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

Enhance Compliance Processes
The Internet of Things can enhance compliance processes by sensing a wide variety of conditions: temperature, humidity, air pressure, smoke, proximity, light, radiation, toxic gases, weight, speed, momentum, orientation, electromagnetism, vibration, sonic levels, speech and much more. As conditions move dangerously close to non-compliance, automated remedies, alerts, alarms and escalations can be triggered, while the events are logged for later reference. We are seeing compliance-focused IoT applications in everything from agriculture to transportation.

At a modern slaughterhouse, an IoT application for food traceability tracks the entire supply chain so that any individual cut of meat can be traced to the source animal.

Greyhound, as an example, is loading every bus with new technology, including adaptive cruise control and sensors on brakes, so it can assess drivers' safety compliance.

Reduce Risk
The Internet of Things can also reduce risk across a wide variety of business processes. Applications for perimeter access control, avalanche early-warning systems, fire detection, pollutant monitoring, leak detection, tampering detection, and many other risk reduction and avoidance systems are using IoT technologies.

For example, an IoT application currently controls backstage access to hundreds of sporting and entertainment venues across the United States through a network of pass readers and access-control devices.

The ROI of the IoT
Although there are ample opportunities to leverage IoT technologies, before a company calculates a return on investment (ROI), there are several other pieces that need to be in place. Millions of micro-transactions per second—involving vast networks of sensors, controllers, beacons, smartphones, tablets and other devices—will require systems that can handle large volumes of data using in-memory computing approaches. You will also need integration platforms to enable data sharing between customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and back-end financial and manufacturing systems.

However, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Consider, for example, all of the increased efficiencies that can be experienced by the automotive industry. Traffic-management systems can provide more accurate instructions to avoid traffic jams and accidents based on real-time data collected from connected cars. Automotive parts manufacturers can benefit from data revealing wear and tear, prompting them to pre-order replacement parts and notify drivers before equipment failures occur. Car-sharing apps can use real-time location information to encourage car pools. There are even proposals for insurance systems that would adjust their rates based on vehicles' geolocation and driving behavior.

The Internet of Things can streamline manufacturing processes as well. After all of the sensors and information-sharing systems are in place, businesses can generate a significant return on investment to make a profit from the IoT.

Glenn Johnson is the senior VP of Magic Software Enterprises Americas. He has presented his views on the Internet of Things at dozens of industry meetings and conferences, and his interviews about software industry issues have been aired on NBC's Today Show, as well as E! News and Discovery.

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