night on sidewalks to buy the next incarnation of Apple’s red-hot smartphone without even realizing it.

Before I saw what it was, consider this: it’s hard to believe we’re six years into a smartphone evolution that made the world far more mobile, social, cloud-y, and savvy about Big Data. Our phones have become our mental storage locker and our virtual get together. Just adding features to that success would be enough, but Apple went further.

Building Devices for the Internet of Things

OK, here it is: the iPhone 5S brings something even better … a built-in ability to sense and respond to our environment through more than just our clicks and swipes. This model is built for the Internet of Things (AKA the rapidly growing addition of data via sensors and other types of hardware to the connected Web). With BYOD becoming the norm, that also means we’re, in effect, bringing that sensor data capability to the workplace. That’s powerful.

TIBCO’s Sean O’Shaughnessey described the Internet of Things this way:

“The Internet of Things is rapidly becoming a reality in the modern workplace. Everything within our communities, personal lives, and workforce is becoming connected to the internet. When your phone works as a credit card, a parking meter talks to your computer, and the home thermostat programs itself, how can you match enterprise data to consumer demand? The world expects all of your data to be available at any location, at any time, and on any device—this includes your workforce and your customers.”

The Next Wave of Applications 

Apple is very wisely anticipating this sea of change. Last week, GigaOM’s Hari Gottipati wrote about iBeacon, the Apple functionality that “…opens a door to a new set of applications such as indoor maps and in-store marketing, it makes the Internet of Things a reality…” This is the next chapter in technology and the way business will be done more and more in the near future. These devices we carry around every day are more connected to how we live, work, listen, and create the data that describes the things and events that happen around us.

Smart companies are getting ready for this. Apple’s iPhone 5S is a wake-up call for anyone who isn’t.

This post was first published on The TIBCO Blog and has been lightly edited.

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