The Internet of Things (IoT) can seem futuristic, but it’s “nothing revolutionary,” says Bruce Sinclair, president of IoT–Inc. and author of IoT Inc: How Your Company Can Use the Internet of Things to Win in the Outcome Economy. “It’s just an evolution of the internet, which is extending its reach further and further—and this time, it’s extending into physical objects. What that does for business is revolutionary, because it allows you to have a direct connection with your products, with your environment, and with your systems, and have a very good understanding of what they’re doing. You can also control that.”
But what does that mean in practical terms?
Automation. The IoT can automate utility use and increase energy efficiency by monitoring and adjusting the climate and lighting within your office or factory.
Improved fleet maintenance. If you maintain a fleet of vehicles, sensors in tires can monitor air pressure and how the vehicles are being driven. This information can enhance driver safety and point to strategies for improving fuel economy.
“Smart” expense control. The IoT has the capacity to address both expense management and top-line growth challenges. In the context of smart cities and smart grids, for example, “you make things smart with the IoT by transforming them into something we call the digital twin,” Sinclair says. “A digital twin is a software representation of a product or system. When you have it in this software form, you can make it more efficient. We’re seeing IoT used in smart cities initially in the areas of parking utilization, traffic patterns, signage, and personalized marketing.”
Looking ahead, digital twins are also expected to facilitate interaction among different products so that they work together to achieve a particular outcome for the customer. Clearly, the underlying IoT technology has the capability to improve your business—and bottom line—now and in the future.