IoT technology connects devices, things and software, shares information and enables communication, and gives the opportunity for action and interaction through automation and machine learning.
There are two types of IoT technology:
- CIoT (Consumer Internet of Things) refers to convenience for customers
- IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) is more system-focused for industries to improve efficiency, security, and output of operations for increased Return on Investment.
In this article, we’ll discuss what makes IoT technology essential for any business, how companies are using it today, the benefits to organisations and the smartest approach to implementing IoT initiatives.
Why IoT is critical for any business
In a McKinsey survey of 300 businesses with “mature” IoT implementers (those companies who have moved beyond their initial IoT pilot projects), approximately one out of six reported an aggregate cost and revenue impact of at least 15%. And yet even those who were termed “IoT laggards” by McKinsey, reported at worst less than 5% aggregate revenue and cost improvement.
But there are more reasons why IoT will become increasingly critical for any business to survive in the near future:
- Improved efficiency: IoT provides streamlined processes and gets more done faster, with less human involvement (or error).
- Deep understanding of customers through big data analytics and machine learning to enable operators to provide a good customer experience in order to retain loyalty.
- Simplified inventory tracking and management due to machine to machine interaction.
- Cloud computing and IoT applications allow for effective remote working, for employees to share data, and IoT platforms which enable organisations to manage remote workers effectively.
- IoT systems will significantly shorten the buying process, and this is key for enhanced customer experience.
- As consumers get used to IoT technology, they’ll start wanting services they didn’t require before, increasing opportunities for new offerings.
How companies use IoT today
IoT requires 5G to get into the full swing of things, but companies are already using IoT today to transform business:
- IoT provides meaningful insights into customer behaviour which help organisations to develop more effective marketing strategies and improve the customer experience.
- Operational expenditure and downtime is usually a benefit of the insights that IoT data brings.
- IoT allows companies to simplify and automate processes so they are more efficient, and helps make the workforce more productive.
- IoT is being used to create new business models.
Best approach to implementing IoT
Before a business considers implementing IoT, it is important to understand how it will tie into achieving the organisation’s goals to ensure that IoT will improve the business not only to pay for itself as in investment, but also to make existing services and products efficient, to enhance existing products and services and create new opportunities.
What IoT needs to function
- Cloud computing for anywhere-anytime accessibility.
- Security due to the exchange of confidential and sensitive information.
- Smart machines are the starting point to connect things.
- Asset management platforms.
- Big Data analytics for meaningful information.
- High-speed internet connectivity.
Steps for implementation of IoT technology
First, understand what you want to accomplish by using IoT technology; i.e. the problem you want to solve.
We highly recommend getting expert advice during this critical step, so that you know your options and how much it is likely to cost.
Here is how IoT can help solve business problems:
- Preventive maintenance
- Automatic refilling
- Resource micromanagement
- Environmental monitoring
- Enhanced control and security
#2: Hardware & tools
The hardware and tools required to achieve your objective need to be listed in order to perform the following functionality:
Sensor data is about something, and this data must be sent somewhere over the internet via hardware to the network that is used for IoT. The type of hardware you’ll need depends on your objectives.
Select the tools you’ll need to achieve the objective. Examples include drones, thermostats, voice controllers, IP cameras.
Be aware of how hardware and tools connect to each other as well as their interoperability. You may be able to modify existing equipment, or you may need to replace hardware.
The devices (or sensors) need to be low energy devices so that they are able to remain operable for long periods without having to replace energy sources.
#3: IoT platform
An IoT platform is the technology used to control and centralise connected devices and the IoT network, send commands and gather data. The platform can either be custom made, or developed by a specialised supplier like Adapt IT｜Telecoms.
Examples of IoT platforms that Adapt IT｜Telecoms develop:
The benefits of using ready-made platforms are convenience, ease of use, and they allow organisations to get started a lot quicker.
#4: Gather experts
Before the final implementation of IoT, it is smart to get input from relevant experts, such as:
- Software engineer
- Electronic engineer
- Automation engineer
- Security officer
- Data scientist
#5: Analyse the data
Once IoT technology has been implemented, you’ll need to find out how it’s doing, and this will require gathering useful data for analysis.
We suggest storing the data and using it for optimising processes.
Instead of using a person to analyse the real-time data, we recommend using AI (Artificial Intelligence) for analysis and predictions. Our technology has been built with AI for machine learning.
Due to the nature of IoT, it is critical that data is kept secure through IoT security.
Up to this point, IoT has so far been successful in making consumer’s lives easier and better in smart homes, and now is the time for workplaces to get the most out of it too.