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The IoT Revolution: Is it a Revolution or a Revelation?
[July 08, 2017]

The IoT Revolution: Is it a Revolution or a Revelation?

By: Lee Bopst VP of Sales and Operations Interface Inc.

The Internet of things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet of things (IIoT) are some of the hottest business trends that are being discussed in boardrooms around the country. The idea of the IoT and IIoT holds the power to do many things for businesses around the globe like increased efficiency, better operating margins, and increased profitability. But, is this really a business revolution or are businesses really just getting better at collecting data? The power to collect accurate information has always been a challenge businesses face. Any good business that is continuously improving needs to analyze it’s processes, procedures, and operations. These business units need data benchmarks with which to begin the analysis. Data collection about operations processes, logistics, sales and fulfillment begins with getting your business information from the individual departments, people, and devices into a single source. The proliferation of 3 things in the last 15 years has given businesses the ability to gather data in ways that we were not able to gather it in the past. These 3 things are WiFi networks, cellular networks and smart devices of all kinds. Company networks have grown from local LAN’s, then to WAN’s, and now offer VPN’s with remote connections from all different types of sources including cellular, Wifi and even satellite. The proliferation of WiFi networks and cellular networks around the country and the world keeps us constantly connected. Businesses and people now have the ability to collect data from homes , offices, buildings, and campuses virtually anywhere you go. Because of these networks, we are able to connect “things”, sensors, meters and smart devices to bring back data into our businesses. In addition to the devices we are able to collect data in much higher volumes. Quantities that were only dreamed about in the past.

This is the business dream right? Collect all the data you can about your business and you will be able to make better decisions about your business. Wrong! As your business looks at an IoT or IIoT strategy it is vitally important to make sure you define what data your organization wants to bring back into the company, why you want to bring it back, and how are you going to analyze it. This is the real revelation about the IoT and IIoT. The data itself is not the going to solve the business challenges of the day nor is gathering ALL of the data going to tell you what is best for the organization. First, you will need to work to decide what data is important and why. Almost all IoT and IIoT solutions have developed tools to help you analyze and interpret the data for your business. Whether it is looking at the data to discover trends on usage , quality, productivity or profitability it is all about how this data relates to the business and the story behind the data that makes the IoT so powerful. It is this “behind the data” story which will make your businesses run better. For instance, data being analyzed shows the physical plant has 3 air handlers in the building system with over 600,000 hours of runtime and the likely hood of failure goes up 60% after this amount of usage. Our business will need to plan and budget for replacement in the next budget cycle with increased preventative maintenance until it is done. It is a business running regressions of food product sales versus regional weather and discovering that on overcast or rainy days that sales increase by 18% on our products those days. How can we better predict demand for those peaks in the future and maintain quality? We believe that collecting the right data with proper analysis will unlock the potential in your business. The IoT may be a revolution but it seems to me as we move into your business strategy it will feel more like a revelation!

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