Although it seems that the rise of the hype around the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) has been relatively recent, it has also been meteoric. Suddenly every marketing blast for the latest consumer products proclaims IoT capability—from a gas meter that allows you to monitor and shut off consumption remotely to Google’s Nest thermostat that claims it can learn your temperature preferences throughout the day. Naturally, the big tech press outlets like to turn to these buzzy attention-grabbing novelty items when they cover IoT and how it is shaping the rapidly changing landscape of consumer technology, but the Internet of Things and the interconnectivity of devices and people has just as many transformative possibilities for the enterprise as for the customer. In fact, a report from Business Insider declares that of the 23.3 billion IoT devices predicted to be connected to the Internet in some way by 2019, enterprise objects will account for 9.1 billion (40%) of that total. From RFID devices to sophisticated data management, IoT technology can help enterprises transform the way they collect, store and understand crucial information about their business and their customers. It’s clear that the IoT is not just for the customer. So what is an IoT Enterprise and how can connecting your business keep it successful and competitive?
The IoT Explained
Quite simply, the Internet of Things is an umbrella term for every device that works in some part with the help of an internet connection. From the obvious smart phone or tablet device to a home security system that you can monitor over the internet, any device with a computer processor onboard that functions as an isolated, singular web server is technically part of the IoT network. With the help of these devices and the web, the information they process can be monitored or controlled through the cloud; the data tracked and stored on the internet and integrated with every other IoT device within an organization.
In fact, the concept of an IoT enterprise has existed much longer than the current explosive trend. Many objects on your shop floor may already be part of the global network of ‘things’—temperature sensors on sensitive production machines or video monitoring for quality control that is sent remotely. However, as connectivity becomes a bigger factor in the day-to-day operations of every business, enterprises are working harder to gather all their data and processes together, track them and then streamline them to optimize their revenue streams. This turn towards more and more complex automation includes machines with IoT-capable light sensors, imaging, chemical measuring, temperature tracking and risk management. Maintenance and upgrades of a handheld device’s software can even happen remotely through the cloud. With the technology available becoming ever more sophisticated, what does the future of the IoT Enterprise look like?
An Interconnected IoT Enterprise
Beyond data tracking and process management, the industrial IoT can help users monitor equipment for service disruptions or any faults that may herald an oncoming breakdown—so that managers can provide maintenance before a machine stops running and halts your entire operation (losing you significant amounts of money in the process). You can also connect your machines with the software you use daily to run your business: CRM, ERP or your payroll and scheduling systems. Imagine the value of knowing exactly how efficient a machine is running when you need to give a predicted delivery date for a customer, or knowing the number of machines you need running and employees you need working to fulfill that demand. When it comes to the IoT enterprise, there is no such thing as too much data. Every snippet only magnifies in value when paired with related information to achieve an intricate and extensive model of your business processes. Once you have that knowledge, optimizing those processes for a more efficient enterprise will be easier than ever.
In short, an interconnected IoT structure can totally change both the way businesses operate internally and how they understand and interact with customers. Because more and more data can be collected and processed, all of your operations can be more transparent. In the end, both clients and employees will be happy.
The new wave of connectivity and the emerging IoT enterprise has come hand in hand with another emerging technology trend: big data. Naturally, the idea of devices and employees interconnected with each other in an enterprise will be dependent on all the information that these devices and processing and storing. The size of this kind of data is several orders of magnitude larger than what most enterprises are traditionally used to handling. This challenge has brought on the new technologies needed to manage and process the enormous amounts of business knowledge that an IoT enterprise generates. After all, there is simply no point in interconnecting your entire manufacturing plant if you cannot gather that data and wield it to understand how your processes work—and how they can work better. Big data is the kind of information that drives machine learning and predictive capability in your devices. By understanding exactly how your business has operated and fared in the past right down to the data set, these big data processors can amass the intelligence needed through pattern recognition to predict what’s next for your enterprise and how you can stay on top of it and manage it to drive revenue and cut down on costs.
In short, the IoT Enterprise of the future can remain more connected than ever to both to their customers and to the market they operate within. With the help of the big data generated and maintained through the web, enterprises can become more adaptable and engaged as they connect more and more of their processes to the ever-expanding network of devices. When it comes to enterprise intelligence and capability, there is truly no such thing as too much information. As the IoT trend gathers speed in the enterprise space, businesses that choose not to get involved will find themselves unable to remain competitive in a world where consumers desire extensive information about the products they are buying and enterprises are using big data to optimize their processes and drive revenue even higher.
To learn more about the interconnected enterprise and how you can start combining all of your business processes into a single, connected powerhouse, contact an expert at Datix today. We are passionate about the value of the connected enterprise and helping our clients realize the huge rewards of integration and streamlining their business processes.