by Marco Tomko, GOTO Conferences
In the last few years we have seen a massive surge in both business and enterprise applications adopting IoT systems in a bid to help streamline processes, increase efficiency and improve effectiveness.
With the rise of smart office buildings and internet-connected smart cities, the effect of IoT on a business’s bottom line is left questioned, including whether its impact is meaningful enough to be worth the hassle of adopting this new trend, and whether it is at all beneficial for a company.
Enterprise IoT solutions can be seen across countless industries, such as healthcare, where it enables doctors to receive their patients’ live data, saving both parties the need to travel for important results. In retail, it allows purchases to be made and delivered to a customer’s home at the press of a single button. In manufacturing, it can facilitate the production flow in factories.
GOTO conferences have had experts, pioneers and revolutionaries speaking at our events in Chicago, Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen, keeping attendees at the forefront of technology with their keynotes, sessions and masterclasses.
At GOTO Berlin 2017, Michael Fait, lead consultant at ThoughtWorks, shared a 360-degree overview of IoT in enterprise solutions, starting with a look at the 1990s, which saw the introduction of watch that could take the pulse of the wearer. The user was then able to plug the watch into a desktop, download the information recorded and throw it into a graph.
The watch evolved to the point where the user could connect it to a web or mobile app, removing the tedious stage of connecting it to a desktop: all the information was uploaded in real-time directly to an app.
Finally, today’s technology advancements have seen this concept evolve from a simple instrument to an analytics tool more in line with a training assistant, recording and suggesting training schedules, diet plans and more, all based on data pulled from the watch.
We’ve seen desire shift from wanting a simple recording instrument to a tool that can help achieve a goal with aided guidance. A person today purchases a fitness watch not to simply measure their pulse but rather to complete a goal such as being able to run a longer distance – made possible by plans created by the smart watch from constantly evolving live data.
Although this is just an example of an IoT device in a practical context, this fitness watch shows that the core benefit of IoT in enterprise is the ability to obtain data, and how that data can then be leveraged to develop solutions in line with a company’s key goals for success.
This example also highlights how companies should focus on the larger goal of what they are trying to achieve in order to get the most benefit out of IoT systems attached to their business.
Should the watch company’s original goal have been to simply measure the heart rate of an individual, their journey would have been cut short. Rather, the idea that users want to achieve a goal – in this case, running further – with the addition of an IoT solution and ecosystem, can help a company think beyond the one-dimensional idea of, for example, just measuring heart rate alone.
Another example of a highly effective and intuitive IoT solution provided by Fait is the “dash button” by Amazon. This product consists of a simple button that is set up to push information through to Amazon to order a product with the click of a single physical button.
The customer sets the button up online with a delivery address and billing details, and then sets the button to a household product, such as washing-up liquid. Once they run out, all the user needs to do is push a button and wait for the product to arrive.
The effort needed to order an item can be reduced even further with the addition of a sensor measuring the amount of washing-up liquid left. Once it senses the product is running low, the button automatically orders a replacement item. This is a prime example of the potential time and effort a simple IoT solution can provide through gathering a small amount of data.
The example of the Amazon dash button also highlights the fact that the more information you feed the solutions, the more you can automate through your IoT system. With a person’s address and billing details, Amazon was able to make a simple action purchase possible. With an added IoT sensor, they removed the need for the customer to monitor the product levels and manually press the button, fully automating the process.
The bottom line: IoT is an extension to improve a function, providing deeper, more intuitive and engaging solutions that make your business’s or customer’s life simpler. It has huge potential to provide valuable data to make processes streamlined, easy and efficient, but this cannot be done if your goals are not clear and you are not sure what data your IoT devices should be supplying you with. The more data you collect, the greater the insights into your operations you gain, in turn saving money and time.
Always know your data, how you can use it, why it’s important and how you can use IoT to automate your processes.