The Internet of Things (IoT) has been given a bad name by those who think that the technology is limited to expensive white goods in fancy kitchens. In truth, there are lots of useful applications in commercial and industrial settings, as you’ll see below.
The problem with IoT is not so much in the misunderstandings of its use but rather in the lack of strategy around dealing with the data that IoT systems create.
Let’s get to the point: there’s no value in putting a sensor on everything, generating loads of data but then not having a plan for what to do with that information. Data for data’s sake makes no business sense. It’s the equivalent of trying to drink straight from a firehose.
The smart approach is to think bigger about what sort of data IoT could gather and then to plan for how best to analyse that data so as to gain insight for making your business more competitive.
There are plenty of good examples of IoT being used for commercial and industrial applications, such as:
- Black boxes in vehicles: measuring position and speed allows fleet and delivery companies to monitor how many hours their drivers have been on the go for each day, as well as optimising delivery routes to reduce waiting times and fuel bills.
- Temperature sensors in refrigeration units: measuring cooling in coffee shops gives management early warnings that could potentially save a lot of money by avoiding unnecessary lost stock.
- Valve control in remote mining equipment: oil and gas operations often involve pipelines that are difficult, costly or unsafe to monitor direct, such as those that carry gas across deserts. With IoT, pipeline valves can be remotely monitored and controlled. Find out more about our IoT work in this field by reading our mining case study (link to https://345.technology/case-studies/mining-distributed-high-scale-iot-service/)
- Flow monitoring for water distribution: water companies can place pressure and flow monitors across their network to monitor distribution throughout cities, helping them to plan maintenance that avoids disruption to residents and local businesses.
The value of IoT comes from having a strategy for crunching down the data so that you can glean insight for your business.
For us, that strategy is founded on using machine learning and data analytics to help our customers answer pressing questions that affect the running of their business, such as “how can we predict where water leaks will occur?” or “how can we use less fuel in our vehicles?”
Which businesses benefit most from IoT?
IoT best suits businesses that have industrial and commercial applications for controlling and in these areas:
- machinery, especially large-scale industrial plant or machines in remote locations.
- environments, such as measuring temperature, light, humidity and chemical compositions.
- positions, such as those of vehicles and freight.
- buildings, such as in social housing where there needs to be group management of residential boilers, lifts, etc.
- inputs, such as raw materials in a factory or water and nutrients in a farm.
If you work in any of the above industries, IoT could be especially valuable to you – but only if you have a strategy for dealing with all of the data you gather.
When the data for such IoT activities is analysed properly, businesses optimise their processes and benefit from predictive analytics. An example of this is predictive maintenance – anticipating potential problems before they occur, thereby reducing the need for emergency repairs and averting complaints from customers. These are all routes to a smooth-running, profitable business. And that’s IoT brings to the party when it’s done right.
At 345, we partner with IoT companies who make sensing devices, while we handle the data those devices generate, via traditional statistical analytics or more modern machine learning and AI.
We work with those partners to provide our customers an end-to-end solution that marries leading detection equipment with cloud-based data analytics.
Getting IoT to work for you
IoT has the potential to add huge value to your business – but only if you know what to do with the data you gather.
To find out what’s possible with IoT, sign up for one of our FREE 2-hour IoT workshops. We’ll meet remotely via Microsoft Teams to help you identify which business applications are best suited for IoT and what the right kind of data analytics could do for you.