As a business leader, you know that staying connected to your data is important, but it’s not always clear how to choose smart technology that facilitates your business goals. Anyone can pick an interesting business device with ample wow factor, but to leverage the true power of the Internet of Things, or IoT, you need to understand the role of connected tech within a much larger framework.
The Current State of the Internet of Things
Highly connected devices are nothing new. Smart home technology has gone from a rare luxury to a fact of life for many.
Consumers can purchase a range of fitness trackers that help them stay in shape by sending their workout and activity data to their personalized apps. Automakers are increasingly offering vehicles that connect with people’s mobile devices via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth hotspots, and some federal proposals have even considered making vehicle-to-vehicle communication mandatory for light cars. Many security systems come equipped with smart home technology that lets you arm your alarm and monitor camera feeds from your mobile device.
These devices are all unique, but they share the basic underlying goal of making it easier for consumers to put data to good use. Given the overwhelming success of such tech, it’s only natural that enterprises are also adopting connected hardware for business purposes.
How Companies Benefit From Connectivity
Modern firms rely on information technology to survive, but connected devices are helping them use IT more intelligently. Whether they want to edge out their rivals or just increase the efficiency of their internal processes, organizations in diverse fields are turning to connected tech to improve their command of complex datasets.
Cleaning up Commercial Laundry Facilities
In September 2016, MIT Sloan Management Review published an illuminating study. Researchers examined management practices in commercial laundry facilities to gain insights into how this $5 billion industry benefits from IoT.
In one example, a Californian commercial laundry management company aggregated the usage data from connected machines to get a bead on when they’d need maintenance before repairs became a necessity. In addition to offering users multiple pricing options, connected washing machines made it easier to discover ways to adjust pricing in a fashion that optimized profitability and availability.
In another assessment by the Harvard Business Review researchers determined that interconnected machines could contribute to operational savings. Hoteliers that compared data like water consumption and cycle times to established standards were able to monitor performance remotely at the facility or device level.
Driving Manageable Fleet Operations
Companies that depend on vehicles have long struggled to keep up with usage data. Connectivity has the potential to help them stay ahead of breakdowns and control operating expenses.
One company in Lanarkshire, Scotland, offers a solution called VINIE. This product is designed to work in conjunction with a proprietary fuel-management system to assess odometer readings so that bus operators can claim important rebates. It also tracks fuel economy to help fleet operators identify potential deficiencies like tank leaks, and by checking vehicle IDs at refueling stations, it promises to cut back on fuel theft and minimize refilling delays.
Where Could the Internet of Things Take Your Company?
From smart home technology to even more capable business devices, connected hardware is making a huge difference in the way we live and work. Some estimates even predict that by 2020, the number of active intelligent appliances, tools and equipment will surpass 50 billion. Although many observers agree that these technologies may require some rebranding before they hit their stride with consumers, the playing field is wide open for businesses.
If your business senses the need to advance to the next level, it could be time to partner with a startup studio. This type of partnership lowers the risk to your organization, yet still affords the time, resources and expertise to develop an innovative startup alongside your existing business with zero threat to your brand.
How will future firms use IoT devices to save money, refine mission-critical processes and provide increased value to stakeholders? Will innovative startups who develop smart versions to existing items disrupt large corporations enough to put them out of business? Time will tell how the Internet of Things reshapes our world.