Consumers are becoming more familiar with Internet connected devices. From smart TVs to smart appliances and smart watches, consumers are finding ways to get more out of their ownership experience. A similar transformation is taking place in the world of business. Machine to machine communication is creating new ways to increase profits. This article summarizes how the Internet of Things is transforming business operations.
What is the Internet of Things About?
Consumers are becoming more familiar with Internet-connected devices. From smart TVs to smart appliances, watches, and even cars, consumers are adopting Internet-powered ways to get more out of their ownership experience. Some call this Web 3.0. A similar transformation is taking place in the world of business. Machine to machine communication is creating new ways to cut costs and increase profits. Some call this the Industrial Internet. If you have not been following the Internet of Things closely, this article summarizes how this transformational technology can help you professionally and personally.
At its core, it is about Internet-connected sensors or devices, from simple sensors or cameras to more advanced electronic systems such as smart home thermostats or smart cars. An integral part of these devices is having a processor and some way of connecting to the Internet, such as over Wi-Fi or another smart device’s Bluetooth connection. The “smart” part comes from the related software and processes that make the Internet-connection devices useful, such as analytics and automatic alerts.
The Internet of Things has the potential to cut business costs and increase revenues. Some of the top industries for the Internet of Things are asset-oriented enterprises such as automotive, industrial manufacturing, and durable consumer goods manufacturing. For example, manufactured products might communicate with service providers for maintenance needs and warranty claims.
As Andy Smith, general partner at Center Electric, recently said in Entrepreneur Magazine, “With this integration of devices and analytics, a business will know the best time to run a sale or promotion, add staff hours, improve deliveries or react quickly to external trends.”
“The Internet of Things is the convergence of the physical and virtual, of software and hardware, a platform for the empowerment of human beings,” according to Gurbinder Bali of Oracle in a recent Quest Q&A Magazine interview. “It will become as fundamental as electricity and empower huge competitive advantages. It is the next evolutionary step toward the promise of the smart enterprise.”
How Real is the Hype?
In 2008, the number of Internet-connected devices exceeded the number of people on Earth. By 2020, analysts project that 26 to 50 billion devices will connect and exchange data across the “Industrial Internet.”
The number of devices and their volume of data streams are growing exponentially. This growth is a key factor in recent news stories that the Internet as we now know it will run out of capacity by 2023.
The surge in smart device adoption is based on reductions in device and communications costs, advances in data storage and analytics, and new ways to exchange data – powered by numerous startups, seasoned Internet infrastructure and industrial technology firms, and a dynamic investment environment.
Industrial devices that can send and receive data have existed for years. The latest generation of devices run more powerful and commonly-used operating systems and languages such as Linux and Java. The more open nature of these technologies have lowered development, deployment, and upgrade costs, which have cut the cost of ownership.
Past efforts to exchange information from industrial sensors and devices commonly have relied upon point-to-point integrations and static logic controllers. Low cost, open gateways and wireless connections such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth make it easy now to connect devices with the Internet – easy and valuable.
Why Should I Care?
You may have seen a recent US television commercial for a fitness-monitoring band. The promise is that their Internet-connected device can help you strengthen your fitness and improve your health.
In industries with expensive assets such as life sciences and healthcare, expensive equipment undergoes preventive maintenance. More than 90% of the time, equipment is working properly. However, most failures occur outside of routine maintenance. That downtime increases costs and may reduce revenue. The Internet of Things promises to send alerts when a failure is imminent, cutting downtime.
Food and beverage companies typically lose about 10% of their inventory due to temperature and late-delay problems. Smart devices could raise alerts before inventories are lost, cutting wastage losses and increasing profits.
In sum, Internet-connected smart devices can help you do valuable new things and cut costs – both personally and professionally.
Editors Note: We would like your input and feedback / This is the first of a series of articles on the Internet of Things and how is can affect all of our lives. It is not intended to be all encompassing but hopefully you might learn something and it may make you think.
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