How can the Internet of Things benefit your organization?

August 21, 2014 by Alex Collins, IT Services Consultant

Internet of Things

Have you ever gotten an alert from your printer when it’s time to order paper based on your typical consumption? What about a message from your phone that it automatically sent a call to voice mail based on your past interaction with that number?

Chances are, you haven’t. But a future in which office equipment “talks” to us isn’t as distant as it sounds. It is part of a phenomenon known as the Internet of Things, and it has the potential to not only revolutionize the way we lead our lives but to radically transform the way we do business.

What is the Internet of Things?

Broadly defined, the Internet of Things ­is a scenario in which non-computers – machines, animals, even people – are equipped with sensors that can communicate data freely over the Internet. It may be the technology of the future, but you’re probably using the Internet of Things right now. Just think about the environmental controls in your home that monitor temperature and adjust accordingly or the Fitbit that tracks the number of steps you walk in a given day.

Right now there are 14 billion sensors collecting and transmitting this kind of data, according to Jeremy Rifkin, founder and president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, which examines the impacts of new technologies on the global economy. And that’s only the beginning.

“There’s going to be a hundred trillion sensors by 2030 connecting everything with everyone, and this is going to create a completely new economic revolution,” predicts Rifkin.

The growing presence and potential of this technology has led analysts at Cisco Systems, PwC and other organizations to project an economic impact in the trillions of dollars in as little as a decade.

How the Internet of Things is changing business models

So, the Internet of Things is hot ­– some may even say over-hyped – but with such immense market potential, one thing is certain: there are clear potential benefits for organizations that begin incorporating the Internet of Things into their business models.

One is the ability to capture real-time data. Imagine, for example, if a bank could gather real-time information from each of its ATM machines. Sensors inside the equipment would monitor if any parts have exceeded their designed thresholds and automatically send reports if they have. Early predictions on equipment malfunctions could be made and maintenance could be automatically scheduled ahead of an actual failure, saving time and money.

An organization could additionally track and even control devices remotely through the Internet of Things. A school district could monitor the location of each student’s tablet, for instance, while a hospital could track each wheelchair or cardiac defibrillator. Organizations could remotely turn on or shut down a specific piece of equipment or adjust the settings as needed.

The ability to transmit information instantaneously through a network of sensors also provides the potential for new services, even in industries that have traditionally been product-driven. Car companies, for example, could provide real-time traffic reports, accident response and even remote vehicle repairs. Medical device companies, meanwhile, could improve patient care by monitoring and sharing information from implanted devices.

Applying the Internet of Things to your organization

If you feel like your organization can benefit from more accurate and timelier data, it may be time to start thinking how the Internet of Things can work for you. Some initial questions to consider are:

  • What specific areas would benefit from better data?

  • What questions could be answered?

  • What type of data would help to answer these questions ­– quantity, quality, location or something else?

  • What types of sensors would be necessary to collect these data types from the people, places or processes you want to observe?

Remember, in a world where sensors submit a seemingly endless amount of information about how things work and how customers interact with them, the business potential can be just as endless.

The All Covered Difference

All Covered is here to help you develop an IT strategy that will position your organization to take advantage of new technological advancements like the Internet of Things. Contact us today at (866)446-1133 for more information or to schedule a consultation.

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