The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a term that describes the interconnectedness of physical devices and objects that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies. This allows these devices to collect and exchange data with each other and with other internet-enabled systems and devices. As the internet grew, phones, office equipment like printers and scanners, and industrial equipment were added to it and now, just about any device in our offices, homes and even wear can be online and connected.
The IoT has the potential to revolutionise the way we live and work, as well as how businesses operate. For businesses, it creates opportunities to increase efficiency, optimise operations, and improve customer experiences.
Industrial IoT has seen rapid adoption by organisations looking to capitalise on the latest innovations, resulting in the technology's rapid expansion. Outlined below are helpful snippets of articles from leading publishers discussing IoT and the pros and cons of this new developing landscape for you and your business.
With Industrial IoT, organisations can connect machines and devices to the internet. This gives them real-time insights into their operations so they can make more informed decisions. With remote access, Industrial IoT also improves efficiency by establishing connectivity between machines and devices anywhere in the world.
Although IIOT brings many advantages to businesses, it also comes with some disadvantages. One of the biggest challenges is that adding more network endpoints can increase an organisation's attack surface and vulnerability. With so many devices connected to the network, there are more opportunities for attackers to exploit and as businesses rely on these devices for critical operations, attacks can be much more devastating. However, with proper security in place, these risks can be mitigated.
Despite being relatively new technology, IIoT has the potential to bring a competitive advantage to your business. By successfully implementing IIoT technologies, you can improve efficiency, communication, and safety in your industrial operations.
With these points in mind, the IoT Agenda has gathered the top industrial use cases that will demonstrate just how valuable IIoT can be to you and your business:
1. Predictive maintenance: is one of the most important applications for IIoT. By monitoring wireless sensor data, you can predict when a machine will need maintenance, preventing costly breakdowns and improving machine uptime. Predictive maintenance is a critical part of keeping your business running smoothly.
2. Location tracking: Location tracking with GPS systems, RFID tags, and other wireless technologies can show organisations where their assets are at any time. This transparency promotes increased efficiency.
3. Workplace analytics: With more IIoT devices in place, organisations will have access to more workflow data. Data scientists can feed the data into analytics engines that look for inefficiencies and suggest ways to optimise operations. Location data analysis can also highlight inefficiencies in warehouse organisation.
4. Remote quality monitoring: Processes such as those in chemical plants and pharmaceutical companies can be monitored easily with IoT sensors. This is beneficial for improving productivity when workers are able to monitor several processes in quick succession and get alerts requiring prompt action.
5. Energy optimisation: Combining IoT connectivity with industrial machinery, HVAC systems and other devices that use a lot of power can reduce energy consumption. Sensors detect peaks or valleys in usage, which are used to adjust operations so they only use electricity when necessary.
As you can see, the "Internet of Things" has made a significant change to businesses in recent years. It's expected that as our society relies more and more on technology, businesses will have no choice but to embrace these new technologies too or risk falling behind.
To understand how you can adopt this new technology and way of business, Forbes has discussed 3 essential steps when it comes to assessing IoT opportunities:
1. Evaluate IoT opportunities: Take time to study the technology that’s already available and see where your business could benefit.
2. Embrace change: Even though change can feel daunting and irritating at first, it's essential to change your perspective and embrace IoT. There are a wide variety of ways that IoT will continue to grow to assist your organisation and those who jump on board first, will have a significant advantage over those who wait.
3. Maximize your network security: While IoT can have powerful business benefits, it can also be powerfully destructive if you don’t take security into consideration. Do you have a clear system of secure access set up? Are you using strong passwords? These steps, amongst others, are essential if you want to reap the full benefits of IoT without falling victim to the dangers that come with a growing network of tools.
By embracing change and preparing thoroughly for the challenges, your business can be stronger for it and lead the charge in a more connected world.