The term, Internet of Things (IoT) has been lingering over almost every industry for many years now. This topic of conversation has shifted from what once was a buzzword into what is now, without a doubt, a reality. A plethora of new and exciting IoT devices and business applications are emerging at an exponential rate each day. Although this may be the case, very few businesses understand how they can benefit from the Internet of Things.
The lack of enthusiasm to delve into the connected world may be caused by a number of factors. Some business owners have concerns around the security of IoT, and some are simply set in their ways. But we found that the most common reason for not giving IoT a second look is the lack of education. If you do a quick search for “examples of IoT” you’ll find the same example across the board, the connected coffee scenario.
The connected coffee example simply explains how your morning alarm or mobile phone can trigger your coffee machine. Although it’s a satisfying gimmick to wake up to a steaming cup of coffee, it won’t cause any business owner to invest their time and money into this growing technology. Admittedly we’re guilty of using this example too, but decision makers deserve to understand the business benefits of utilising IoT. That’s why we’ve taken the time to collate some of the main advantages for companies around the world.
IoT and Automation
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of connected… well, ‘things’. These ‘things’ (devices) communicate with each other using machine to machine communication (M2M). Information is traversed between devices so that processes can be automated, without the need for human intervention. By reducing the number of people involved in a business process, several advantages arise, including improved accuracy and up-time.
IoT and Accuracy
For many businesses minimising errors is a main priority, and whether we like it or not people make mistakes. Human error is something that is often overlooked or discounted when refining processes. By connecting machines and allowing them to control themselves automatically, fewer members of staff are needed to complete certain tasks.
Increase up-time with the IoT
Another advantage of automating your business processes using IoT is an increase in up-time. But what do we mean by this?
In this instance, up-time is the amount of time your business is open or running for. As we all know, your staff don’t work around the clock, they come into work at a specific time and leave at another. This means that your business is only open for a certain number of hours per day (unless your staff’s shifts overlap). Machines on the other hand aren’t restricted by time. Automating your business processes via the Internet of Things will allow them to run 24/7.
Although there are a lot of ethical arguments that arise when it comes to automation of business (due to the ‘loss’ of jobs), there needn’t be. We aren’t suggesting you make your entire workforce redundant and replace them with robot workers. Human jobs will definitely remain a necessity as machines need to be programmed and maintained.
In traditional businesses engineers are often employed to fix faulty machinery and devices if something goes wrong. Unfortunately, this usually involves a lot of testing to find the faulty component. A lot of time is wasted during this process and your business is paying for that loss of efficiency.
When a process is automated your own network of IoT devices will notify your engineers of exactly where and what the problem is. This way the problem can be identified and fixed quickly, reducing the amount of down time you would have previously experienced.
IoT Analysis and Monitoring
The beauty of the Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t necessarily the improved performance of business processes. In a modern-day business, analytics and logistics are becoming more and more important as technology develops. Understanding why a problem has occurred or identifying areas of improvement is getting much easier because of this.
A great example of how IoT can be used to monitor business processes is within the fleet management industry. By equipping each vehicle within a fleet with a GPS Tracker and an M2M SIM card, each vehicle can be located and monitored in real-time.
Almost any process can be monitored with the help of IoT as long as you have the right sensors and equipment. The same goes for remotely accessing devices such as CCTV and digital signage.