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IoT has morphed into one of today’s most hyped expressions in the business landscape. According to a Gartner study, by 2020 there will be 20 billion devices connected to the internet and over 65% of enterprises (a 30% increase compared to last year’s statistics) will adopt IoT-based products. The variety of applications targeted for the Internet of Things is endless. Voice-enabled products such as Amazon’s Alexa leads the way to smart home adoption. By 2023, we should expect over 275 million systems to be installed in people’s homes, up from 28 million in 2018 (1,000% growth).

 

What are some of its most notable use cases?

Connected cars for smart traffic management and medical devices constantly linked to the changing needs of the patients are yet two more viable use cases for IoT deployment. What about IoT in the enterprise? Are there any connectivity benefits companies should know more about? In the lines below we will detail some of the advantages, as well as the tools readily available for implementing IoT to enhance asset utilization, streamline business processes, and improve overall collaboration.

Main advantages of IoT for enterprises

With billions of devices interconnected daily, industry pioneers are using the IoT to execute new ideas by bringing people and devices together. Although still at a nascent stage, enterprise IoT can empower business transformation. To determine whether or not the benefits are real, CEOs are advised to experiment with little projects in order to decipher the actual benefits lying at the core of a system that extends the power of the internet beyond conventional smartphones and computers.

In logistics, for example, the value of IoT is derived from devices that can control, sense and monitor functions to drive efficiency and improve response times without human interaction. The same thing goes for automating tasks using IoT devices to ensure more transparent inventory. Industries like retail demand a better way to manage and track stocks, assess purchases and product consumption rates to know when supply runs low while preventing stock build-up. By 2025, the potential impact could range from $410 million to $1.2 billion.

As far as the main advantages of IoT for enterprises, the following apply:


Better market insight

IoT-collected data can help companies gain a competitive advantage via sensors that gather valuable insights from users, including behaviors and preferences. With the collected information, FinTech service providers have increased chances of improving customer service, security and risk management. Furthermore, with smart wearable devices - such as smart watches, digital badges, smart glasses, and lanyards - they can also increase mobility, thus streamlining convenience. Inside the company, behavior tracking devices enables companies to improve productivity and efficiency among employees by monitoring work satisfaction and engagement levels.


Better payment solutions  

The IoT can revolutionize the way companies of all sizes and shapes process transactions to track and trace revenue streams, and get a better perspective of how to decrease costs within the enterprise to attain their goals, manage cash flows, and boost ROI. Software company Stripe, enables both businesses and individuals to make/receive payments via the Internet. Featuring a cloud-based infrastructure and various apps for fraud prevention and revenue management, Stripe provides services that expand beyond basic customer use. Recently, the company launched Stripe Terminal, a programmable point-of-sale service that leverages the IoT to help extend a company’s online presence into the physical world.


Enhanced asset utilization for increased productivity

Asset utilization has a direct contribution to the bottom line of an organization because it helps businesses confirm if their chosen equipment performs at peak availability, quality levels and performance. By having operators understand how the equipment performs, CEOs can anticipate how to drive overall efficiency. Asset management software solutions enable employees to easily access and update information. This allows companies to keep track of their assets via tags like QR codes, barcodes, NFC tags. By scanning tags, organizations can monitor physical items while at the same time updating their information-based database.

Finish startup Trackinno has implemented the IoT to develop a cloud service that helps organizations track assets easily and at the lowest costs. The tool can be used from any device or location for visualizing data and decision-making support, asset lifetime value with improved utilization and optimization of maintenance intervals, and more. Digital assistants are yet another way of leveraging the IoT within the enterprise to improve productivity at the workplace. AI-based Siri and Alexa now have the capacity to learn from users’ habits, and potentially help CEOs better organize daily schedules.


Smart lighting & heating for lowered energy costs

Connecting an entire office building to the internet is no longer a fantasy; thanks to the connectivity benefits of the IoT, it is becoming a reality. Enterprises are starting to acknowledge the advantages of having a solid digital connectivity infrastructure. Some of the benefits include employee satisfaction and engagement, but also better building security. Having a smart lighting and heating system, for example, can lower energy costs, minimizing overuse. Navigant Research estimates that the global IoT lighting market will experience an annual growth of 23.8%, from $651.1 million in 2017 to $4.5 billion in 2026.

The Edge, an office building in Amsterdam, has implemented an innovative lighting system based on “Power over Ethernet” technology, developed by Philips. With IoT at its core, the lighting system gets data and power via a single Ethernet connection. One of its main benefits is that it helps facility managers have an integrated view of energy use and occupancy patterns. A fundamental element of the project is that it allows employees to customize room temperatures and adjust lighting  with an app installed on their smartphone.


Streamlined business processes

The  purpose of IoT is to drive efficiency remotely by automating processes. According to Business Insider, companies are anticipated to spend $6 trillion of IoT-based solutions by 2021 due to the ability of the technology to lower operation costs and boost productivity, enabling organizations to expand and increase ROI. Within enterprises, IoT could help employees use their time and energy a lot smarter. Smart sensors can help determine which conference rooms are the most occupied, on which days of the week, and for how long.

In a big company with hundreds of employees, the information gathered can be used for better management and efficient scheduling. Former marketing manager at Simform, Parikshit Joshi, highlighted some of the greatest aspects of IoT for business, mentioning that: “For smart offices, we ourselves have used the IoT to detect the occupancy of meeting rooms and other common areas. This has helped us greatly improve work efficiency. And greater efficiency means a better bottom line”.

Conclusion

Increasingly more businesses across all industries are starting to see the benefits behind IoT solutions. From creating a comfortable work environment via smarter seating and remote control of lighting, all the way to using IoT beacons for precise inventory, there’s no doubt that the Internet of Things is here to stay. According to Cisco, machine to machine connectivity via IoT-based apps will amass for more than 50% of today’s 21.1 billion devices. By 2021, it will account for 5% of the world’s IP traffic.

IoT applications can generate incredible amounts of data, meaning that more companies will soon enough switch to processing their data in the cloud, rather than store information in-house. Cloud computing pioneers like Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite and Amazon Web Services feature a myriad of services meant to help enterprises accelerate IoT deployment and reap all the benefits mentioned above in the article.

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Bram Nawijn

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