As you’re well aware, the Internet of Things is growing and we’re seeing incredible expansion in terms of business applications. But what are the specific benefits of connected devices in business organizations?
What Connected Devices Mean for Your Business
“The Internet of Things (IoT) sits at the intersection of sensors, networks, design, business models, and a wide range of industries,” Postscapes explains. “At its simplest, the IoT is the idea that wireless communication and digital intelligence can be embedded into everything around us — clothing, vehicles, buildings, flowerbeds, even the ground beneath our feet. Underlying this transformative concept are complex and interwoven layers of physical, digital and human infrastructure that will allow billions of devices to collect, transmit and receive data through the Internet.”
Currently, the total number of connected devices is estimated to stand at somewhere north of 22.9 billion. By 2020, that figure will scale to more than 50.1 billion devices. So it stands to reason that, over the next four or five years, your business will be greatly impacted by connected devices and the Internet of Things.
The question is, how exactly will you benefit?
The Benefits of Connected Devices
1. More Efficient Processes
From a top-down perspective, the primary benefit of connected devices is more efficient processes. When the power of individual technologies and devices are pooled together, organizations suddenly have the ability to streamline processes. This saves time, reduces costs, and increases the likelihood that companies are able to meet their goals in the most efficient ways possible.
The primary driving factor behind increased efficiency is access to real-time data from sensors. These sensors mitigate the need for human intervention and automate many processes that used to be totally manual.
One example of this concept in action involves the use of sensors in an aircraft’s engine. Sensors placed in the appropriate locations can automatically send information to the airline’s service team, which quickly identifies needs without requiring unnecessary, exploratory searches.
2. Smarter Decision Making
The goal for every business is to eliminate waste and maximize resources. But in order to do this, you need access to the right data. Thankfully, there’s been an explosion of innovation in the area of consumer insights. This is leading to better decision making in many forward thinking organizations.
Take SAP Digital Consumer Insight as an example. With this technology, customers are able to unlock mobile data — including hourly foot traffic, demographics and home locations of consumers in a specified area — for more powerful consumer insights. It uses consumer location data to improve things like proximity marketing, advertising and location planning — something that would be virtually impossible without the assistance of connected devices.
3. More Autonomy Than Ever Before
“Monitoring, control, and optimization capabilities combine to allow smart, connected products to achieve a previously unattainable level of autonomy,” explains Michael Porter in the Harvard Business Review. “At the simplest level is autonomous product operation like that of the iRobot Roomba, a vacuum cleaner that uses sensors and software to scan and clean floors in rooms with different layouts.”
In a business context, autonomy looks like companies using advanced algorithms to eliminate waste that saves millions of dollars per year. Just check out this example of how a surfactant maker in the U.S. was able to implement a new software algorithm to control its heating and cooling control loop. As a result, the company reduced its total need for steam by five percent.
As businesses enjoy more autonomy, there’s less risk associated with faulty execution. This is good news both for the business and the consumer.
Connected Devices Forge a Stronger Future
They say that there’s power in numbers, and this concept certainly holds true when it comes to connected devices. While you should be strategic in how you add devices and systems to your business, there’s much to be gained from leveraging the Internet of Things in the coming years. In a business climate that’s largely uncertain, this much is true.
Connected Devices Photo via Shutterstock