The term IoT has been showing up quite often after the advent of Industry 4.0: IoT at home, IoT at businesses, when talking about smart homes, to cities to nations and in many instances where we talk about recent technological advancements. Amidst all this discussion you might be thinking ‘What does IoT mean to my business?’ or ‘How does IoT mitigate my business activities’, The answer lies within this article. But if you are in haste to know, ‘IoT system’s support to your business is endless’. Keep reading to understand why.
What is IoT?
There is no better way to explain the Internet of Things (IoT) than calling it the ‘interconnection of everything’. This concept addresses how things- it may be devices, software, people, processes- are connected to one big mesh through the internet. IoT is commonly described as the ‘central nervous system’ of an organisation because of its great capability to connect anything to everything to gather data in real-time. Extant literature explains that the number of interconnected devices increments gradually every year.
All wholly processes of the ecosystems of a business or a house can be magnified and viewed microscopically because of this technology. It assists in making smart decisions with or without human intervention by using hi-tech devices to gather intel. IoT soothes all activities in your business, along with environmental, financial and technical factors efficiently. End-to-end IoT technologies facilitate three main aspects of Industry 4.0, which are:
- Smart Industries – syncing machinery in manufacturing plants, supply chains, utility management, power regulatory mechanisms resulting in the sustainable development of your factories.
- Smart Homes – interconnected day to day internet- allowing appliances to control environments at home like automatic Air conditioners and light systems.
- Smart Enterprises – a smart integrated ecosystem where people, data and machines co-work under a virtual dome to meet corporate goals.
When IoT is applied for corporate purposes such as handling, controlling and retrieving data in businesses in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, aerospace, military, science, hospitality etc., it is referred to Industrial IoT or ‘IIoT
Introducing ‘Co-economy’ enabled by IoT
In Scotland, three companies joined hand in hand to manage disaster via IoT technology, by collaboratively coming up with a collective solution. These three companies were:
- Bronze Labs
- And Leonardo
The amalgamation of their expertise along with the cooperation of the Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Water
, they succeeded in creating exclusively local IoT solutions, which is hyperactive during times of disaster. The ambulances, fire extinguishers police and volunteer networks are all interconnected through their solution, and Glasgow city is 24/7 resilient to uncertain disasters now. Not any of these companies along would have succeeded in engineering this solution by themselves. It is the co-economy that they share that enables this.
Hence, the environment fostered by IoT to your business is known as co-economy because of its amazing co-working abilities. In other words, it means people- inbound or outbound- partnering with your company to target bigger customer pools via the internet. It demands better versions of all things in your business, may it be support, performance, innovation, marketing etc. It is a technological value proposition that integrates businesses, systems and global networks while having the customers at the centre. It provides room for your corporation to learn more, profit more by building healthy relationships with people from all over the world while overriding the benefits you achieve as an innovative solo corporation.
But what allows a business to enable a co-economy via IoT? This tool is labelled as an IoT Platform. In other words, it’s a tool to manage IoT systems for your business. As IoT systems have four components, namely, hardware, software, network and interface, and the medium that merges these four components to be a system is via IoT platforms. There are five types of IoT platforms, they are:
- Device Management Platforms
Just as the name denotes these platforms keeps updated information about the statuses of devices that they have interconnected. The security updates and connection statuses of the devices are regularly checked. For example, they keep a keen eye on your firmware, maintain security and report abnormalities etc. This platform is ideal if you use IoT to perform routine tasks.
- Cloud Platforms
This is a scalable unified platform that allows users with an infrastructure required to create a central location for all of your backend processes and data. This platform has amazing abilities to grow with your business, no matter how your business is small or big.
- Application Enablement Platforms
Application enablement platforms are ready-to-use software that has all facilities that should be inhabited in a platform. For example; they come with hardware, software, IoT systems, and everything else related to having a fully functioning IoT platform. It’s a ready-made pack that could be used by anyone with extra support in developing, adopting, configuring etc.
- Advanced Analytics Platforms
This is a highly data-driven software. It harvests big data, equips sophisticated technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and statistical modelling. It focuses more on data ingestion than performing tasks.
- Connectivity Platforms
Connectivity platforms focus on syncing the central elements of the IoT system. This integration would allow the system to be online at all times. Since streamline data flow is necessary for IoT to work efficiently, this platform prepares the environment for static online presences. Therefore, continuous internet connectivity is mandatory to allow the setting up of IoT.
- Developer engagement platforms
This solution allows your developer community to be at a hand’s length to be easily communicated when needed. You can communicate, question and clarify doubts during technological adoption. This solution enables the developers to engage or intervene when required, which will ultimately result in faster user adoption and collaboration in the office at large.
IoT Solutions for your business
Hence IoT is an expanding infrastructure of your internet-enabling work environments, the advantages portrayed by this technology are limitless. If you are a manager, supervisor or an entrepreneur of a goal-oriented business, IoT is simply a must-equip technological tool to escape inefficient manual management system limitations. Here are some solutions that are unlocked by IoT systems.
- Recruit a Digital Assistant
IoT allows a Smart Assistant to partially take charge of your management to lessen the burden you have on your shoulders. Some reputable smart assistants are Alexa, Siri and Cortana. You can ask your smart assistant to keep track of your schedule, remind upcoming meetings, check for stock updates, flights, send text messages, contact people, provide turn-by-turn directions and more.
- Running out of paper?
Printers play a boundless role in most businesses. IoT allows many companies to equip network printing printers to instruct printers to get printouts remotely. But it also enables the printer to keep track of the papers in their trays and even the ink. Smart printers can alert Support HR when they run out of paper or ink. They can also check the inventories for spare ink and paper on hand and send automated messages to suppliers to provide stock if required, with no human intervention at all. You will never run out of paper or ink in your company again! The same technology can be used for coffee machines, water dispensers, sanitiser machines and more.
- Smart Thermostats
The work environments of your offices and factories can be regulated automatically using smart thermostats. If needed, they can n]be controlled by voice by using a smart assistant. For example, this technology is of most importance when regulating temperature zones of factories that produce chemicals, inflammables or perishable goods.
- Smart Illumination!
IoT allows in-house proximity or motion sensors to enable automatic lighting in your office spaces, lounges, factories and more. It saves electricity costs massively. The brightness of lights can also be set to intensify or lessen to balance throughout the day. No human intervention would be required to adjust, turn on or off the lights anymore. It minimises eye strains, discomfort and provides hospitable workspaces in your business. This is a durable solution to cut down many maintenance costs.
- Tagging Equipment
There are instances where you have provided portable company assets to your employees, such as tablets, phones, laptops, projectors. You can use IoT to track this equipment and update on who possesses the equipment currently, where it is and for how long they used it, in real-time. IoT tagging also avoids misplacing your valuable assets; it saves time and upgrades the security to a whole new level.
- Order fulfilment and IoT tracking solution
Order management software can be housed efficiently if your business is a smart firm equipped with IoT. It allows you to keep a ‘Real-Time Track’ of all orders of your business. It can inhabit submodules that can keep track of inventory data, location data of your equipment, highly capable maintenance tracking systems and many others. It will make sure whether your products are delivered to your clients on time with good quality.
Is your management adaptable to this technological upgrade?
The answer is ‘A Big Yes’ but it requires an effort too. The latest technological trends such as the solutions shown above can be equipped into your business via trusted technology providers in your country. They will help you develop made-to-order technologies and consult you on how to adapt to this new environment efficiently. Usually, this transitioning from manual work systems to co-economy platforms initiates with educating your business, because fixating in old-fashioned methods would make it challenging for your HR to adapt to IoT. Later on, gradually everyone will adapt for the new method until it naturalises within the business.
Transitional Obstacles that your business might face:
- Lack of tech-savvy staff to understand technological business activities
- Post-purchase engagement and service will replace customer need identification
- Complex research and analysis to understand the best technologies
- Installation costs can be an obstacle to some business
Using Development Engagement Platforms (DEP) is one of the easiest ways to help with this adaptation.
IoT does not let you miss out the opportunities that your business can equip to grow with the integration of ecosystems outside of your firm. It is evidently one of the most important tech advancements in the 21st century. When your business fits perfectly in the co-economic grid of your industry you will be able to connect with best suppliers, recruit the skilful HR, speed the productivity rates of our business and meet potential clientele that can boost your business’s performance extravagantly. You can also take part in socially beneficial projects and walk hand in hand with other companies that share common goals.
Upgrade your business with IoT, to enter into innovation and a world full of opportunities.