The Internet of Things is the latest buzzword in the tech community, promising advances in technology including Wi-Fi-enabled toothbrushes, driverless cars and smart thermostat technology. While it doesn’t seem like these common, everyday items have a place in the enterprise space, leading industry analysts predict a surge in adoption amongst organisations. Telsyte analyst Rodney Gedda, for example, forecasts machine-to-machine mobile technology will grow from 1.3 million connections in 2013 to more than 3 million in 2017.
The Internet of Things Explained
The Internet of Things will link inanimate objects together by making them Internet-connected, smartphone-accessible and responsive. This technology has the potential to impact organisations of all shapes and sizes, especially industrial organisations such as mining, engineering and transportation organisations.
Business Impact of the Internet of Things
While the Internet of Things is still a relatively new phenomenon in the modern business environment, its potential to transform operations is significant. As more businesses realise the cost savings and efficiency gains made possible by the Internet of Things, organisations can expect to reap several benefits, including:
- Automate Processes: The Internet of Things enables increased automation of recurring processes. For example, organisations can use the Internet of Things to power driverless cars, send detailed process instructions to workers onsite or increase energy efficiency by monitoring usage and turning off utilities during non-peak times.
- Reduce Costs: With access to accurate equipment usage statistics, the Internet of Things can dramatically reduce operational costs and identify efficiency improvements. This is especially valuable in mining, engineering and utility industries because it can improve profitability by lowering operational costs.
- Prevent Equipment Failures and Downtime: With more accurate usage monitoring, organisations will be able to identify glitches or issues with equipment before it’s too late. The Internet of Things can enable organisations to routinely check the health and expected lifetime of a variety of equipment types and receive alerts when equipment failure is imminent. This reduces instances of failure and eliminates downtime.
- Access to Analytics and Data: Smart items with Internet access can collect and provide valuable analytics to help organisations uncover trends and cost savings opportunities. This will enable senior leadership and CIOs to make better decisions grounded in data and forecast demand more accurately.
As the Internet of Things is still in its early stages, expect the cost of devices and connectivity to decline gradually as more use cases for this technology emerge in the enterprise space. As these barriers to entry decline, more organisations will implement Internet of Things technology to improve processes and business efficiency.
Considerations When Implementing the Internet of Things
A greater level of connectivity between various devices and objects certainly presents some level of risk. Organisations must take adequate security precautions to ensure sensitive information and data is never compromised.
For industrial businesses, where the Internet of Things will be more visible, the CIO and head of the engineering or operational equipment will need to work closely together to ensure assets are properly managed. Without a calculated, strategic approach to the Internet of Things, organisations will fail to realise value from this technology.