The IoT is Here and It’s Ready to Increase Your Business Productivity
The Internet of Things (IoT) is here, all around you. Some talk about the IoT like it’s the future, like it’s a revolution waiting to happen. The truth is that engineers have already figured out how to make products “smart,” and the real challenge businesses face is understanding the opportunities provided by smart products.
Year over year, IoT technologies are becoming progressively smarter and more affordable. From TVs, to cars, to thermostats, and even refrigerators, more and more technologies are being connected to the internet and each other. (Alexa, please bookmark this blog. Oh, and add me as a subscriber, too.) Today, smart devices are not only able to gather data—they can analyze and create useful information out of that data, and be automated or remotely controlled using it. This data can be sent to its own unique administrative portal or to the devices and software systems you currently use to run your business. So, what does the Internet of Things mean for your business? The ability to gather valuable data and use it to make intelligent business decisions. When taking advantage of IoT technology in your workplace, you will be able to save money, streamline your operations, increase the value your customers and partners see in working with your organization, and ultimately drive the growth of your company.
Applying the Internet of Things to Your Workplace
IoT business technologies are being adopted at an exponential rate. According to Gartner, the IoT is expected to exceed 20.8 billion connected devices by 2020—that’s almost three times more than the entire world population! To start adopting IoT technology of your own, check with your suppliers and partners and see if they have IoT solutions that you can incorporate into your business. Manufacturing facilities, utility services, food service, healthcare, and retail are just a few of the ever-growing industries that have continued to integrate key technologies and applications of the internet of things with the goals of:
- Lowering operating costs.
- Increasing productivity.
- Developing new products or services.
- Expanding into new markets.
To reach these goals for your business, it’s crucial to start considering the future of connectivity and how the IoT can allow your business to accomplish more.
Let’s Talk About How You Can Get Started With the IoT
How you can leverage the IoT in your business may still seem ambiguous. I’m going to give you an example of a company that identified a problem with their operations and found a solution using IoT technologies. An ATM company came to Miles Technologies wanting to reduce the amount of service calls they received for their machines. The Miles team helped the company leverage sensors for their ATMs that would broadcast their status and alert the owners when the machines needed attention. Using the data interface with the device sensors, Miles developed a centralized administrative portal to easily monitor the status of all their machines, remotely deploy updates, and even re-boot them when needed. The IoT allows them to proactively perform remote upkeep to their machines, drastically reducing machine downtime and the overall amount of service calls. This has helped bolster customer satisfaction based on machine up-time and saved the company money through the reduced need for field technicians.
Like the ATM company, as you move forward, you should be asking yourself: What information do I need to make my business better? Once you know what you need, you can likely find the way to get that info using the IoT. Whether you want to track the usage of your equipment, remotely control your machines, or receive inventory alerts to optimize delivery routes, there is an IoT solution for just about every business.
Current Technologies and Applications of the Internet of Things
For businesses large and small in all industries, technical decision makers should look for ways in which data can be gathered and used for automation, remote control, or intelligent decision making. Of course, the way you can get the most from IoT technologies will be dependent on your unique business structure. Here are a few scenarios where these IoT technologies are currently being developed and applied for business use:
Power Generation/Consumption Monitoring
Power monitoring can be used in a number of ways: tracking power produced from solar panels, energy consumption of a house or business, and even gas usage from equipment and vehicles. This data can help determine overuse and help to cut back on your business’s energy costs.
Inventory Tracking and Route Optimization
IoT sensors can be used to measure inventory and send low stock warnings. Tracking inventory can help to optimize delivery routes and determine the amount of stock that needs to be delivered. Using this data, delivery routes can then be better planned, ultimately reducing labor, gas expenditure, and time spent on routes.
Remote Control and Diagnostics
Using machines with smart sensors can allow business owners to remotely monitor and diagnose issues, update systems, send simple commands to follow, and reboot machines. For business owners who want to optimize the uptime of their machines or manage multiple facilities from a single location, remote control and monitoring capabilities help to streamline operations and eliminate unnecessary travel.
Implementing Your First or Next IoT Solution
The applications mentioned above may or may not be directly relevant to your business, but they are only just the tip of what the IoT has to offer. When looking to improve your business, first, think about what you need, and second, about how to get it. If you aren’t looking at what data can tell you or how to improve your business’s processes, you can bet at least one of your competitors is. If you already have an idea for how more data, remote control, or automation could be helpful to your company, consulting technology professionals can help you formulate an implementation plan and find the best value for your IoT solution.
If you want to successfully implement your IoT solution, you’ll need to have the following:
- A clear vision for what you want to improve in your business. Understand the data needed to make the improvement and the change in business process.
- Software to turn raw data from IoT devices into useful information.
- Intuitive user portals to organize that data and manage devices easily. Your data should be presented in a clear and consolidated view so that you can optimize your business decisions.
- Data integration with your current management systems for ease of access and greater business intelligence capabilities.
Need an experienced software development team to help you get started with the Internet of Things? Miles Technologies specializes in software systems and integration solutions to help businesses do more with their technology and data.
Meet the Author
JP Lessard is the President of Business Software Solutions at Miles Technologies. With over 15 years of experience in software team management, business analysis, and solution design, JP is a strategic force in the management and planning for all software services, including software systems architecture, business process engineering, database design and management, mobile applications, systems integration, and more.