When the coffee maker orders beans all by itself
BY SOPHIA BLANK
There is no buzzword more popular than the Internet of Things. Yet IoT is not so much a new phenomenon than a repeat offender with high potential. So what’s behind the IoT trend which has dominated the digital world for years?
Over the coming years, IoT is said to expect high growth rates of more than 15 percent and an economic potential of 1700 billion dollars. However, few people seem to know exactly what the term IoT entails. As we shed light on this topic, we will provide recommendations on how to use IoT to your full advantage and how to implement this sales-boosting technology.
Many of us have more or less consciously integrated the Internet of Things into our lives. Language assistants, intelligent household gadgets, smart watches or activity trackers, for example, demonstrate how everyday gadgets are becoming incrementally more intelligent. That is exactly what the term IoT stands for: household gadgets turn into smart machines which by means of integrated sensors, processors and network technology are capable of measuring data, registering information, connecting it, passing it on and making it available for further processing in the network.
A good example is a smart heating system, with radiator thermostats that are connected to the internet and control the radiator’s temperature. The intelligent thermostat controls the heating based on the locations of the users – when everybody has left the house, the heating is automatically turned down. At the users’ return, the temperature goes up before anyone re-enters the house. The heating can be controlled manually from anywhere via an app. Essentially, the trend of the Internet of Things focuses on the vast exchange of data and its connectivity. Systems communicate with each other, and smart gadgets constantly connect man with machines and machines with each other.
But the IoT trend should not be considered in isolation, as it is linked to many other top trends, for example: machine learning, analytics, big data and artificial intelligence. Many of those terms are not new in the digital arena and have already been implemented by some companies. A new study shows that every second German company is already preparing an IoT project. This should not come as a surprise, because the Internet of Things not only simplifies everyday life, it also offers big opportunity for enterprises. For example, IoT technology can create advantages in sales and logistics. In real time, tools can provide inventory overviews or the exact location of certain items in large storage units. Not only does this shorten distances travelled in storage units, but IoT technology additionally achieves significant time savings between the receipt of an order and its dispatch. However, be warned that these IT projects also pose a number of challenges.
This much can be said right away, there is no magic formula. Because the introduction of IoT tools not only changes the processes of a company, bbut also modifies its business model to some extent, it’s essential to devise a realistic and well thought out schedule, which defines processes as well as internal and external benefits. This schedule will provide the basis for reshaping your business model and its adjustment to new challenges. External service providers can make this task easy. They are the experts, who are not only familiar with the market demands and sector environment, but also understand the project’s context and the IoT platform. In a cross-sectional project such as digitalisation, because changes not only touch single departments, but also modify parts of the business, pristine project management is imperative. Take your employees with you on this exciting collaborative journey in order to achieve success in new projects.
Not getting lost in your visions is just as important. Set realistic goals so that visions don’t seem unachievable from your current standpoint. Start small and work forward step-by-step to avoid mishaps. Don’t forget that the system has to be operable! Some applications work very well in theory, however if the user cannot manage them, the platform will not work economically in practice. A successful judgement of results and consequences will pave the way towards a world of successful data collection. The Internet of Things and the constant collection of data connected to it, makes it easier than ever to gain insights about customers by drawing conclusions on habits, preferences and dislikes. Collected data makes it possible to provide individual recommendations that customers desire. Service and production processes can be automated by implementing IoT. Its smart tools provide companies with comprehensive and precise data, by using algorithms and software solutions, which can be enriched with valuable information. On the basis of this information, new service and product offers can be created which are individually adjusted in real time and perfectly pin-pointed to the customer.
Those who use IoT in this way understand how to analyse this treasured data and utilise its valuable potential to create additional new offers for customers and convert a hyped buzzword into a worthwhile business model with unimaginable opportunities.
As a producer for marketing software and technology leader in the field of product information management (PIM) and digital asset management (DAM), CONTENTSERV provides a marketing content platform which assists thousands of international users in marketing. CONTENTSERV has been active in the market for more than 15 years and draws on experience in hundreds of projects.
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