Seven ways the Internet of Things is changing our work
The internet of things is influencing aspects as diverse as data management, the creation of new business models, and access to connections in remote places
Companies are in the midst of a transformation towards an increasingly intelligent model, where productivity prevails but also respect for the environment and business culture. Now the basic instrument is a computer with Internet access, but little by little other objects connected to the Internet are being introduced that help increases the productivity of companies.
The internet of things is the tipping point that is influencing aspects as diverse as data management, the creation of new business models and access to the connection in remote places. The experts recall that “it is important to understand that connectivity no longer has to do only with computers and printers, but with a complex ecosystem capable of converting objects into intelligent services”. We take a look at seven ways the Internet of Things is changing business.
Seven ways the Internet of Things is changing business.
1. Connect machines
The basic characteristic that defines the internet of things is that it connects objects to the internet and this makes it possible for them to also communicate with each other. Its goal is to connect and communicate thousands of devices to get the most out of its applications.
The internet of things allows efficient management of communication, both between machines and between people, which leads to a great reduction in costs for companies. Half of the companies consulted in the Vodafone IoT Barometer who are already using this technology have seen their costs drop by 20%. And this trend has only just begun.
In the next three years, according to the technology consultancy Gartner, we will have about 21 billion devices connected to the Internet, and companies are willing to invest some 250 billion dollars a year in this technology, according to the Boston Consulting Group. “The result is a radical change in the way of working, optimizing operations and reaching a new stage of efficiency”, explains Alberto Martínez, general manager of Lantek.
2. Better/more data
This hyper connection results in a large data traffic. The information shared by the machines must be stored, processed and analyzed with powerful programs that will be capable of executing actions in an automated way or simply helping professionals make important decisions for their businesses.
“Companies will have access to a huge amount of information that will be generated by all these connected devices,” Mary J. Cronin, a professor at Boston College , tells HBR. “That information needs to be analyzed to better understand customer trends and behavior. Businesses need to use IoT data as part of their planning to stay competitive and offer innovative new products and services.”
3. Improves company productivity (thanks, again, to data)
The information collected by smart devices allows, among other things, to obtain better results in less time. The company can keep track of all the elements that it has connected to the internet. When every tool and device is connected to a centralized system, it’s much easier to manage.
This facilitates the collection of information and the subsequent identification of patterns in activity, errors and ways to correct them. It allows, for example, preventive maintenance of machines. Network-connected sensors can monitor equipment performance and predict failures before they occur, saving time, money and potential damage. As more devices become connected, manual data collection will fall by the wayside, giving humans more time to focus on other ways to be productive.
4. Facilitates connections in hard-to-reach places
A recent application for this technology is the Internet connection between devices that are in areas of poor coverage, underground or in places that are difficult to access. This narrow band of the internet of things —NarrowBand-IoT— has been launched by Vodafone in collaboration with Huawei and its use is specifically for companies. It is indicated for sectors such as the distribution of water, electricity, gas or agriculture.
The plan is that before March 31, Vodafone has more than 1,000 network stations updated with NB-IoT technology. Each station will be able to connect more than 100,000 devices to the internet. As summarized by the company, “it is the first step towards true 5G.”
5. Cheaper and greener technology
One of the main objectives of the offices of the future is to increase the efficiency of buildings out of respect for the environment but, above all, because it means savings on bills at the end of the month.
Thanks to the Internet of Things, companies can save energy by controlling the work environment in the office. That is, taming it. These tools are already on the market or under development and are used, for example, for buildings to switch to a night mode outside of business hours. This is possible by making the lighting and heating control system smart and connecting it to the internet so that it can share information. This reduces costs and maximizes energy use.
6. Improve employee safety
Smart solutions can increase the physical security of a building. For example, these systems identify common walkways that require special attention for employee safety so they can strategically plan routes to prevent accidents. Smart lighting platforms can reduce break-ins by turning lights on when sensors detect motion and performing tedious and time-consuming system tests for humans if they must be done on a regular basis.
The internet of things, combined with cloud services, can improve security: one of the strengths of cloud computing providers It is the degree of protection with which they store the information. They invest large amounts of money and provide levels of security that are far superior to what a company is normally capable of providing on its own.
But this coin has another side. Everything that is connected to the internet is susceptible to being attacked by hackers. So, it is necessary to proactively dedicate efforts to protect connected objects. One way to do this is to combine the right security technology with employee training and make sure companies are aware of the importance of protecting critical infrastructure and private information.
7. Allows the creation of new business models
The adoption of Internet of Things networks is causing large companies to transform the way they do business. IoT communications allow companies to make the most of big data, a clear example is insurance based on driver behavior and new shared vehicle models.
It enables organizations to quickly add new capabilities to products, file patents, and gain brand strength. More specifically, in industry, manufacturing companies can make decisions to improve the supply line, through preventive maintenance operations. In addition, it helps reduce faulty production and downtime in the manufacturing chain.
The evolution of the business model in retail also makes a difference. The internet of things improves the customer experience and helps build new sales channels. It facilitates the connection of the physical world with the virtual one, allowing interaction with consumers both in the establishment and in the online world.
As an example, this technology has changed the business of Quality Espresso coffee machines. With their coffee machines connected to the cloud, they obtain data on coffee consumption in establishments and breakdowns. This allows you to maximize revenue and control maintenance costs.