IoT: Beyond the Buzz
IoT: Beyond the Buzz
Take a look at how and why IoT is transforming businesses, current trends, and some advice when implementing IoT solutions and analytics.
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We are always transforming business. We are manufacturing products, trying to reduce costs from the supplier's perspective, managing inventory, and doing sales forecasting. And on the customer side, we are focused on improving customer experience.
But now products have become smarter. With the advent of IoT and sensors, there is a new form of data that we can use and enable transformation.
How Does IoT Accelerate Digital Transformation?
This newer form of data lies closer to your assets and customers. And this data creates an opportunity for more optimization relative to what you are already able to achieve with analytics. You are still doing the same analytics. You are still doing inventory optimization, forecasting, and marketing analytics. But there is this new form of data that helps you refine KPIs to a newer level.
In short, we are marrying this new form of data to traditional business analytics to enhance business KPIs further.
What’s Enabling IoT?
If we read Wikipedia, we know that people started talking about the concept of smart devices in the year 1982. The first time a device was connected to the Internet was somewhere in 1986-1989.
But sensor technology only entered the Gartner hype cycle in the year 2011. It took 25 years to join this hype cycle. IoT is a confluence of a lot of technologies. There has been a lot of evolution in these technologies, and now we can actually think about implementing IoT. Today, we can bring in both structured and unstructured data to a centralized data store. We also have the processing power. It has given us the ability to run analytics at different levels of data. It could even run at the level where data is born. And that’s where we get questions about cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity is the most prominent concern of IoT, and we have the technologies to arrest or control security breaches. Connectivity, data warehousing, processing power, and cybersecurity are technology enablers in the IoT space. On the other hand, sensor technology and machine learning give us the ability to solve newer problems.
The Significance of Sensor Technology
With sensor technology, we are one step closer to our assets and customers. We can get the data from the equipment and understand what’s going on in real time. It gives you more granular information about device parameters. For example, with facial recognition capabilities, video sensors can help retailers provide a personalized experience to its customers while reducing the shopping time. Every car comes with an OBD port, making it easier to get data from vehicles. Insurance companies can use this data to fine-tune the premiums and policies for its customers.
OPC has transformed the manufacturing industry. It delivers a standard interface designed to meet the needs of automation, enabling applications from different vendors to exchange information.
What Happens When AI Meets IoT?
The most widespread form of IoT today is remote monitoring. Again, if you are in the autonomous space, you are already doing something disruptive. Today, we are all doing visualizations, traditional analytics, machine learning, and self-learning. Most prominently, we are in a phase where we are continuously using traditional analytics and machine learning capabilities to monitor the evolution of business models.
Why Should Companies Invest in IoT?
With the evolution of business models, AI, and sensor technology, three things are going to happen:
- There will be newer sources of data
- There will be more efficient ways to solve problems
- There will be solutions to issues that we were never able to solve before
For these three reasons, companies will come into the IoT space.
Are You Ready to Adopt IoT?
IoT brings in a lot of challenges:
- Legacy systems and processes
- Lack of skills
There are thought leaders in this space who have adopted new business models that would probably aid their profitability and survival. However, today, everyone would have to think about the problems that they have traditionally tried to solve and understand if IoT could help them address it in a better way. In the past, we could have waited and watched. But today, we need to start thinking about small POCs in areas where we feel it could benefit our company.
What Are the Capabilities Needed for Adopting IoT?
If we have to embrace IoT, we need to have frameworks and processes that enable innovation in a company. To drive innovation, we need to put together a system that can harness different types of data. We need collaborations with different people working on similar projects. We need capabilities to integrate legacy systems, bring in newer forms of data, and enable the use of analytics algorithms. We need the capabilities to introduce self-learning and scale analytics further. To adapt to the changing business models, we need platforms like GE Predix. We need platforms to enable innovation.
Now, it’s up to us to evaluate and see why we want to go for a platform and identify the platform that works best for us!
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