Digital transformation helps businesses keep up with the times, and the Internet of things (IoT) is an essential part of digitalization. This technology trend provides capabilities for transforming values, concepts, and development strategies of a company. Ignoring digital transformation may result in unfavorable consequences: a company that doesn’t hasten to embrace IoT is likely to lag behind tech-savvy competitors.
The ways IoT can save your business
- In full control
IoT is successfully applied in various domains, like transportation, construction, manufacturing, and healthcare. It facilitates and optimizes controlling the performance of multiple devices and makes predictive maintenance possible. Remote monitoring systems detect minor malfunctions that can result in breaches in the work of electronic equipment.
There is a clear example of how IoT can be used to monitor product performance during the post-sale stage. Rolls Royce equipped aircraft engines with sensors to send data from a flying plane to the ground. Thousands of sensors collect a wealth of data: Boeing 787 generates around 500 GB of data during a flight and sends them to Rolls-Royce operational centers. It’s very convenient to store and analyze all the jet data (pressure and temperature, a jet altitude, fuel flow, etc.) in the cloud. As of today, the company monitors approximately 4,500 engines. Such an approach to information processing provides an insight into the real performance of Rolls Royce engines.
- Be on the same page with services consumers
An excellent example of improving customer experience through IoT is Disney Magic Kingdom. All visitors of the amusement park wear special wristbands called MagicBands with a long-range radio that can transmit more than 40 feet in every direction. This RFID technology allows the amusement park team to monitor visitor locations, what rides they prefer, the amount of time they spend waiting in line, etc. Also, visitors can link their credit cards to their wristbands and conveniently pay for purchases.
- Keep customers informed
IoT technologies provide customers with up-to-the-minute information about goods and services. Companies specializing in retail admit that the inquiries they receive through call centers are predominantly about the delivery status of parcels. To make things more convenient, customers can monitor the delivery online. If packages are tagged with sensors, they can track the route of parcels on a retailer’s website via a mobile app.
- Better decision making
IoT applications assist in monitoring various types of business processes. A sufficient amount of data creates a base for effective decision making. If employee’s badges and working equipment have embedded IoT sensors, top management can get up-to-the-minute information on all business aspects. The data is stored and processed in the cloud. Managers in charge of decision making can access data via a mobile app from different types of devices. Having information at hand, they can monitor the ways changes affect business flows and make smarter decisions whenever it’s necessary. Data gathering and analysis uncover new prospects and opportunities for business growth.
Bumps on the way of IoT implementation
- Security issues
According to the survey by Kaspersky Laboratory, 65% of respondents from different parts of the world believe that IoT can cause Internet security issues. 77% of industrial organizations fear the risk of falling victim to cyber attacks. However, the statistics report there are no grounds to fear. Many companies care for the safety of their data and invest in security custom software solutions. That’s the reason for the number of cyber attacks in the industrial sector has decreased from 36 % to 16%.
- Technical restrictions
The problem of connectivity rises concerns: сonnecting so many devices is one of the IoT biggest challenges, which may require significant changes in the current Internet connection model. The Internet providers still rely on the centralized client-server model to connect various devices into a network. As of today, this connection type copes with IoT, but the number of connected devices is growing. The solution to connectivity problems is the use of cloud services, such as Microsoft Azure IoT Hub. It provides enough capacity for maintaining millions of IoT connections.
- Employees’ mistrust
Many elderly employees may fear of working side by side with new technologies. However, the research data show that using workplace wearables helps alleviate work stress, accelerate team building and increase overall productivity. Computer scientists monitored the behavior of call center operators with the use of smart workplace badges. They analyzed the ways people talked to each other, the tone of their voice, and movements. Translating the data gathered from wearables, they proved that automation of daily routine would have a sustained positive impact on productivity. E.g., if operators had lunch together instead of staying alone in the office, the call completion metric increased by 23%. These data allow managers to understand whether an employee enjoys working in a team, is he or she satisfied with working conditions, etc.
Generally, employees tend to express less skepticism about the digital transformation, but some people still mistrust innovations. The only way to dispel employees’ doubts and win their trust is to improve communication between them and top managers. The last ones should explain the need for digital transformation to their subordinates and make sure that everybody understands the essence and the need for innovations.
The number of devices connected to the Internet is growing year by year, and one can’t deny the IoT evolution. IT specialists craft solutions that eliminate security issues and technical restrictions hindering digital transformation. But one thing is certain: despite current impediments, IoT keeps on infiltrating our lives, from a workplace to free-time activities. Stop falling behind, embrace the advantages of this technology trend to discover brand-new business opportunities.