Internet of Things (IoT) is Good for Business
Here is a defintion of IoT: a network of intelligent devices and physical objects that communicate and exchange data via a wireless network. There are IoT applications in business that are already altering the way that we work, shaping operations and the way that business and consumer data is collected and exchanged. In industry, IoT signifies more than just connecting devices and systems – IoT in itself is creating new opportunities for products and services previously deemed impossible. A Forbes Insights survey of 700 executives showed that 60% of enterprises are using IoT to expand or transform new business lines. The study also stated that 63% of enterprises are already bringing new or updated services to customers through their IoT business applications.
Examples of how IoT applications in business:
1) Insights into customers
Visual analytics (video surveillance and visual sensors provide data studied through artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms) give retailers usable information about customer reactions to merchandise and sales. It can show patterns of behavior in shoppers; this can translate into better store design and displays, more appropriate inventory, and sales applications.
2) Improved customer service
IoT is improving customer experiences through enhanced customer service. Data that IoT provides about product and services that customers use or engage with give a fuller view of consumer experiences and satisfaction levels. The use of real-time data makes it possible for companies to respond to customer requests or concerns in a more efficient manner.
3) Automation of shipping services
IoT allows for maximum supply chain visibility with sensors on vehicles and packaging. Sensors detecting changes in temperature, light, speed, amongst other attributes, combined with data are useful in mitigating risks in product theft, shipping delays, and disruptions. Alerts allow shipping crews to be in place at the right time, with the right equipment, increases shipping efficiency. Also, if something sensitive to temperature, like food, is shipped the sensors will notify shippers if the temperature of the product is nearing the outer range limitations embedded in the barcode, saving both spoilage and money.
4) Precision data
For any company to survive in the market and stay competitive data is required. Information is knowledge, and knowledge is business power. It's not enough to have data though; business owners need to understand what the data is telling them. IoT technologies collect vast amounts of data, which is then processed, utilizing artificial intelligence to inform businesses of what they can do to win more customers and more business. IoT allows for the real-time tracking of whether marketing and advertising strategies are working for the target demographic, or if a product launch was successful. The data that IoT provides gives companies precise qualitative data at a level never before available. With vast amounts of specific data, businesses can make intelligent product recommendations and customize searches to attract more consumers. Product recommendations are more accurate, giving shoppers a more efficient, targeted shopping experience.
5) Inventory tracking and management
IoT-enabled remote scanners scan product barcodes, helping businesses track the inventory of items from manufacturing to warehouse distribution to deliveries. IoT can also automate inventory management on premises freeing the inventory counts from irregularities caused by human errors and freeing the humans from the mundane task of counting inventory.
6) Business Applications of IoT in Manufacturing
The manufacturing industry is an early adopter of IoT technologies. The manufacturing industry was already data-dense through its supply chain, so IoT adoption was a logical step. Because IoT is already well-established in manufacturing it is easy to illustrate the benefits to business by looking at IoT applications in this industry. IoT makes end-to-end supply chain management simple, quick and efficient and increases product speed to market.
Sensors are attached to necessary imported resources allowing manufacturers to know in real-time when they will be receiving required materials. Port times and border crossings can be tracked, and potential delays due to weather, traffic or political unrest can be flagged. Networked manufacturing plants, or smart plants, have sensors on the machinery and conveyor belts used in the manufacturing process. The sensors send data to the manufacturer about the health of the machine and production specifics to pre-emptively identify production issues. Barcodes are attached to each product before they leave the belt.
The barcodes contain vital information such as product codes, manufacturer details, and special instructions. The barcodes are used by the manufacturers to see where the product was distributed, track the product's movement and maintain inventory counts. This knowledge is vital to flagging low inventory, so the manufacturer is cued to make more, and when there is overstock, so the manufacturer knows to slow the process. The product leaves distribution, traveling to various retailers, its journey monitored to convey accurate and specific delivery times to expected recipients. The retailers can use the same barcodes to access manufacturer information and special instructions.
In addition, the manufacturing plants temperature control and lights can be maintained with little effort during peak manufacturing times, by season, and during plant shut down to ensure the manufactured product and machinery are all kept in optimal health and resource consumption is reduced. All of this data, from end-to-end, is collected and analyzed via machine learning algorithms and translated back to the manufacturer as useable, easily consumed information. With this information, manufacturers can make educated decisions towards a better business model and see increased profits. Increases to manufacturer customer and retail customer satisfaction levels come from stable product availability and specific and accurate shipping ETA.
IoT isn't just about smart homes or smart appliances; IoT also translates into smart offices, smart warehouses, and smart transportation. The potential is endless in the application of IoT in business.The Internet of Things is creating value for companies and driving business transformation by merging data and intelligence to bring innovation to business conventions. Through the collection and analysis of the mass data now available from the global network of connected sensors and objects, leaders in business can now gain insight into their customers’ needs and habits in ways never before possible.