Ready or not, the Internet of Things (IoT) is here to stay and the data it generates will be the driving force for future innovation and efficiency. According to Frost & Sullivan, 40 percent of all IoT data generated by 2020 will come from connected sensors. This data has already begun to affect many industries, and as IoT gains popularity, the uses for this data will grow.
Three industries that already are seeing the importance of gathering sensor data include manufacturing, marketing, and smart cities.
For manufacturers, the IoT will mean using sensor data to improve their products and optimize their manufacturing processes so they can govern themselves. Imagine smart products and supply chains that can take corrective action to avoid damage, and parts that are automatically replenished when stock is low. By installing sensors throughout a company’s factory and gathering information frequently, a business can take their current processes and make them more efficient, thus saving time and money.
According to a study by the American Society for Quality (ASQ) in 2013, 13 percent of all manufacturers surveyed already have parts of their factories connected to smart sensors. Of the companies that implemented sensors, 82 percent said they experienced increased efficiency, 49 percent noticed fewer product defects, and 45 percent experienced higher customer satisfaction levels.
The IoT is typically thought of as a machine-to-machine or thing-to-thing interaction. For marketers, though, the real value comes in machine-to-people, people-to-machine, and people-to-people communications. As the smart world continues to surround people, marketers are able to access more precise information about their customers. Information about a customer’s normal, daily activities to how they sleep at night is recorded for data purposes.
Sensor data provides a huge opportunity for marketers to learn about and engage with their customers, even in real-time situations. With this customer data, marketers can improve campaigns and promotions while making their branding and resources, such as apps, more appealing and easier for their customers to use.
Sensors placed under asphalt, connected to street lamps, and fixed on top of public transportation vehicles can provide a new stream of information to cities. Creating a smart city gives officials valuable insight on how to innovate and make their towns better.
Sensors that detect real-time parking information and transit delays make travel more convenient for commuting citizens. Connected video cameras that are triggered by sensors can help lower crime rates or provide information about why traffic is stopped.
It is obvious that sensor data isn’t just meant for big manufacturing companies, marketing agencies, or for building smart cities. Many industries already are reaping the benefits of smart sensors while others are looking to move into the IoT world. Organizations looking to effectively utilize sensor data must remember that with innovation and improved efficiency also comes change. Beyond just installing sensors and capturing the data, organizations must be prepared with the right people to accurately analyze the data and then decide how to act on it.
Adam Justice is general manager of the ConnectSense line of wireless sensors from Grid Connect.