Today, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become an integral part of our everyday lives, enabling businesses and organisations to deliver better and more efficient services. Indeed, IoT technology is used everywhere, from our energy meters and smart speakers to healthcare devices and aerospace engines. In this post, we look at some of the important benefits it can bring to enterprises.
What is the Internet of Things?
The term Internet of Things is used to describe devices, other than computers, which are connected across the internet. These devices work automatically, sending and receiving data to a central server over a single network and, potentially on a global scale. This allows enterprises to gather data from those devices, monitor them and where required, control them or carry out other essential tasks. For example, the settings of an IoT-enabled jet engine can be changed mid-flight to prevent engine failure.
To successfully make use of IoT, enterprises will need to ensure that data can be transferred automatically and be analysed, and that automated responses can be put into place when triggered. To do this, technologies such as big data analysis, AI, automation and artificial Intelligence are required, and these will rely on cloud infrastructure, together with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 5G to operate successfully.
With these things in place, there are many benefits that can be achieved. Here we look at what they are.
IoT enables many tasks to be automated. The device tells the server that something needs to be done and the response happens automatically with minimal human input. If an IoT coffee machine runs out of pods, communication is sent straight to dispatch, and the pods arrive the next day. The customer doesn’t have to contact the company, and no one is needed to take the customer’s order. In this way, IoT enables employees to work on more important projects and can even reduce the number of employees needed, cutting overall costs.
More efficient operations
The automated control over connected devices that the IoT brings can significantly increase operational efficiency. Today, this can be seen across a wide range of sectors. In transport, for example, it enables fleets to be tracked and monitored in a way that reduces delivery times and fuel costs, while alerting drivers and maintenance staff to issues with the vehicle itself. If oil levels are getting low, the information is passed on, if one route is busy, the vehicles can be rerouted.
Improved resource management
IoT-enabled intelligent power systems can help businesses save substantial amounts on their energy bills. IoT sensors in LED lighting can tell centralised systems to turn off lights in empty spaces or dim bulbs when natural daylight is brighter. At the same time, temperature sensors can be used to open and close windows or adjust heating controls. As result, utility bills can be minimised while ensuring that lighting and heating are always at optimum levels.
IoT can also reduce downtime. In manufacturing, for example, it is used to monitor the health of machinery, enabling businesses to detect and resolve issues before production lines are brought to a halt, potentially saving huge amounts as a result.
Improved safety and compliance
IoT can help with workplace safety by alerting companies about potential issues and by carrying out automated testing and maintenance. IoT sensors can constantly monitor all manner of measurements and report them in real-time, including things like temperature, pressure, energy flow, gas levels and so forth. From nuclear power stations and oil rigs to hospitals and in-flight jet engines, they can make automated adjustments where necessary to ensure procedures can continue safely.
IoT can also make compliance easier and less of a burden. Sensors in modern emergency LED lighting units, for instance, now carry out self-testing. So instead of maintenance teams spending hours manually testing every light, they simply need to check their systems. At the same time, they are alerted to a fault immediately, rather than having to wait for a test.
Better services for customers
An increasing number of products sold to consumers are now IoT-enabled. From cars and fridges to smart speakers and printers, they provide better services for customers and help create new revenue streams for businesses. IoT-enabled cars send back all kinds of information to manufacturers, enabling them to learn more about how the vehicles are used and how to improve them in the future. It also enables them to send owners personalised recommendations for their vehicles based on the data they receive. Companies like HP, meanwhile, collect page printing and ink measurement data from their printers, enabling them to offer an ink cartridge subscription service. Customers are now issued with a new ink cartridge before the old one runs out and pay a fee based on the number of pages they print each month.
There is a multitude of similar services being offered by other organisations, all making life simpler for customers and offering opportunities to develop new services and create better customer experiences.
From cutting costs and increasing productivity to improving safety and developing new services, the IoT has enormous potential to help enterprises and organisations. To begin making use of IoT, however, the right infrastructure and tools need to be in place, and this starts with the cloud.
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