What Is the Internet of Things and Why Is it Important?
Internet of Things or commonly abbreviated to just IoT is widely acknowledged to be an important technology trend this year and into the next coming years. The Internet of Things, as the name suggests, is a term encompassing the ever-growing network of connected devices, physical objects, buildings, vehicles, etc. All these devices are connected to the same network and are able to pass information and communicate easily to other devices via embedded electronics (RFID tags), software, sensors and network connectivity.
As technology has progressed further and evolved, more and more numerous devices have developed to become “smart”, such as smart phones, smart watches, smart cars, smart clothes and a number of smart interior products such as thermostats! All of these devices born from the new wave of technology are capable of communicating and transferring data between each other, such as if need be able to send and perform simple to complex tasks. We already live in a world that lets us for example control the temperature of our thermostats, or warm our cars, or record our favorite programs, which we probably would have missed as we are away from our TVs, while we are out and about by simply using an app on our smartphone.
Instead of having “slaves” monitoring our devices such as our fridge or TV, we are now able to automate a huge range of these monotonous processes. This makes our lives much easier saving us time and effort, the Internet of Things effectively is changing the way we live and contributing to the quality of our lifestyles. This also presents us and gives us a unique insight into data which we can use effectively as human beings by capturing and drawing insight from the analytics that come with it.
How Can Companies Prepare?
Large tech companies such as Microsoft, Google, Samsung and Apple to note a few are already investing heavily and preparing in what looks like a very important sector of business tech and what is forecasted to be a revolution forward. It’s only inevitable that smart devices will become even smarter, producing more detailed data numbers, figures and deep analysis as we move along into the future. The unlocking of the insight of this data accumulated will be an important success in business as it gives us invaluable information to how business and consumers work and come together.
To prepare for this inevitable influx of data, some of the challenges include infrastructure, data storage and an analytics platform capable of reporting on the huge volumes of live data created, after all we are living in the modern age of big data accumulation.
We have to ensure that there is an appropriate network bandwidth to cope with volatile data. For example, traffic data is known to be a little unpredictable and could cause data spikes. Companies need to be aware of this and take necessary measures to be able to cope.
The large variety of data produced by IoT devices may render certain current storage systems and data warehouses obsolete. Utilizing alternative agile storage infrastructures is essential in order to cope with the new, diverse data being created, such as customer behavior information, weather data, geo-location data and sensor information.
After you have revamped your infrastructure and data storage technologies in order to capture and store this data, would need an analytics platform to turn your big data into insight and action. But you need the right one, that is one that can scale to keep up with the new formats and ever-growing volumes of data. One that is able to cope with the integration of diverse data providing users with only one version of the truth. And one that is agile enough to be able to deliver reporting and analysis capabilities over live-data.
The obvious benefits of IoT are quite simple to see, which is the more data available to us should theoretically equal more insight. However it’s not that straightforward…If managed and used correctly, real-time data brings with it some real-time insights, where then decisions can be made faster and therefore business changes can be implemented much quicker and efficiently.
An example of this would be fine-tuning marketing and sales campaigns, where they would becomes more powerful due to the faster and more accurate insight that this real-time data brings. Effectively this would be the same work as a supply chain manager who is able to push forward refinements faster to the supply chain leading to increased efficiency and potential cost-savings.
Performing better, but quicker and efficient should be the mantra that IoT should bring and stand for, but it’s only achievable with the best and most agile technologies however this necessarily doesn’t mean heavy, expensive investment.