There’s no question we’re living in a data-driven world. High-tech companies have made it easy for consumers and businesses alike to benefit from immediate access to data, putting sensors and data processing into almost every conceivable device. We see IoT (Internet of Things) devices everywhere, from smart homes and smart appliances to digital personal healthcare monitoring.
But it’s not just tech-heavy businesses that are leveraging IoT data today. Legacy industries like automotive, manufacturing, and even government/public sector organizations are now turning to IoT to improve their business models and undergo more rapid digital transformation. Overall IoT enterprise spending grew more than 22 percent in 2021 to $158 billion. The more data that resides at the edge of tech infrastructure, the greater benefits consumers and citizens are seeing.
Legacy Industries Thriving With IoT Data
Autonomous cars now have hundreds of sensors on them, and every day one car may gather more than 25 gigabytes of data. When you multiply it out, it gathers exabytes of data for auto manufacturers and their partner organizations. Sensors can gather data to make driving safer by examining road and weather data, and offer predictive maintenance recommendations even before they’re needed. And now, IoT data can provide insights into driver behavior for auto insurance providers, for example, so they can create more personalized and accurate insurance policies, giving safer drivers a lower monthly premium.
IoT data is being used today by public sector organizations to overcome the challenges of regulatory compliance, outdated legacy IT systems, and working culture. For example:
- Embedded sensors in smart equipment can be used by firefighters to monitor their location, body position, heart rates, and body temperature
- Connected school buses can improve in-vehicle learning for students during field trips
- Administrators can help avoid emergencies and reduce emissions by monitoring the structural integrity of buildings and bridges
Diving deeper into public sector operations, IoT can improve a local government’s ability to provide digital citizen services. Mobile technology and smart buildings can improve the working day for employees. Crowdsourcing data can expand their ability to understand and optimize citizen movement around a city. And IoT can help manage agricultural systems to manage and deliver subsidies and payments to farmers based on real-time land and livestock data.
Smart connected IoT devices will enable apps like environmental monitoring, territory land management, and energy optimization for cities and buildings. Green-focused industries are also aiming to battle climate change, reduce energy costs, monitor key failure points in ecosystems, and provide better fire and flood management for cities and municipalities.
Supply Chain and Logistics:
Connected IoT devices are changing the way goods and supplies get from one place to another. QR codes provide a wide range of data to logistics companies, from where a package is, what’s in it, and when it’s expected to arrive. Manufacturers and grocery stores can find out where their goods are at any given time. Smart collaborative robots can make picking, inventory, and shipping easier and safer for humans. And in transportation, IoT sensors help companies track package temperature, lights levels and exposure to jolts and sudden movements.
Improving IoT Infrastructure for Manufacturers
Industrial IoT (IIoT) is one of the largest digital transformation opportunities, but for manufacturers to be successful with IoT deployment, they will need to improve their technology capabilities at three levels, according to McKinsey: platform, cloud, and IoT ecosystem.
- Platform: Plant-focused operations must leverage a technology stack that fully integrates both legacy and new technology platforms (like IoT). Manufacturers will need to asses current brownfield setups for IT and operations, create targets that meet specific use cases, find partners to support the new platform implementation, and manage potential cyber security challenges.
- Cloud: The cloud will provide IIoT transformation by improving access to AI and machine learning engines for better decision making, sandbox environments to improve experimentation, and access to new products, services, and sales tools. To get there, manufacturers will need to determine which applications they migrate to the cloud will offer the highest benefits, and establish stronger governance to manage their cloud transformation.
- Ecosystem: Creating a solid platform for managing IoT applications, performing analytics, and storing data are key starting points for an IIoT ecosystem, but they will also need to determine which types of partners offer the most value for their ecosystems in terms of skills and management philosophy.
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Deploying the Right Technology Skill Sets for IoT
Tech professionals who wish to excel in the IoT space will need to combine two distinct skill sets. The first is understanding technology infrastructure, including ITIL 4 Managing Professionals to build out dynamic IT frameworks. And beyond the infrastructure, advance skill sets that include AI and machine learning will be crucial to put all of that IoT data to work to derive real value for companies and individuals in an ever-growing number of industries.