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What is the Internet of Things and how to make it work for your business?

Max Tsurbeliov
Max Tsurbeliov

Content Creator

August 3, 2022

Updated:

What is the Internet of Things and how to make it work for your business?

What is the Internet of Things and how to make it work for your business?

Max Tsurbeliov
Max Tsurbeliov

Content Creator

August 3, 2022

Updated:

What is the Internet of Things and how to make it work for your business?

IoT is entering almost every area of human existence. Businesses, hospitals, city administrations, governments, factories, individuals - everyone finds a way to utilize sensors to improve their work process and day-to-day living.  

The recent lockdowns led to the technology expansion even more and facilitated the adoption of IoT across many industries that postponed it. According to the latest market research, we can expect up to a 32% spike in the IoT sector’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the next several years. 

Source Technavio.

So why are IoT technologies so crucial for today’s economics and human well-being? Why are companies around the world are ready to invest billiards into their IoT digital transformation? Let’s find out in this article. 

What is IoT? 

Internet of things (IoT) is the term used to describe a network of interconnected sensors that are able to send and receive data via the Internet. The IoT devices can communicate with each other directly or through the united cloud or local environment, following the system protocol.

In the mid 20’th century, when the IoT technology was invented, it served only large enterprises due to its size, complexity, and extremely high prices. But as the technologies have become more compact and accessible so now we’re able to apply them in other spheres of their existence. And here we are, surrounded by all kinds of devices and sensors. You can even find toothbrushes with IoT devices that can analyze teeth health and improve your brushing habits. 

From the business perspective, the spread of IoT innovations is a great opportunity to enhance your productivity and knowledge management. But we will discuss the practical use cases after a short course into the IoT tech functioning basics. 

How does IoT work?

Simply put, an IoT system collects and processes data in real-time, and sends it to the IoT Hub, using some type of a connection protocol (Bluetooth, WiFi, DDS, MQTT, etc.). Then, the IoT interface, connected to the cloud or local IoT hub, structures and renders the metrics and analytics collected by the system. At the final point of the cycle comes the action initialization that can be performed by a human operator as well as AI. 

IoT system structure. Source

There are three staples of Internet of Things technology:  

IoT devices 

Any sensor or device that is able to collect a certain type of data, connect to the Internet, communicate with an IoT system, and receive commands from the system operator or AI. IoT sensors are like the sensory organs of an AI that collect information on the outer environment or its changes. 

There are enormous amounts of IoT sensors of various kinds: thermometers, cameras, GPS trackers, motion detectors, you name it. Later in the article, we will review them in more detail along with the practical business use examples.

IoT Hub

IoT Hubs can be represented by just gateways that transfer data from sensors to sensors of the IoT app. In a more sophisticated system, you can see the IoT cloud that serves not only as a data pool but also performs analytics, Due to the time-sensitive nature of IoT systems, cloud computing systems and gateways should be able to perform actions in milliseconds. Otherwise, latency will reduce the productivity and security of your system to the degree where IoT loses its purpose. 

User Interfaces

System control console that allows the end-user to manage the IoT devices, and see the analytics and other valuable system info. You can install IoT software on almost any device: computers, tablets, smartphones, and others.

The IoT application can include multiple services and software to store and analyze the data received from IoT sensors. Among the major elements of the IoT applications you can use are:

  • Cloud/local databases;
  • ERP systems;
  • AI-powered engines;
  • ML.

Benefits and opportunities of IoT technology

IoT proved itself to be an extremely useful technology in almost every domain of human life. It makes lives easier in thousands of ways, saving time, protecting people, and providing them with the real-time information to act on the changing circumstances immediately. Businesses, in particular, benefit from the IoT in the 3 major ways.

Better Customer experience

Wearable devices and other IoT sensors can give you the most accurate information on your customer’s needs and aspirations. With that information, you’ll be able to make effective market strategies. 

Process Automation

Connected vehicles or factory assets are more efficient due to their well-coordinated actions. With AI, you can bring automation to almost any workflow.

Fewer Costs 

The more automated your production or service becomes, the faster and more precise your business operations would become. For instance, connected factory assets run by AI will produce more high-quality products in less time than manual workers. Then, the fewer people you’d need to hire the less money you‘ll spend on wages.  

Internet of Things examples: how businesses use IoT technology

The application field of IoT technology, just like the human senses is impressively vast. At the same time, some industries incorporate IoT at a more rapid pace and benefit from them the most. Here they are:

Logistics

IoT has become a cornerstone of fleet management and the logistic industry. It is the core technology that drives the FMS insights. Almost every metric you can see on this fleet management interface is delivered from IoT sensors. By the way, you can get this front-end for free here.

Free fleet management dashboard

But IoT does much more than just deliver the fleet performance-related data. 

Driver/Vehicle safety

For the driver’s safety, businesses use vehicle state monitoring (tire pressure monitoring, cabin temperature) and wearable (driver’s heartbeat) devices. They make the driver's work experience more comfortable and prevent them from falling asleep behind the wheel. According to Brake, 10–20% of all car crashes happen due to drowsy driving. In these cases, a little IoT sensor can signal the driver when his/her heart rate falls and save the life of a truck driver and other drivers on the road.

Fuel Economy

IoT allows fleet managers to control fuel expenses, optimize its consumption and prevent fuel theft. Speeding control and gas tank fullness are the most widespread types of fuel consumption control IoT sensors.

Route tracking

Route tracking is closely related to fuel consumption optimization. These sensors show you what paths your drivers take and if they are following the most optimal route to a destination without deviations.  

Preventive Maintenance

Sensors that collect data on the state of engines, tires, and other vital parts of vehicles. Using these sensors, you repair your cars on time and avoid buying expensive parts or even whole vehicles.

Healthcare

IoT devices are an integral part of a modern digital clinic. The digital clinic is the concept that refers to the variety of technologies to assist in people's treatment and care. 

First off, wearable IoT sensors allow doctors to check their patients’ health parameters remotely in real-time and take immediate actions to save their lives. Connected wearables can keep track of the heartbeat, pressure rates, body temperature, and other vital health parameters of their patients. 

Besides, IoT brings automation to the treatment process. Using IoT sensors with actuators and M2M communication, doctors can give the system commands remotely, regulating the drug input. The 2020 pandemic raised the demand for this type of technology. With that, patients can receive treatment at home instead of in overloaded hospitals where the stress and other people's diseases can compromise their rehabilitation.  

However, the remote treatment system must be properly protected from any kind of cyberattack. Without a doubt, security is the hottest topic in the healthcare IoT industry. Preserving medical data and devices from a hack is not just the question of privacy but the people’s lives themselves. So, before integrating medical IoT devices, we recommend you make sure you use the best device security practices.

Manufacturing

This industry pioneered the adoption of IoT technologies and remains the top investor in this sector. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is crucial for modern factories to provide products of the highest quality, enhance operational efficiency, and eliminate the possibility of human mistakes. 

Industry 4.0 and smart factory concepts symbolize the evolving new image of manufacturing. Connected assets capable of M2M communication automate the operations on the production line. Thus, you’ll need to hire only a few system operators to manage the whole process. 

Preventive Maintenance

IoT helps manufacturing businesses to see any asset health issue as soon as it appears in the digital twin. Digital twins are the digital representations of the factory’s assets that monitor their states using various sensors. The sensors send the data to the system signaling if there is any problem on the production line. Eventually, digital manufacturing technologies allow to reduce maintenance costs and avoid any serious breakdown of a plant.

Quality control

AI paired with IoT sensors comprises the perfect quality control system. To make it work, you need just to input the product requirements and choose the proper IoT sensors. Less damaged products more happy clients. 

Production automation

AI-powered IoT sensors and actuators are able to replace humans on the factory production lines. But they need a well-thought-out working protocol and the right system operator. 

Power Industry

IoT technologies bring a new era of distributed energy resources. IoT in the power industry is represented by the smart grid concept that employs smart meters, inverters, voltage regulators, current transformers (CTs), temperature and humidity sensors, and many other IoT devices. All the sensors send data to a single data aggregator that is tied to the management interface and AI integrations. Using these solutions, energy providers can enhance their grid control and maintenance, reduce maintenance costs, improve customer service, get real-time analytics, and protect the collected data.  

On the client side, sensors and corresponding networks allow businesses and consumers to regulate their energy consumption. An end-user can set their network preferences via mobile or web application. 

The hottest IoT trends in 2022

To make your new IoT system time-proof, you should consider where the technology is moving right now. In this section, we will review the four horsemen of IoT technology expansion and optimization.

ML and AI integration

Machine learning and Artificial intelligence paired with IoT applications can start a new era of technological advancement on the Earth. It would take several books to describe all the benefits and nuances of AI-powered IoT systems that can educate themselves.  All in all, it will multiply its beneficial elements of it as well as increase the importance of cybersecurity. 

Cybersecurity

Yes, the more tightly connected to our everyday life becomes the IoT the larger the negative impact of cyber attacks on our lives. So, finding effective ways to protect IoT applications and sensors from a hack is the core concern of IoT systems developers.

5G connection

IoT uses the Internet for communication. Thus, the faster and more gapless the connection the better the performance of the IoT environment. That's why 5G adoption becomes an evolving trend in the IoT world. 

Cloud technologies

Cloud storage and services are much more effective than local ones. Cloud IoT hub is the future of data storage, management, and analytics since it is able to unite the functions of several 3’d party services in one system. Additionally, cloud IoT hubs usually make more flexible environments for faster scalability of your system to match the growing volumes of data, as your business expands. 

Summary

As you can see, IoT technology is worth investments and efforts to implement into your business. The technology will bring you the most financial and operational benefits if you are involved in the logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, and power industries.

However, we recommend paying attention to the technologies you implement and the order you introduce them to your business. The proper IoT implementation strategy can determine the success of your business's digital transformation campaign. So, a suitable set of digital tools that will remain actual in the years to come, bug-free software, and coherent integration of those into your workflow are the main conditions that make IoT technologies work for you to the fullest. 

P.s If you need professional IoT consulting services, book a meeting with our IoT experts. We can help you to select the right tech stack for your IoT network, develop an effective implementation strategy, build an interface for your system management, and assist in IoT hub creation and maintenance.

P.s.s. All the infographics belong to their original publishers linked in the image descriptions.

Internet of Things and how to transform your business with IoT technologies
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