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The Internet of Things (IoT) in HCM – Expectation?

Now everything seems to be connected to the internet. The future of M2M technology seems inevitable as people demand smarter applications to fulfill their ever-growing hunger for new information/analysis and their desire to do things quicker and better. 

The Internet and mobile technologies have changed almost everything. Not a single industry, profession or occupation is unaffected from digital transformation. Mobile sensors are now ahead of human sensors and are getting better in a huge pace, in fact mobile is already better than what we have predicted before – increasingly containing GPS, camera, fingerprint scanner, heart rate sensor, pressure sensor, environmental humidity sensor and lot’s more.


The IoT is what will happen when any device with an off/on switch can be connected to the Internet and to other devices. More precise definition would be:

“The Internet of Things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes a future where every day physical objects will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices.”from Techopedia.

The 1990’s Internet had connected one billion users via PCs; the early 2000’s Internet connected two billion users via smartphones; and by 2020, the IoT is expected to connect 28 billion “things” to the Internet. Technology analyst firm Gartner has predicted that in the very near future, there will be nearly 30 billion connected devices, forging complex relationships between people and things.

Experts say there are mainly three types of players in the Internet of Things market:

Enablers who develop the technology

Engagers who deliver services to customers

Enhancers who provide value-add or unique services on top of what the Engagers provide

So, employees working in the Internet of Things could need different skills depending upon whether they are in organizations that enable, engage, or enhance. Many companies are now facing challenges to redesign their business models within the context of the IoT ecosystem. On the other side, smaller start-ups have the flexibility to begin their ventures based on an IoT business model.

Organizations are reviewing how best to leverage the new age technology and wisdom to stay ahead & lead the pack. Staying ahead with technology may be a necessity, but thre are other factors as well important to your business. Adopting cloud computing as the main computing platform for conducting daily business, or empowering your workforce with mobile advancement, today there are so may ways and options available to optimized your business.

IoT incorporates independent electronic system using mobile, cloud, microprocessor & real time analytics to translate data to wisdom through information and knowledge.


HR technology is paying attention to IoT as well. It’s playing a key role by innovating and building more robust cloud-based products that are changing way of working. In fact, the role of HR in a digital world is to achieve more efficient and value driven HR outcomes without compromising risk management or compliance.

Current focus is on to develop new recruiting, training strategies for talent and it also necessary that the company have their internal systems operate within the Internet of Things. For instance, it is good if the company’s HRIS, workforce management, and payroll systems will operate within the Internet of Things. In most cases, this means reviewing the overall service delivery model of people, process, and technology.

Maximizing HR utilization is a top priority for every company now a days. The ability to select the right man for the job at the right time in the right place for the right cost is taking on new dimensions in this coming days. Workforce planning will become more smart and will allow us to plan which people we need and when in real time, based on an integrated operational project plan. Predictive functionality could provide more clarity on how much workloads are expected and what future skills are necessary to run the competitive business. Strategic plans could be made instantly as unmatched explosion of Big Data is being triggered by the Internet of Things, which make numerous intelligent devices interconnected easily and which in tends provide quick analysis.

Larry Ellison recently noted that the two most important priorities for any CEO today revolve around people: Taking care of your employees and taking care of your customers. Companies in today’s hyper competitive business environment simply won’t be able to survive unless they have got world-class people at all levels of the organization.

Companies are even focusing on partnering with universities to help create a new type of highly skilled workers. These new workers will create opportunities to help their companies in fields as diverse as product design, customer service, marketing, manufacturing and distribution. They will become innovative leaders in fashioning an entirely new type of workforce and organizational structure optimized to fully exploit the Internet of Things so that it becomes a high-value enabler of the Internet of People.


So organizations have lot of expectation from IoT in HR area. Below are few possible published SMART cases that people are discussing now days which predominantly shows the impact of IoT in HR. This is not the end, perhaps just a start.

Smart Learning

  1. Smart training room that could have smart content, smart delivery, and smart learning infrastructure.
  2. Intelligent chair – that could log attendance of the individual. Interaction between chair (pressure), RFID ID to identify individual, integrated attendance system, etc.

Smart On-boarding

  1. On-boarding of new resource supported by wearable device and self-learning and orientation
  2. Smart glasses – with complete on-boarding and orientation session
  3. RFID tagged resources for tracking location of the resources required for work assignment

Smarter Manpower Planning

  1. Workforce Administration – Workforce application on-demand.
  2. Dynamic planning based on mapped resource competency, productivity, and availability vs. real-time need

Smart Work Allocation

  1. Smart work allocation process; dynamic work allocation workflow concepts
  2. Varying work allocation based on “current” productivity and efficiency of resources

Smart Workplace

  1. Workplace that may be designed for maximum productivity and responsive to workforce needs
  2. Turning on contextual display devices on real time basis
  3. Extra sound absorbing mechanism during meeting hours; brighter lighting during break timings
  4. Intelligent Timekeeping devices with smart options

Health and Well-being

With people are using smart watches, which collect physical data such as the walking or activity people take a day. These devices could be incorporated into workplace well-being programs.



There could be more cases with Smart Personal Development, Smart Approval Process, Smart Travel Plan and Smart Recruitment.

Envision a smarter HR could helps to build a better and stable organization. These applications would challenge HR in many ways and in other hand would also provide brand new ways to improve how we work. The future of work starts today, with our people strategy and IoT is considered as a key force for Technological change and shaping  the “Future of Work”.


There is a course going to start from openSAP How the Internet of Things and Smart Services Will Change Society – from March 25, 2015 that could sound interesting for you.

Some of the content is inspired by Sharlyn Lauby: HR pro turned consultant, Richard Breden: Managing Director – enableHR, Greg Moran: Founder and President of, Mark Hurd: CEO Oracle, Jon Ingham: Executive Consultant, Alexandra Levit: A premiere spokespeople and many others Experts around world.

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      Author's profile photo Jocelyn Dart
      Jocelyn Dart

      Hi Soumyasanto Sen

      Reading your list of examples it occurs to me that one of the key challenges for IoT in HR may well be overcoming fears of corporate stalking of employees.  Particularly the intelligent chair which raises some ethical concerns around eg measuring bathroom break times.  It is going to be essential that IoT solutions provide a win-win for both the company & the employee & be largely voluntary or adoption will suffer & industrial action may follow.

      I'm wondering if you have come across such discussions in your reading & if you have any insights to share on how others are tackling these challenges



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Jocelyn Dart,

      Thank you for your nice observation in the list.

      And yes you are right, there are always concerns & challenges over this solutions. All those which I put here are just concepts which are in discussions at very initial stages and there are no further details or concerns mentioned yet. There are still many things to overcome here to take care with ethics, countries/company laws, culture etc. That's why I believe IoT in HR would be the most difficult area to achieve.

      So expectation is still not clear I would say for certain cases and we definitely need some framework here to handle this challenges. It's still an open space for us I believe and there are many things to learn for sure. People only come to know by sharing there views and learning.

      I am also eagerly waiting to learn more in this area for near future.



      Author's profile photo Luke Marson
      Luke Marson

      Great blog Soumya! Lots of food for thoughts there.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you Luke. This is the topic where one can really start thinking upon. 🙂

      Author's profile photo Niladri Bihari Nayak
      Niladri Bihari Nayak

      Wonderful Blog Soumya. Expecting sequel of IOT in HCM topics in future ... 🙂



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you Niladri.

      We can expect for sure 🙂



      Author's profile photo Vardaraj AV
      Vardaraj AV


      A good start on IoT for HR.