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IoT- What It Is and What It Means for Your Business

What is IoT?

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IoT (Internet of Things) connects devices and systems to sensors and an Internet connection, to create a network which enables devices to communicate remotely or to be handled remotely by a human agent. In brief, IoT is the technology which enables devices to “talk” to each other in order to co-improve their performance and increase the relevance of their output.

From household use to industrial use, IoT has become a desired technology which ensures better control over the information used, the input received, and the context which processes data. 

 Why is IoT relevant now? 

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IoT implementation can be a challenge, as it requires: 

  • Sensors and the know-how to manage them correctly 
  • Interconnected software, databases, and sound security 
  • Evidence-based embedded business logic 
  • Data security and transferability 

However, the benefits are immense and immediate: 

  • For companies, IoT generates an ecosystem which enables them to gather big data, monitor processes and operations, prevent equipment breakdown, and tap into operations without switching the context 
  • For individual users, IoT generates an ecosystem where parameters can be controlled and programmed to make life more meaningful (daily chores, schedules, planning, developing routines) 

Given the growing number of smart, digital devices, IoT is THE paradigm shift industries must not miss out on. It is the best time to implement IoT given the outburst of antennas, smart phones, tablets, and the emergence of 5G connectivity. 

Where can IoT be used? 

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IoT can be used in any industry which wants to collect data about how its business and production unfold, and then draw some conclusions based on that data: 

Improve and automate processes 

  • Detect issues before they occur 
  • Connect assets with each other so that they work seamlessly and faster
  • Design new products and improve the current ones  
  • Revamp the employee and user interaction with products 
  • Enforce data-driven decisions and sound measurement of outcomes 

IoT is already used in many scenarios and settings: 

Factories 

  • Monitor and optimize operations: time taken to complete a task or an assembly, time taken to deliver a product, bottlenecks in production    
  • Enforce standards and regulations in production: keep all parameter values in check and pause production automatically otherwise
  • Predict faulty components: plan maintenance activities, program smart meters      
  • Refactor production lines to avoid redundant steps, prevent human error, enforce scheduled coordination, and allot resources in a smart way        
  • Manage assets: from logistics and inventory to tracking and delivery 

Hotels and hospitality     

  • Connect the platforms in charge of booking and hotel management   
  • Connect room and building amenities to its digital counterpart, and monitor resource distribution, resource allocation, and general visitor traffic and interactions 

Transportation        

  • Manage fleets      
  • Manage traffic         
  • Manage fuel consumption      
  • Scale infrastructure 

Smart & secure homes        

  • Design energy-saving buildings       
  • Personalize resource consumption based on owner behavior or schedule 

Smart & secure cities        

  • Monitor traffic and redesign transport paths 
  • Monitor pollution and plan mitigation action based on the collected data        
  • Monitor crime 

Healthcare     

  • Monitor patients connected to medical devices that collect data ·        
  • Administer medication to patients automatically at regular intervals without human intervention    
  • Plan procedure automatically based on algorithms 

How can IoT help your business?

When devices are connected to each other and to the Internet, their functions and data have more potential, making life and business easier and richer. 

Enhance data insight

The data IoT technology collects and analyzes from device usage and user behavior helps businesses understand and measure what works and why it works. Data insight also reveals the processes which do not work or are in need of improvement, driving targeted and precise business actions. 

Insight resulting from the interaction of several touch points: 

  • Primes behavior and diminishes business guesswork 
  • Reveals the great potential of big data for business stability and predictability 
  • Dictates more relevant marketing and sales 
  • Reduces data waste as all data streams exchange information 

Enhanced productivity

IoT can show you how well your business performs, how qualitative your products are, and can help you build and adjust your workflows, procedures, and resource allocation.

By using the actual data collected from your production workspace, you can check development in real-time, and diagnose any issues very fast with little to no disruption. In retrospect, you have access to historical data, which helps you generate accurate statistics related to optimized: 

  • Scheduling   
  • Maintenance   
  • Production volumes   
  • Automation 
  • Product tracking and delivery 
  • Inventory management 
  • Performance management 

Enhanced customer service

Businesses have always sought ways to increase customer satisfaction and boost user experience, to make interaction as straightforward and friction-free as possible.

By having concrete data about how customers use the products, what they click, what sequences they use most often, what settings they prefer, businesses can create customized products based on feature layers, feature toggles, and new features that can ease interaction further: 

  • Reduced repetitive tasks 
  • Little to no context switching 
  • Easy payment, upgrade, or portability 
  • Targeted suggestions during search or when logging in 
  • Inbound marketing 

Cost savings

Having a clear picture of where your resources go and of how they are used can help you figure out how you can reduce costs: 

  • Expose duplicate infrastructure and reuse it 
  • Optimize consumption by automating grids and their payload: fuel, energy, raw materials, hardware 
  • Use cloud for reduced downtime and ease of data recoverability 
  • Implement the digital twin technology where the real-life set up and data are mimicked identically as a digital representation – tracing and predicting faults is easier, visibility of bottlenecks is enhanced, scheduled maintenance can be automated, and SMEs are better equipped to handle their daily chores 

New business models

Getting the next successful business model right is an art. When backed by data, the next business model or the next revenue stream emerges naturally. IoT gives businesses the customer data and production data to reach a decision in terms of: 

  • Investing in specific digitization areas (security or connectivity, for example) 
  • Moving to a subscription-based portfolio 
  • Consolidating offers for new customer segments 
  • Planning and designing products based on spin-offs 
  • Collaborating with other industries or sharing data sets 
  • Reaching out to new markets 

Remote working and connectivity

IoT enables full digital control at a distance. Employees are not locally bound 24/7, can work from any location of choice, and can be distributed across several geographical locations. IoT makes this enhanced connectivity possible due to the advent of 5G networks, cloud, and various technologies which support low latency, better data relay and recoverability, as well as converging touch-points. 

In conclusion

IoT is about connected devices which work together and are orchestrated without context switch. IoT lies at the crossroads of hardware and device management, software development, and data management. 

Also, if you are interested in knowing the future of IoT security, check out this video.

IoT can be implemented in any industry to boost: 

  • Remote connectivity 
  • Data processing and insight   
  • Productivity and revenue 
  • Prevention via digital twin representations 
  • Economical and smart usage of resources 

IoT uses sensors and data hubs to transfer and interpret data collected from and generated by devices. Analyzed correctly, the data offers insight into general behavioral patterns of an asset, the current state of systems, and the way users interact with an asset. Such information can make any business future-proof and in tune with market expectations.