Source: "The Sensing Enterprise was born in 2011 from the intuition that the Internet of Things would necessarily affect companies, the way they conduct business, they run enterprise business systems and automate factory-floor production. The FInES Cluster and DG CONNECT of the European Commission, joined rapidly by a growing number of international experts from the manufacturing and production world, coined the phrase Sensing Enterprise to describe a business environment in which all assets are endowed with sensing capabilities and connected to networks to ‘treat’ information, generate new knowledge, help quick and effective decision making and, in so doing, make the Future Enterprise a new entity characterised by disruptive Qualities of Being.
In less than two years, along a path marked out by several passionate discussions at European events, the concept of Sensing Enterprise has grown up from blissful ignorance and denial to curiosity and critical interest. This is a signal that it may rapidly move up to acceptance, understanding and enlightenment!
As the authors write in the introduction, this paper (see below) is the first attempt to crystallise in writing the state of thinking, admittedly crude, scanty and informal, hence questionable, on the Sensing Enterprise concept, its adherence to enterprise challenges, its relevance to prospective solutions, and its impact on the breadth and depth of innovative thinking for redefining the place and the role of the enterprise in the digital economy. Several scenarios have been explored here. Much remains to be done yet to improve the theoretical foundations, structure the issues and the logical links among them, clarify the notion of ‘object’ in the enterprise context, establish the connections between the concept of Sensing Enterprise and the neighbouring concepts that exist or emerge at the confluence of the Internet and Business worlds. We believe that the cause is good and we hope that the discussions will develop further, initiated in Europe but open to the rest of the world as well.
It is difficult to conclude on something that is just beginning, even more so when the implications, though unshaped, are believed to be far-reaching. Let us just take one example. The move to the Sensing Enterprise – should the latter be a ‘smart business’, a ‘fab lab’, any other Future Enterprise concept, or any combination of those appellations – might sketch out a new social organisation taking the form of an overclass, as defined by French economist and scholar Jacques Attali, of which Europe could be the herald: ‘The acceptance of novelty as a good news, of precariousness as a value, of instability as an urgency and of interbreeding as a sign of wealth’ and the development of ‘nomadic tribes incessantly adaptable, unleashing multiple energies and bearing original solidarities’. Over-optimism? Naivety? Perhaps. But let us join 19th century's English poet Robert Browning when he writes: ‘Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?""
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