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What Is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

How does IoT work?

IoT devices are empowered to be our eyes and ears when we can’t physically be there. Equipped with sensors, devices capture the data that we might see, hear, or sense. They then share that data as directed, and we analyze it to help us inform and automate our subsequent actions or decisions. There are four key stages in this process:

  1. . Capture the data. Through sensors, IoT devices capture data from their environments. This could be as simple as the temperature or as complex a real-time video feed.
  2. . Share the data. Using available network connections, IoT devices make this data accessible through a public or private cloud, as directed
  3. . Process the data. At this point, software is programmed to do something based on that data – such as turn on a fan or send a warning.
  4. . Act on the data. Accumulated data from all devices within an IoT network is analyzed. This delivers powerful insights to inform confident actions and business decisions.

How have IoT technologies evolved?

IIoT technology in modern industry sectors

Top six benefits of IIoT solutions

As part of an overall process of digital transformation, an IIoT network provides a powerful tool for building greater resilience and competitiveness.

Improved agility

When IIoT devices share data in real-time, they contribute to an intelligence network that continually gathers, analyzes, and learns from data. This allows businesses to respond to opportunity – and risk – with speed and decisiveness. And those same devices not only send data but can also receive instructions based on data analysis to adapt and optimize their automated workflows.

Healthier machines

Devices and machines in an IoT network are continually transmitting operational logs and performance data. AI and machine learning algorithms use this sensor data to gain valuable predictive maintenance insights. In fact, according to McKinsey, “Predictive maintenance typically reduces machine downtime by 30% to 50% and increases machine life by 20% to 40%.”

Greater efficiency

Unfortunately, “if it ain’t broke” is often the stance that businesses take when prioritizing their operational needs. This attitude can lead to inefficient legacy processes hanging on past their prime. When an operational network incorporates IoT devices, the data they gather and transmit is entirely objective. The application of advanced analytics to such data leads to ongoing recommendations and strategies for updating processes, streamlining tasks, and achieving increased efficiency.

Smarter inventory management

At the start of 2020, U.S. businesses had already spent a few years weathering political and trade uncertainties. For many, the pandemic only served to drive home just how vulnerable and reactive their inventory management systems had become. When connected to an IoT network, devices, such as additive (3D) printers can reduce dependency upon external manufacturing partners and allow businesses to retain virtual inventories and manufacture the products they need – on demand. 

Safer workers

In any industrial setting, there is always the danger of injury or strain. Today, many businesses are reducing this risk with the use of IoT workplace safety devices. These may deliver warnings via wearable units such as VR headsets or monitor ongoing workplace patterns to restructure factory and warehouse floors to be safer and more ergonomic.

Improved customer service

IIoT networks connect more than just the devices and machines within a business – they also integrate the customer’s experience and input.  This integration results in more seamless shopping experiences, more transparent and personalized logistics, and greater ability to incorporate customer feedback and preferences into the manufacturing and development of new products.  Real-time and meaningful engagement with customers leads to a more competitive and resilient business model.

IIoT solutions are an important step toward digital transformation

Transformative outcomes with the IoT

Explore Internet of Things data services and use your embedded sensor data to drive your transformation.

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