The Internet of Things (IoT) is a powerful interconnected web that brings us into the age of automation, enabling physical objects and devices to talk and even act. From controlling home appliances remotely with just your phone to monitoring vehicle performance miles away, IoT has revolutionised how we interact with our environment.
IoT technology provides real-time data, increasing efficiency and convenience, and enables new and innovative applications and services. IoT can be leveraged in the business world to drive innovation, improve operations, and increase profitability.
This article answers the question “what is IoT?” with examples of how it’s currently being used, so you can get ideas to incorporate it into your business for greater success. Whether you’re a small business owner or even a multinational corporation, this guide will provide the information you need to understand how IoT may benefit your company and how to implement it.
First things first — who invented the internet of things? Is it even something that was invented?
Way before today’s connected world of smart homes and self-driving cars, the idea for an interconnected future began with something seemingly mundane: a cola machine. In 1982 at Carnegie Mellon University, computer scientists developed technology that enabled them to check via the internet if any Coke was left in the vending machine—so they’d know whether it was worth making a trip from their desks! This breakthrough paved the way for what we now call The Internet of Things.
The initial concept of the Internet of Things was first introduced by Kevin Ashton, a British technology pioneer, in 1999. However, the development of IoT technology can be attributed to the contributions of many individuals and organisations over several decades. The evolution of IoT was a result of advancements in multiple fields, including computer science, communication technology, and sensor technology. The combination of these fields allowed for the creation of interconnected devices which could communicate with each other and the internet, leading to the development of the IoT.
It is, therefore, not accurate to say that one person or organisation “invented” IoT but rather that it is the result of collective efforts and innovations in various fields.
The Internet of Things is important quite simply because this modern tech provides various benefits that make everything easier and more convenient.
First off, it provides improved efficiency by allowing for the automation of various tasks and processes. Especially useful is the fact that IoT devices collect and transmit data in real-time, enabling organisations to make informed decisions based on accurate and up-to-date information.
IoT technology also gives you the ability to create new and innovative applications and services that were not previously possible. For instance, IoT-enabled cameras and sensors can be used to monitor public spaces and improve public safety.
Another way IoT is vital in the modern era is its contributions to improving the quality of life of individuals by enabling better healthcare, smarter cities, and more sustainable environments.
Overall, IoT technology makes our lives more convenient by enabling us to remotely control and monitor various aspects of our homes, work environment, and even large-scale communities.
Many smart home devices leverage the Internet of Things to provide enhanced convenience, security, and control over the home environment. Some examples include:
As the name suggests, you wear these devices on your body, and IoT technology helps provide various features and functions. Some examples of such wearables include:
Here are some examples of smart healthcare devices using IoT technology:
When you use IoT technology in industrial settings, it’s referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Here are some examples of these devices:
Some examples of smart agricultural applications of the Internet of Things include:
You can check out how John Deere is using machine learning in agriculture for another effective use of modern technology.
Smart cities use IoT to improve the quality of life for their citizens and make cities more sustainable and efficient. Check out these applications of IoT technology in smart city devices:
Retail Internet of Things refers to the use of IoT technology in retail settings to improve the shopping experience and increase efficiency. Here are some examples:
Aside from the above examples of leveraging IoT technology, companies can incorporate the Internet of Things into their business models to generate additional revenue streams in several ways.
By leveraging the data collected from connected devices, companies can develop comprehensive insights into customer behaviour and preferences. This data could be used to create customised marketing campaigns that target specific demographics more effectively, develop personalised product recommendations tailored to an individual’s needs and interests, and analyse the collected data to produce insightful reports on current trends in consumer behaviour, allowing them to stay ahead of market changes and adapt their strategies accordingly.
Companies can also offer access to their data to third parties, such as researchers or analysts, who may require vast amounts of reliable information for various research projects or development initiatives. There are many such ways businesses can incorporate IoT technology and monetise their data depending on their industry and objectives.
Businesses can incorporate IoT technology into a platform-based model to create an interconnected, interoperable system that allows them to generate more revenue from related transactions. By connecting the devices, businesses can collect and analyse data, which can then be used to develop services on their platform and create personalised experiences for users. This will allow them to better understand user behaviour and preferences while providing better customer service.
Furthermore, businesses can leverage IoT technology’s power to automate processes to reduce costs and improve efficiency. For example, by using connected sensors, companies can monitor the performance of their machines or detect any potential issues ahead of time. They can also use predictive analytics to anticipate customer needs and provide timely solutions.
Businesses can incorporate IoT technology into asset-sharing models in various ways. By using sensors to track the location and usage of the machines, you can effectively manage your shared equipment and its use. This data will result in improved maintenance schedules, extend the lifespan of machines, reduce wear and tear, increase the efficiency and productivity of equipment, and save money on unexpected repairs.
Plus, by monitoring engine data in real-time with IoT technology, businesses can minimise breakdowns that could otherwise be costly and time-consuming. In addition to improved operational management practices for shared assets, organisations can also benefit from increased customer satisfaction levels due to improved access to needed resources without long-term investments or heavy maintenance costs.
Furthermore, IoT technology within asset-sharing models at a macro level allows for more efficient utilisation of expensive equipment across industries worldwide. The combination of these effects means businesses no longer need to commit to large investments towards this type of equipment – they can rent it out as needed while also receiving payments from other companies sharing it simultaneously.
By implementing IoT technology into asset-sharing models, businesses gain access to more cost-effective resources while helping create a sustainable future based on resource optimisation and collaboration between different organisations.
Businesses can use IoT technology to create subscription-based services that provide a range of features for customers, such as monitoring and controlling various aspects of homes, from lighting and temperature to security and surveillance. Access to data collected by the sensors in these devices will give customers real-time insights into their home environment. With the help of cloud computing technology, this data can be sent directly to a customer’s smartphone or computer so they can better understand their homes and make changes accordingly.
Businesses can also use IoT devices like smart speakers and thermostats to create automated systems that respond intelligently to customer commands. This would allow customers to control their homes with just a few spoken words or through an app on their phone. The possibilities with subscription-based services incorporating IoT technology are virtually endless as businesses can combine sensors, automation, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and voice recognition technologies into unique solutions tailored to customer needs.
Businesses are increasingly incorporating IoT technology into product-as-a-service models to create more efficient and cost-effective solutions. This type of model helps provide customers with the latest technological products without having to purchase them outright.
IoT devices enable companies to gain insights into how customers interact with their products, helping them understand customer preferences and optimise services. For example, a company offering vehicle fleets can track usage in real-time and adjust its subscription plans accordingly to better meet customer needs.
Businesses can incorporate IoT technology to identify upsell opportunities by collecting and analysing data from connected devices. For example, a company that sells home appliances can use IoT-enabled devices to monitor usage patterns, maintenance requirements, and identify opportunities for consumers to upgrade their appliances. This information can be used to offer targeted recommendations for upgrades or complementary products, such as extended warranties or smart home accessories, to improve the customer experience and increase revenue.
By leveraging the data and insights IoT technology provides, businesses can create new and improved sales strategies, leading to greater customer satisfaction and increased revenue.
Businesses can incorporate IoT technology to achieve cost savings in several ways. First, by connecting devices and systems, businesses can automate processes and decrease manual labour requirements, resulting in improved efficiency and lower labour costs. For example, a manufacturer can use IoT sensors to monitor production line performance, identify areas for improvement and reduce downtime.
Second, IoT technology can help businesses monitor and optimise resource usages, such as energy and water, leading to reduced utility costs.
Third, IoT technology can be used for predictive maintenance, enabling businesses to identify and fix equipment problems before they lead to costly breakdowns, reducing maintenance and repair expenses.
By utilising IoT technology, businesses can gain real-time visibility into their operations, enabling them to make data-driven decisions that drive cost savings and improve profitability. The key is to understand the unique needs and challenges of your business and to find the right IoT solutions to meet those needs.
It can seem overwhelming to get your business started with IoT technology, but you can take these steps to make the process easier:
By following these steps, you can get started with IoT in a structured and effective way and realise the benefits of this technology for your business.
The Internet of Things offers many benefits but also introduces new security threats that organisations need to be aware of. Here are a few common IoT security threats and how to avoid them:
Man-in-the-middle attacks occur when a hacker intercepts communication between two devices, allowing them to steal data or inject malware into the communication stream. To prevent these attacks, use encryption to secure communication between devices and validate and authenticate all communication.
IoT devices rely on networks to communicate. If these networks are not secured, they can be vulnerable to attacks. Make sure to use secure protocols, such as SSL/TLS, to encrypt communication and implement firewalls and access controls to prevent unauthorised access to your network.
An IoT botnet is typically a network of IoT devices infected with malicious code to launch a cyber attack. These attacks can be used for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which overwhelm the target’s network traffic or to steal confidential information.
Businesses must stay up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity measures and take steps to protect against this threat. This includes adopting strong authentication protocols, ensuring all IoT devices are regularly updated and patched and confirming they meet security standards and protocols before they are connected to a company’s network. Segmenting the network so that only authorised personnel can access the IoT devices can also help reduce the risk of compromise should one become infected.
Insider threats, such as employees or contractors with access to your network and devices, can pose a significant risk to your organisation. To protect against insider threats, implement access controls and security policies, and monitor for suspicious activity.
Many IoT devices are poorly secured, with weak passwords and vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. To protect the devices, ensure your customers are fully aware of the need to use strong passwords, update firmware regularly, and install security patches as soon as they become available.
Organisations must adopt a comprehensive and proactive approach to IoT security to deal with these security threats. This includes regularly reviewing and updating security policies, conducting regular security audits, and investing in secure IoT solutions. By taking these steps, organisations can protect their devices and data and ensure that their IoT implementation is secure and reliable.
In conclusion, the Internet of Things is a rapidly growing technology that offers numerous opportunities for businesses to improve their operations and drive growth. Whether it is for cost savings, upsell opportunities, or improved customer experiences, IoT technology can help businesses gain valuable insights and automate processes, leading to improved efficiency and increased profitability.
However, implementing IoT solutions can be complex and requires careful planning and execution. Businesses must consider the privacy and security implications of connecting devices and handling large amounts of data. By working with a trusted provider or credible tech consultant, businesses can develop a customised IoT strategy that aligns with their goals and delivers tangible benefits.
As IoT continues to evolve and expand, companies that embrace this business technology will be well-positioned to avoid disruption, have a competitive edge, and thrive in the digital age!
Embrace the possibilities of IoT technology! Our unique combo of business-savvy and technical know-how can provide tailored solutions for any problems you might have. Schedule a friendly discovery chat to find out if and how IoT devices could be just what your company needs to reach new heights.
February 02, 2023