A trend that has been building over the past few years is that companies are moving to a distributed computing model, pushing more data storage and processing to the “edge” of their infrastructure. Edge computing helps put data and analysis closer to where it’s needed, and IoT devices and sensors are at the heart of this model. IDC predicts that the number of business processes deployed at the edge will grow from less than 20 percent today to more than 90 percent in 2024.
People tend to think of IoT devices as consumer-oriented appliances and applications. Think of Alexa or Siri that play your music, smart refrigerators that advise you when you need to stock up on food, or Fitbit wearables that keep you connected to your personal health. But the real boom happening behind the scenes is in industries like manufacturing, product development, transportation, and many others where billions of IoT devices collect data to help improve corporate operations and efficiency. IT administrators are now leveraging ITSM frameworks in the adoption of IoT to achieve their overall strategy as they attempt to manage the critical flow (and analysis) of data across their enterprises.
Buildings Get Smarter with IoT
IoT lies at the heart of today’s building and facility management systems. Smart buildings that deploy IoT devices and sensors across the premises not only drive energy cost savings but also improve the tenant or employee experience in the office. IoT helps connect building-wide data and transform the way facilities managers run building operations. A recent survey from Daintree Networks found that almost 60 percent of building managers in the US were familiar with building IoT, and 43 percent say it would shape how they operate their buildings in the next three years.
Companies benefit from smart building IoT adoptions in several ways. They are able to measure data from a wide array of endpoints, such as smart energy grids, connected lighting, smarter use of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) controllers, more efficient elevators and building automation systems (BASes), and even identifying when rooms and desks are being underutilized. When data is properly connected within the ITSM framework, analysts get a real-time look at building operations and can proactively manage problems.
Manufacturing Thrives on IoT
Modern factories rely on connected IoT devices and equipment that lets them collect and aggregate data to enhance operational efficiency, improve safety, and lower costs. Plant managers gain visibility into their production lines and are able to see when equipment is not functioning properly, identify usage patterns and machine downtime, and understand which equipment features are being underutilized. An American Society for Quality survey found that companies leveraging IoT to digitize processes experience 82 percent increased efficiency, and half of all manufacturers experienced fewer product defects.
Connected IoT within the greater ITSM ecosystem helps manufacturing companies to:
- Track the physical integrity and real-time asset health of industrial equipment
- Employ predictive maintenance to see when machines might fail and diagnose and deploy quick solutions
- Get immediate visibility into warehouse inventory levels to optimize spare parts delivery and production capacity
- Improve safety on the shop floor by giving workers wearable devices and using environmental sensors to warn of risky conditions
Aircraft Ecosystems Connect with IoT
The aviation industry is making big strides in IoT adoption too. Sensors deployed in airplane engines, cabins, and on airport grounds can have a huge impact on flight turnaround times that can help cut costs across the board. Airlines benefit from predictive maintenance of engines and parts, streamlining the logistics of spare parts delivery, video cameras and geo-position data to improve safety and proper taxiing speeds, and even tracking oversized luggage when someone checks in to reduce overhead bin problems on the flight.
Virgin Atlantic recently integrated IoT devices for a fleet of Boeing 787 planes and cargo equipment. The aggregate data they collect helps the airline detect the likelihood of aircraft equipment becoming faulty so they can bring in engineers on-site quickly. As a result, delays due to defects and maintenance were reduced by 20 percent and airline engineers were able to save two hours per day by proactively addressing problems.
And in another example that is more customer-experience driven, Airbus launched a program called the Airbus Connected Experience where IoT sensors on seats, overhead bins and lavatories gather real-time data that can be used by flight attendants and maintenance crews. They’re able to view cabin equipment usage trends to improve cabin service reliability and provide a more personalized travel experience for passengers.
Where IoT Fits in ITSM Frameworks
IT professionals are the ones who bring most of these great IoT efficiencies to life. Those who master various IT service management frameworks like ITIL® are invaluable for industries that need to improve the way data is collected and analyzed. The more places you can monitor data at the infrastructure edge, the more efficient operations will be.