12 Jul The Internet of Things and its Growing Role in Business
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the concept of connecting different devices with the internet and/or with each other through wired or wireless networks. For example, your car may view the calendar on your phone and give you the best directions to your appointment. Or, your printer may know it’s low on ink and automatically order more. As more and more devices enable access to the internet, the potential for connections and interactions is seemingly endless, both for personal and professional use. In fact, Gartner suggests that more than half of new business processes and systems will incorporate IoT in some way by the year 2020, amounting to somewhere near 50 billion devices. More aggressively, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) predicts 100 billion connected devices by 2021.
Based on these estimates, IoT is expected to be a core driver of business productivity and growth. But, while ever-increasing connectivity can provide you with large amounts of real-time data, its value will be negligible without a sound strategy to support the use of the data you collect.
Examples and Opportunities
When used effectively, IoT can be of benefit to organizations across industries to increase efficiencies, improve processes, and instantaneously improve customer service. For example, a laundry delivery service in Kansas City was struggling to manage its fleet of vans. IoT enabled the company to identify and collect key data that could be used to make its processes more efficient. The company implemented a device called the On-Board Diagnostic II (OBD II), which transmits location, mileage, and driver behavior to its headquarters in real time. This allows the company to not only track and coach its drivers, but also to improve customer service by keeping customers informed of delivery status. UPS uses a similar technology in its trucks, with similar benefits to fleet management.
IoT has tremendous opportunities in the healthcare industry. Remote monitoring, smart censors, and medical device integration allow real-time information to flow from patient to doctor, creating new insights into patient health and potentially saving lives. For example, integrating data from patient devices, like pacemakers, into their electronic medical records gives doctors the ability to notice issues earlier and develop better treatment strategies.
While the Internet of Things continues to expand, there are some significant concerns and challenges to consider, the most pressing of which is security. You must secure and encrypt all customer data. In a world where hacking is a constant threat, protecting customer information is critical to protect both customer privacy and your reputation. Another potential obstacle is cost. You’ll need the right technology in place to collect and securely store the data, as well as trained data specialists to regularly analyze and define timely actions to realize the desired benefits.
While IoT has the potential to provide you with a vast amount of data, it requires the appropriate analytics to drive intelligent decision making. The intersection between data and analytics is where most companies will falter and waste resources. Navigate can help you develop a strategy for using the Internet of Things to make data-driven decisions that will foster valuable improvements for your business. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.