Gartner reports that by the end of last year, there were 3.8 billion connected devices out there – smart cars, smoke detectors, door locks, industrial robots, streetlights, heart monitors, trains, wind turbines, even tennis racquets, and toasters. Gartner also states that by 2020 there will be 25 billion smart devices, transmitting small amounts of data to us, to the cloud and to each other. Aren’t the stats great? They speak of our new connected world! The future of our existence will soon be revolutionized to something where there won’t be any barriers between the digital and our real world. In the business world, everyone is just curious to know how IoT technology and IoT analytics is transforming businesses such as insurance, retail, manufacturing and beyond.
Insurance – Telematics for Lowering Risk and Personalizing Premiums
After Ford’s CEO, Mark Fields, announced that the company would start offering fully self-driving vehicles by 2017, we can imagine the mass production of self-driving cars in full swing by 2020. Sensing the demand and foresight, more and more connectivity solutions have been generated to enhance customer relationship and bolster the safety and security of various applications. With this, all cars will be connected to manufacturers, service companies, insurance carriers, their drivers, and the world around them.
With this growing surge of connectivity, big data coming from these vehicles is just going to explode, and powerful analytics platforms will enable car companies, fleet owners, service and repair shops, and insurance firms to generate breakthrough insights. For example, big data analytics will help to collate historical fleet data, sensor data, and geolocation data and measure potential risks and send early alerts to drivers indicating mishaps. Similarly, an onboard app can trigger data-driven alerts and send informed recommendations to drivers, asking them to slow down while heading towards accident prone zones. It’s time for us to gear up for a long-distance road trip with the smart cars.
Retail – Analytics for Targeted Promotions and Situational Offers
You must be aware how competitive the retail environment has become. It is altogether a complex exercise, from taking care of food stocks, clothes or other commodities and supply chain to the point of purchase. By leveraging analytics on IoT devices, retailers incorporate surgical techniques that filter targetted customers in specific environments with situational offers in real-time. By using customer preference, history and location, analytics can create situational offers and promotions targeted towards specific consumers. Isn’t it an exciting way to provide your customers with many lucrative offers and deals?
When it comes to demand-aware warehouse fulfillment, related warehouse automation, and robotics driven by online and in-store shopping demand. IoT solutions allow retailers to monitor sales opportunities in real time and track missed in-store sales. Soon, the warehouses of the future will have an open space rather being shelf-based where everything will be organized based on real-time demand.
Additionally, IoT solutions act as the panacea to the food safety requirements for retailers who deal with food and beverages. Maintaining appropriate temperature for food and beverages is important for quality, inventory, preservation reasons as well as for government, legal or regulatory reasons. Analytics aids by embedding sensors at each point in the cold chain, thereby providing pre-emptive warnings to avoid food quality issues.
Manufacturing – Predictive Maintenance for Improved Customer Experience
Michael Porter, a Harvard economist, known for his work on competition states, “the existing IT and Internet-driven innovation have already played themselves out and what we’ve been enjoying for the last 10 or 15 years was a “pretty dismal” economy.” Things are about to change, however, with the arrival of the IoT technology, which Porter claims will deliver tremendous efficiency gains. The application of advanced analytics and machine learning will surge and become more visible in the renewable energy sector. It will enable enterprises and their workers to accomplish large-scale tasks faster and with greater precision, including data analysis and management. Companies may find that they need fewer staff members and that they’ll be able to scale operations in new areas.
Furthermore, utility checks for any irregularities and system performance will become easier. Through predictive analysis, potential failures could be traced and prevented before they occur. This will help manufacturing companies cut costs and provide better customer experience. The challenge here is to analyze sparse data from IoT sensors in real-time to make these predictions. For instance, BRIDGEi2i deployed its machine learning, AI, and big data technologies to help predict impending machine failures before a desired time period of the actual occurrences. This enabled the client to optimize maintenance resource allocation in a cost-effective manner and transform their customer services.
Businesses witnessing the economic impact of IoT analytics on industrial and consumer sector. While industry verticals such as retail, healthcare and automotive directly impact consumers, industries such as manufacturing, insurance, semiconductor are transforming their businesses with technology.
It is important to look at the magnitude of this market and how it will shape the future. To do that we can look at the rear view mirror and see ‘how was the world before internet and mobile took over?’ Ask today’s children; they’ll be just clueless. They probably have no idea how the world communicated or lived without the sophisticated tools we have today. The same will happen with IoT technology. Ten years from now, it will take over everything, and we will have no clue how we lived in a world without IoT.
We can entirely imagine a time in the future when machines will do most of the jobs we’re doing today, and artificial intelligence will displace the majority of professional tasks that we do now. So, with IoT technology, we will have a future where we can make better informed, more accurate and more timely decisions, and of course, decisions that will improve our lives, save us money or even save our planet.
Of the many technology disruptions that are taking place right now, the biggest one is IoT; it’s the one that’s going to evolve the most and present us with endless opportunities that will transform not only businesses but also our lives to make them easier and simpler.