Digital Reinvention

The True Potential of IoT!

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Internet of Things – Is it a buzz word?

Actually No, we not only hear it every day, we are also seeing it making inroads into our homes and offices. IoT was coined way back in 1999 by an MIT researcher and P&G exec Kevin Ashton. Ever since, the technology has come a long way. Imagine, if our appliances, systems, machines have eyes and ears and also talk to each other in a common language over internet. Since they are connected on the internet, they share data for understanding.  To this, if we also add cognitive ability, the possibilities that such a system of connected things can do, suddenly becomes mind boggling.

We are already seeing the impact of IoT at homes, at offices and several industries such as automotive, energy, manufacturing, insurance, agriculture and so on.

The possibilities are limitless –

Imagine your appliance such as a refrigerator, that knows what is in stock and updates on stock position and alerts on action that is required. It simply increases efficiency. Isn’t it? What, it goes a step further and places order for milk, or for that matter your washing machine places order for detergent based on the stock level. The possibilities as we see are limitless. What if you go a step further, connect all appliances, energy meters and add intelligence to the data? You suddenly realize that you can save energy by sensing patterns.

What if your factory is made intelligent? With machines having extra senses to talk to each other, can now update you with reports, draws on analytics to compare with previous situations and sends you an alert in advance, predicts when things can go wrong and suggests suitable action to avoid break-down and becomes intelligent with time to even manage production schedule, inventory and so on, based on market demand. Industry 4.0 is such an initiative, that harness digital technologies and the resulting data and insights to accelerate opportunities in manufacturing. Such an initiative can not only redefine processes but also enable innovation to bring in competitive differentiation.

What if the car that you drive becomes intelligent? The car would adjust music to your taste, provides direction to a grocery store based on the stock in your refrigerator, warn you of a blind spot, urge you to slow down based on speed limit, send you customized offers as you pass by stores and so on, making the drive more efficient and more productive. Not just for the passengers but also for the manufacturers, as the car can now give feedback on performance back to auto manufacturers.

Imagine, a 24X7 nurse at your disposal. With the wearables, and other devices, healthcare has become even more effective. Yes, with Internet of things the possibilities are huge. The starting point for many organizations, as it transforms in the digital era, is the Internet of Things.

Organizations are interested in IoT because it helps them improve their business, be it greater customer experience, or driving operational efficiency or even changing business models.

As IoT gets accepted and implemented, organizations must bear a few things in mind. IoT is not about just sensors or data or the various dashboard reports. It is about a strategic transformation roadmap and requires a paradigm shift in thinking.

It is important, to not just look at IoT as a solution with vertical applications, that operates in silos. IoT is all about connecting various systems and verticals, and thereby, how each application cooperates, talk and work together and use each other’s information. It is about a seamless application on a common platform, that connects all vertical applications, that talks a uniform language and is protected by privacy and security. It is only then, that the real value of IoT can be perceived – A system of connected machines, connected homes, connected cities, that can extract useful information from one another, provide feedback, alert for taking action, coach each other and finally develop intelligence by understanding, learning and reasoning.

The utility of IoT increases super-linearly with its pervasiveness in our lives. For example, a smart refrigerator is even more useful in the presence of a service that can order groceries, one that is aware of our travel plans, the number of people currently occupying our homes and so on. Another example is a factory, where a system to plan manufacturing pipelines increases in efficiency with the amount of information it has, not only about the factory but also the external world or market situation.

To get the true power of IoT, organizations must have a cross-functional strategy. It must focus on a strong platform, that has an in-built infrastructure to connect and manage devices, networks and gateways; cloud computing and a strong information management to integrate information, structured and unstructured from devices, external data like weather and so on; analytics to gain insights from real-time information, predictive, edge and cognitive analytics; risk and security management. Organizations must not view IoT as a set of disparate pilot efforts owned and run by individual units. It is important to start with a Platform that has a cognitive engine and industry solutions that can solve industry challenges. An integrated approach to IoT will make all the difference to our lives.

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The solutions practice draws on the expertise of more than 2,000 consulting professionals spanning machine learning, advanced analytics, and data science, all supported by specialists with deep industry understanding. Know more about IBM Digital capabilities

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