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Business use cases that will drive major IoT adoption

Google

The Internet of Things has been talked about as the biggest and most powerful force that will change the way the global business machinery operates. A big part of what has become known as Industry 4.0, IoT adoption by major companies has already showcased its superlative business applications.

Here’s a snapshot of how some leading enterprises have made initial forays into IoT.

  • General Electric has released an end-to-end industrial IoT operating system called Predix; it helps GE machines run more smoothly, making them suitable for IoT technologies.
  • Siemens released the MindSphere platform in 2015, with goals more or less similar as those of GE’s Predix platform.
  • Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite is a specific stack layer aimed at creating services for other customers.
  • IBM Watson has IoT capabilities that IBM plans to use to create specialized IoT offerings for different industries and markets.
  • Device manufacturers like Bosch and Intel are working on operating systems and hardware solutions that intend to leverage platforms and technologies for IoT adoption.

This, however, is just the starting point. Most of the names mentioned above are companies that are either at the forefront of IoT innovation, or have R&D capabilities that make IoT an absorbable expense for them in its nascent stage. However, in the past couple of years, there has been tremendous progress in the IoT field.

The result is that today, there is more clarity on the kind of business use cases that IoT can deliver salient results on. Not only will this engage enterprises that have not yet thought of investing in IoT adoption, but will also bring in more focus among innovators and solution creators. In this guide, we’ll talk about the most crucial and high-value business use cases that will drive IoT adoption in the times to come.

IoT adoption: Predictive maintenance

Invariably, businesses lose a lot of capacity, money, and time when equipment breaks down. The traditional solution adopted from years is fixed maintenance — a schedule of periodic maintenance checks on machines. This creates unnecessary downtime, and can be mitigated with predictive maintenance, an idea woven around the core of using monitoring sensors and baseline data on machine performance parameters to identify possible problem states.

IoT technologies can help businesses extend maintenance life-cycles and reduce maintenance and downtime costs significantly by mitigating unplanned and reducing planned downtimes. Health care, manufacturing, utilities, energy, and transportation — all these industries have tremendous potential to exploit the benefits that IoT-powered predictive maintenance can provide.

Self-optimizing production

IoT has massive applications in production plants. Process improvement, efficiency improvement, and waste reduction have been the three most important responsibilities of plant managers. IoT technologies have the power to transform the management of these business goals.

By using smart Internet-connected sensors, open source technologies, and edge computing, IoT technologies can help manufacturers realize automated process adjustments, quality control, and waste reduction with minimal to no human intervention. This makes self-optimized production a perfect business use case for process and manufacturing industries.

Automatic inventory control and management

Any technology that has the potential to enable stronger inventory control and supply-chain management for enterprises will witness massive adoption. IoT has most boxes ticked in this regard; it can deliver great insight into inventory statuses, supply chain process efficiencies, and inventory location tracking, among others.

IoT technologies can enable manufacturers to monitor the state of inventory parts at any stage in the supply chain. This delivers massive benefits around prevention of inventory stock out, inventory pileup, reduction in response times and processing times, and achievement of just-in-time compilation (JIT). The granular level of control that IoT can deliver in terms of inventory is unprecedented.

Expansion and improvement of health care

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Smart sensors of physical attributes, connected over the Internet, and their captured data quickly processed and organized in the form of quick and smart reports delivered to medical personnel on their handheld devices — that’s the health care of the future, and IoT is the force that can make this future a reality very soon.

Remote patient monitoring is the most exciting use case of IoT in the medical care industry, as it will bring a quick and significant improvement in health outcomes and corresponding reduction in medical care costs. Centralized systems can then make automated patient monitoring systems smarter and more accurate, paving the way for more affordable and more accessible health care.

Management of distributed energy generation and storage

IoT technologies have the potential to bring tremendous improvements in the way energy companies manage their production and distribution activities.  IoT can automate and optimize demand and supply forces across sources within manageable geographical clusters.

This remote yet accurate monitoring will help energy players improve productions, reduce waste, and meet predictable demands as per the most viable cost models. Over the long run, this can bring down energy costs, and can connect underserved regions to energy grids.

Smart cars

Waymo

Precise navigation, unmatched entertainment options, immersive music, creature comforts, and better safety — that’s the car of tomorrow. IoT technologies can make this fascinating concept a reality by enabling automobile manufacturers to include smart sensors that can create meaningful and value-adding outcomes for the vehicle drivers and owners.

Right from on-body sensors that make intelligent decisions on the driver’s ability to drive to navigation systems and course correction systems that make autonomous vehicles more prepared for the roads — IoT’s impact on the automotive sector will be significant. Hopefully, it has a strong security system so a bunch of cars are not hijacked in a group like what happened in “Fast 8,” though!

Fleet management

IoT Is already being used to track cars, trucks, delivery vans, and carts in real time. By connecting all kinds of automobiles in an enterprise’s fleet, IoT technologies can capture and process information related to fleet location, condition, usage, capacity, maintenance, and repairs, apart from others. This paves the way for analytics programs to enable highly dynamic rerouting and congestion prevention, while improving the fleet-capacity utilization. This business use case has shown tremendous maturation already, and is on track on being big very soon.

IoT adoption has made inroads in several industries already, bringing in tremendous improvements in process efficiencies, quality control, and cost control. As the business use cases mentioned in this guide are realized, the impact and proliferation of IoT adoption will surge.

Photo credit: Google