What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Research and consulting firm Gartner defines the Internet of Things as the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.
Breaking that down, the physical objects are the “things” part of the Internet of Things, and range from refrigerators to thermostats to cars.
Internet of Things technology enables things such as fitness trackers and security cameras to collect and transmit data automatically, without human intervention. This data can then be analyzed to gain insights, optimize processes and improve efficiency in a wide range of industries, from manufacturing and health care to transportation and agriculture.
Some experts predict that by 2025, there will be 22 billion IoT connected devices, creating new opportunities for innovation and transformation across industries. Low-cost cloud computing, big data, analytics and mobile technology mean that vehicles, appliances, devices and other things can collect and share data without the need for people to be involved.
Appliances, devices and vehicles that used to simply do what they were made to do and mind their own business now have the ability to connect with us and with other devices and systems over the internet, collecting and exchanging information — and making our lives easier and better in the process.
As with any new technology, there are both benefits and potential risks associated with the Internet of Things (IoT).
On the one hand, IoT can bring significant benefits to industries and individuals, such as increased efficiency, improved productivity and enhanced convenience. Think of how a smart thermostat adjusts the temperature automatically to save energy and keep families comfortable, or how a wearable fitness tracker can help people stay healthy and active.
Potential concerns center around privacy and security, as well as the possibility for the misuse of data. IoT devices collect and transmit data, which can include sensitive information such as personal and financial data. If a connected device is hacked, it may be possible for an attacker to access personal data or control the device.
To mitigate any possible risk, it’s crucial to secure IoT devices and networks by using strong passwords, regularly updating firmware and limiting access to sensitive data. With proper precautions and responsible use — and guidance from organizations like Fuuz — IoT can bring significant benefits without compromising privacy or security.
How does IoT benefit business?
The Internet of Things has the potential to bring significant benefits to industries in a variety of ways, through insight, efficiency and enhancement. A few examples include:
• Improving efficiency:
IoT devices can be used to track and monitor production processes, identifying inefficiencies and areas for improvement. Sensors can be used to monitor equipment and detect when it needs maintenance or repair, for example, helping to prevent breakdowns and reduce downtime.
• Optimizing supply chain management:
IoT technology can be used to track goods and materials as they move through the supply chain, providing real-time information on their location and condition. This can help to reduce waste, improve inventory management and increase overall efficiency.
• Enhancing product development:
IoT devices can be used to collect data on how products are used, resulting in design innovation and improvement. A smart thermostat can collect data on a homeowner’s heating and cooling preferences, allowing the manufacturer to optimize its product for better performance and energy efficiency.
• Improving customer service:
IoT devices can also be used to collect data on customer behavior and preferences, enabling companies to personalize their offerings and provide better customer service. A fitness tracker can collect data on a user’s exercise habits, allowing the company to tailor its programs and services to better meet the needs of its customers.
Which industries can benefit from IoT?
As the adoption of IoT continues to grow, we can expect to see even more industries leveraging the power of connected devices to improve their operations and outcomes. Some opportunities include:
- Manufacturing: IoT devices can be used to monitor production lines, track inventory and optimize supply chain management, improving efficiency and reducing costs.
- Automotive: IoT devices can be used to track vehicles, monitor driver behavior and optimize logistics, improving efficiency and reducing costs.
- Aerospace and Defense: IoT devices can be used to track tools, equipment and aircraft parts in real time, reducing downtime and increasing profitability.
- Medical Devices and Health Care: IoT devices can be used to monitor patient health, track medical equipment and improve medication management, enhancing patient outcomes and reducing costs.
- Chemical, Plastics and Rubber: IoT devices can improve process efficiency and pollution reduction, optimizing product quality and increasing profit.
- Distribution: IoT devices can radically change supply chains by managing and optimizing activity from end-to-end, saving time and reducing costs.
- Food and Beverage: IoT devices can deliver real-time food safety data during production and storage, reducing waste, risk and cost.
- Retail: IoT devices can be used to track inventory, monitor customer behavior and optimize store layouts, improving customer experiences and increasing sales.
- Agriculture: IoT devices can be used to monitor soil quality, track weather patterns and optimize irrigation and fertilization, improving crop yields and reducing waste.
- Energy: IoT devices can be used to monitor energy usage, optimize building management and improve energy efficiency, reducing costs and improving sustainability.
- Smart cities: IoT devices can be used to monitor traffic, manage utilities and optimize public services, improving efficiency and enhancing quality of life for residents.
What is the economic impact of IoT?
According to global management consultant McKinsey & Company, the potential value of IoT is large and growing. They estimate that by 2030, it could amount to up to $12.5 trillion globally. That includes the value captured by consumers and customers of IoT products and services.
McKinsey notes that the potential economic value of IoT differs based on settings and usages, with factory settings and human health applications representing outsize shares of this total. Factory settings could generate $1.4 trillion to $3.3 trillion by 2030, or just over a quarter of the total value potential. IoT economic impact in human health settings could reach around 14% of the total estimated value.
Another way of looking at IoT’s value is to explore use-case clusters (similar uses adapted to different settings). Some of the most common use cases account for a sizable share of IoT’s potential economic value, according to McKinsey:
- Operations optimization — making the various day-to-day management of assets and people more efficient (41%)
- Health (15%)
- Human productivity (15%)
- Condition-based maintenance (12%)
Other clusters include sales enablement, energy management, autonomous vehicles (the fastest-growing cluster), and safety and security.
How specifically can IoT benefit manufacturing?
Consider for example predictive maintenance, which involves using IoT sensors and data analytics to monitor equipment in real time and predict when maintenance is needed, reducing the risk of unexpected breakdowns and downtime.
A manufacturer might install IoT sensors on a production line to monitor the condition of equipment such as motors, bearings and conveyor belts. The sensors collect data on factors such as temperature, vibration and energy consumption, which can be analyzed to identify patterns and detect anomalies.
Using this data, the manufacturer can predict when maintenance is needed and schedule it at a convenient time — before the equipment fails. This reduces the risk of unplanned downtime and allows the manufacturer to plan maintenance more efficiently, reducing costs and improving overall productivity.
In addition to predictive maintenance, IoT can be used to optimize supply chain management, improve quality control and enhance worker safety in manufacturing.
How can businesses make the most of IoT?
What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), meanwhile, captures and manages high-frequency, high-volume data collection from equipment and devices.
Fuuz IIoT integration supports Production Monitoring, Process Monitoring and equipment condition monitoring. Most machine learning algorithms are applied over the top of IIoT data to perform predictive analytics about machine maintenance and other functions.
Fuuz IIoT integration allows customers to automate manual processes and connect Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) or other industrial equipment on a single platform. It comes with robust tools for analyzing and charting, so rich data can be captured and maximized.
Fuuz IIoT integrates bi-directionally. This means that while the system monitors the health of attached devices, customers can set up notifications and alerts simultaneously. If a label printer were to go offline or run out of label stock, Fuuz IIoT would prevent a catastrophic production issue.
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