A recent Forbes article discusses the many ways that the internet of things has changed the way businesses operate. While there is no question that IoT technologies are providing a wealth of new data and opportunities, it also can create a false imperative for business decision makers to adopt the new technologies, despite not having a clear understanding of what they’re adopting or why they’re adopting it.
But there are a few main points that all business leaders should consider when trying to figure out if they should utilize IoT tech and where they should implement it. The first is whether the technology in question can provide key strategic insights, helping to make better decisions. Examples of this typically have to do with the collection of massive amounts of data. For example, logistics departments can now collect data on virtually every aspect of their operations, ranging from the performance of spark plugs to the punctuality of orders arriving. This can inform decision makers at the highest levels by teasing out trends from the massive amounts of data and highlighting areas where improvements can be made or where hidden opportunities may lie.
Many businesses also experience deep cyclical trends, on yearly, monthly, weekly or even daily bases. IoT technology, through careful monitoring of all aspects of operations, can clue decision makers in to the natural patterns of their business. This information can actually be used to smooth low points in cyclical trends. A simple example might be a bar owner offering happy hour at an off time, after having installed infrared customer counters on the entrance. But it can also be used in much more sophisticated ways, such as an online gaming company offering customer-tailored deposit bonuses that are apportioned by AI algorithms. Any cyclical trend that can be identified through networking and data technology can be potentially remediated.
Another huge wealth of actionable information that can be provided by IoT technology is the ways in which customers use products. When used skillfully, this can allow businesses to not only tailor their products to their core demographic group, but allow a product range within that group that will most appeal to its largest identifiable subtypes of customers.
The company FitBit, for example, uses its exercise devices to capture detailed data regarding its customers walking, jogging and sleep habits. It then uses that data to create products that more closely fit the habits of its core customers. Another example is the jet engine manufacturer Rolls Royce. Through the collection of detailed information about how its customers use its engines in real-world situations, the company is able to optimize its engines’ for specific kinds of use. For example, engines installed on an Airbus A-319 will be used far more frequently in both idle states and for full power climbouts. This is a radically different user profile than that of an A-380, which will mostly use the engines at 70 percent cruise power. Rolls Royce uses this data to actually change the way in which the engines, which by appearances are very similar, are constructed.