|By Sam Ganga||
|September 21, 2015 01:00 PM EDT||
"10 Hot Internet of Things Startups." "5 Internet of Things Startups to Watch." "Top 8 IoT Startups of 2015." These are the actual titles of just a few of the many articles being written about IoT. It's a concept that generates a lot of excitement among business leaders and consumers alike, a paradigm shift that will impact every person, home, business and public infrastructure in the developed world over the next decade.
How might IoT impact your organization? What new revenue streams are waiting to be discovered? Read on for examples of how businesses are already applying the technologies that comprise the IoT to transform their organizations.
The IoT Transformation Begins
New chipset, sensor and communication technology (that is smaller, cheaper, more modular and energy-efficient) is enabling us to realize concepts we could only find in science fiction novels until now. As a result, IoT will touch on every part of life and society in the next couple of years. For example, you will be able to control the temperature in your apartment from your phone while on vacation in Bali or keep track of how many people walk into each of your store locations in Hong Kong, Cape Town and Milan from your mobile device in New York.
Cars, appliances and HVAC systems are becoming "smart," and public buildings and infrastructure are becoming connected. The workplace is changing everywhere with processes and tools being mobilized and near-ubiquitous connectivity. Even sports and some hobbies are being transformed by the use of wearables and smart devices. Soon, by leveraging the information gained from sensors, healthcare products will no longer be used to manage symptoms but will become an integral part of patient health through predictive data.
Let's take a look now at four industries that IoT will have a significant impact on.
In terms of IoT's affect on manufacturing, it could be considered the equivalent of another industrial revolution. Connected manufacturing plants have already started yielding impressive results through the use of IoT. Plants enabled with IoT technology - connected machinery and sensors - are able to go to market faster, reduce expenditure, ownership costs and risk management, improve workforce efficiency, asset use and optimization. By allowing plant managers to monitor these facilities and have a 24/7 global view of efficiency, industrial operations can be improved in real time by eliminating information gaps.
Municipalities stand to make significant gains by becoming more connected. IoT technology will help cities streamline services, save money and create new experiences for citizens - all by connecting their existing data and services. Data such as sensor use for traffic monitoring, video surveillance, physical access and other systems are already in place in many urban centers. The next step will be connecting all this data for analysis to make it incredibly valuable and leverage it for further use.
Cities will be equipped with data to help forecast future needs as they build high-performance infrastructure. An example of this in current use is the infrastructure for water storage within various cities in the United States, through high-performance green infrastructure developed by Geosyntec. By integrating a building's rainwater catchment system with software that leverages weather predictions from the Internet, they are able to know when to review water levels in the event of a predicted storm or drought.
IoT sensors made for use in the retail setting are called beacons. These devices can send information on the customers' location in-store, which can then be used to push tailored notifications for a personalized experience. Although there was a huge interest in beacons in 2014, they represent only one piece of the connected retail experience. The real connected experience will transform consumer habits regardless of their location. With wireless sensors and wearables, the retail experience and industry itself will undergo sufficient changes to alter the current retail experience forever.
Healthcare organizations will use IoT sensors and devices to transform patient care, both in-person and remote. Hospitalized patients who need their physiological stats constantly monitored by physicians will now be able to be supervised by non-invasive sensors. The data will be continuously fed to the cloud, where further analysis can take place before being shared with physicians for further review. This method not only improves patient care but also reduces overall costs. It will also transform remote monitoring of patients with chronic ailments.
Making the Dream a Reality
Businesses in every industry around the globe are exploring how to capitalize on the possibilities that IoT presents. Many are already introducing new products and services, driving critical processes, planning in real time and doing predictive analysis. IoT is enabling us to create systems that are smarter, more self-directed and quickly adaptable to changing conditions.
While it is human nature to resist change by stepping out of an established comfort zone, the biggest mistake you can make is to sit on the sidelines waiting for a competitor to figure out how to use IoT to transform their business. Instead, a best practice is to analyze your organization's wealth of data to extract the insights that lead to new business processes, customer experiences and revenue streams.
For a deeper dive into the challenges of IoT and how business leaders are dealing with them, download the white paper here.
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