The Internet of Things (IoT) leverages network connections to communicate between devices and systems, and it is ready to disrupt your business.
Enterprises are already deploying smart devices in may ways: Some IoT capabilities are designed to help organizations manage operations, while others are intended to improve customer-oriented products. In either case, security is a top concern. Companies that pay attention to the security of their IoT devices can get ahead of their competition and innovate based on real-world feedback.
Five Key IoT Trends
Here are five trends that you should understand and consider before deploying IoT devices.
1. Engagement Across the Enterprise
Connected devices are changing the way employees work together to get more done in less time. Communication enabled through traditional channels such as voice, email and even video conferencing are being supplemented by IoT devices that bring physical presence to a new level.
For example, a shoe company based in the U.S. might design its new lines using CAD software, then send its designs to an offshore facility where the manufacturer creates samples and ships them back for evaluation. This traditional method can take weeks or months before the design is finalized.
But now, shoe companies can use 3-D printers to print and perfect shoe designs in local offices. They then send the final design file directly to a duplicate 3-D printer in the manufacturer’s plant for review and production, reducing the time to market from months to days.
2. Business Intelligence
IoT devices generate large amounts of data, depending on the sensors they contain and how they are programmed. Companies collect the resulting data feeds and analyze them, often in real time, making operations aware of conditions so they can make adjustments to the equipment, examine usage patterns and schedule maintenance.
3. Connecting With Customers
Many customer-oriented appliances, such as thermostats, televisions and security cameras, already include IoT capabilities and deliver information to the manufacturers about usage and malfunctions. Progressive manufacturers make the data they collect from devices accessible to customers and implement alerts and insights to improve the user experience.
4. Extended IT
Devices such as smart electric meters installed at residences and businesses communicate with power companies to report usage, monitor anomalies and schedule maintenance as needed. Technicians use wireless connections from their tablets to perform updates and configure new installations without the need to access the meters physically, saving time and making the job safer.
5. Business Process Monitoring
Manufacturing equipment that shows operational status via local displays are being retrofitted with a variety of additional sensors. These sensors are connected to factory networks to deliver real-time performance information that is analyzed and used to schedule preventative maintenance, adjust production parameters and coordinate multiple pieces of equipment. Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, the basis of the IoT, is helping to drive down the overall costs of manufacturing.
Will the IoT Disrupt Your Business?
As the IoT expands in volume and scope, it will surely introduce increasingly complex vulnerabilities. Despite these new threats, however, the heightened connectivity can deliver important advantages to companies that deploy products with the right mix of sensors, data collection capabilities and attention to security issues.