Why Is IoT So Popular? Because It Delivers
To create context let’s consider the application and benefits of IoT before we drill down into the challenges, and yes there are challenges. The benefit of a robust implementation of IoT is data, lots and lots of data. Data that if used correctly can provide keen insights into your business at an operational, logistics, behavioural and security level, to name a few.
Why consider IoT
Let’s take an example. If you were to have a host of sensors connected around a warehouse checking ambient temperatures of a cold goods storage environment, that then automatically sends the data collected to an IoT gateway which intelligently reads changes in the environment that could have a detrimental impact on the goods, and alerts you to these changes – is music to the ears of businesses. Especially companies that may in the past have experienced massive stock losses as a result of temperature changes – all of which ultimately impact the bottom line.
According to the Vodafone IoT barometer report for 2017 / 2018, almost all of the people interviewed say they have seen a return on their investment into IoT. In fact those who said it works for them reported an average increase in revenue of nearly 19%. The report also states that the more “connected devices” a company has the greater the return.
Almost all the clients we talk to either have some form of IoT in their environment, are dabbling with IoT or are seriously considering it.
But like with technology IoT is not without its challenges. IoT sensors are often rolled out without full consideration of how they are going to communicate the information they collect, back to the company. This leads to disparate environments that don’t speak to each other and the ultimate opportunity – which is data and intelligence from that data – is simply lost.
There are a host of factors to consider in an IoT implementation. Here is a short checklist of questions we urge you to ask of your IT department before you dive headlong into an IoT investment. What are my sensors capable of? What type of intelligence is in the sensors? Do we have an IoT gateway that can read data from third party solutions, irrespective of the brand I elect to deploy? Does my IoT gateway integrate with my preferred cloud service of database? Can I see my sensors with a dashboard and can you replace individual sensors if one fails without having to rip and replace a whole environment?
If the answer is no, or I don’t know, it is time to go back to the drawing board. IoT only works if all things connect, communicate and behave in the way you want them to.
Selecting the right IoT
Fortunately, due to its increasingly pervasive use, there is a lot of development going into IoT, and as a result the standards and communication protocols being used to ensure seamless communication of devices. We have recently worked on a number of projects where clients have literally thrown millions at vendor ABC’s technology only to find that they are now locked into a proprietary solution that simply doesn’t communicate with systems outside of its own.
Again ask the questions from the list above and if the answers aren’t clear, carry on looking before you invest. In fact it is these very questions that prompted Netshield to lean on its research and development team, who have created an IoT gateway and management and monitoring dashboards, that bring together disparate solutions and ensure they all communicate with each other. They also looked at the sensor and its role, and we now have a range of sensors can also assist with identifying and alerting a user to events such as changes in temperature, fire, water detection, smoke, gas, motion and access control, to name but a few.
Why IoT delivers
Yes manufacturing and logistics companies love the fact that IoT allows them to automate their processes and reduce human error. But those who really understand how to get the most out of IoT are using it to create completely new services, based on the deep insights and intelligence they can calculate from applying business intelligence, and analysis on the data that has been collected.
IoT is no longer a when discussion. But instead a how. But take steps with caution and be mindful before you simply throw case at a solution because it looks good on paper.