Gartner predicts that by 2020, there will be billions of data-driven devices connected to the internet. This growth is not new, and the internet has already changed how we live and work. The Internet of Things (IoT) is an ecosystem built on connected devices or ‘things’.Basically, it refers to the physical devices around the world that are connected to the internet and combines sensing and signalling technologies to collect, process, and transmit data to cloud platforms. The purpose is to use this data for analysis, insight, and action – enabling better business and greater productivity. Smartphones, laptops, wearable devices, tablets, even cars, homes, fridges, security systems and automated garden sprinklers are connected to the Internet of Things. Anything that senses information and uses it to help perform decided action. According to Gartner, there were more than 8.4billion connected ‘things’ in 2017, and that this number will expand dramatically in 2020.
IoT is now a part of life, enabling the real-time communication of data without human intervention. The result is a merging of digital and physical worlds – and a more productive, modern workplace for businesses across the globe.
The Internet of Things and You
IoT began with the idea of adding sensors and intelligence to basic objects to collect data. For example, using a watch to monitor heart rate and daily steps, or having lights turn on when they detect movement at night. There are a range of ways IoT can be implemented for digital transformation in the workplace, with the core driver being that it provides greater insight and actionability across products and internal systems. This is done across two distinct systems; industry-specific and general use. Industry-specific IoT devices are often used in healthcare, transport, and production, while general devices can be used across a multitude of sectors for security, management, and data comprehension. Sensors can be added to hardware to view its performance and wear, allowing businesses to replace and check it more accurately. IoT can be used to monitor worker location, safety, and wellbeing in remote areas, such as on-site or while travelling for business. IoT can even be used to improve supply chain efficiency. By introducing comprehensive, real-time data collection and analysis, the Internet of Things makes workplaces significantly more responsive and capable. If your business has keyless entry, it has the Internet of Things. If your smartphone can help you manage the environment of your office network, you have the Internet of Things. If you have sensors in your production line that help you view productivity and efficiency, then you have the Internet of Things.
Knowing how to use what you have
Once you understand where IoT exists within your business, you can begin to use it more effectively. Business leaders should be looking to implement the Internet of Things across their organisation and can do so with great efficiency. In fact, IoT solutions are not a one-size-fits-all solution; and this is a good thing. It means that solutions can be tailored to suit the current, ongoing, and future needs of a company as they strive for success in a digitally driven market. This may mean connecting more devices and ensuring better control over how they are used within the workplace. Companies can use IoT to improve their cyber and physical security. They can utilise smart devices to create data repositories that see and predict patterns that enable better business decisions. And, companies can scale cloud platforms to allow data streams to be read and analysed in real time. This can also provide machine learning opportunities to forecast and predict the consequences of data, allowing for better insight and better business decisions.