How to Profit from the Internet of Things

Costs are a major consideration, but from better engaging with your customers to improving regulatory compliance, IoT technologies offer a wide range of business benefits.
By Glenn Johnson
Oct 28, 2015

The Internet of Things may be the next big money-maker, but industry leaders are still debating how to unlock its potential value. In fact, while most companies say that the IoT will likely boost their sales and efficiency, few of them have a clear implementation strategy in place.

While the IoT may be regarded as a new trend, several systems based on radio frequency identification, machine controls, and sensors, which form the foundation of the IoT, have already been implemented. With the rapid growth in the number of networked devices and sensors, as well as the potential openness and integration of many networks, there are numerous opportunities for businesses to profit from the IoT.

Enhance Customer Experience
IoT-enabled technologies deliver improved, next generation customer service—with enormous benefits to consumers—and multiple advantages to manufacturers, retailers, telecommunications firms and other service providers. Businesses equipped with the large quantities of data collected via the IoT are better able to understand their customers, leading to more personalized product offerings and more efficient service organizations.

Beacons, sensors, machines and mobile devices can all work together to improve customer experiences. More than half of the top 20 newspapers in the United States currently use IoT systems to enable robots to place regional ad inserts in local editions.

Imagine a rental car with a locator beacon. Can't find your rental car? Don't even remember what color it is? No problem. Activate the rental car company app, press "locate," and the app will walk you to your car.

Improve Operational Efficiency
The Internet of Things has helped improve industrial output. IoT systems have been used to create production dashboards that utilize real-time data from the factory floor and then integrate this information with enterprise systems, enabling managers to continuously improve manufacturing efficiency.

Health care has embraced the IoT to turn data-sharing between medical devices (via Internet, Intranet or RFID) into a lifesaving operation. Information is transmitted between different devices to support everything from relieving minor illnesses to hospital inventory management, to correcting life-threatening conditions.

For example, an IoT system is currently being used to automate the retrieval of medical supplies for placement on surgical trays. The IoT system knows whether the surgeon is right- or left–handed, and the robotic system retrieves parts in the proper order, even taking into account the preferences of individual physicians. The solution increases the efficient use of the hospital's extremely busy surgery staff.

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