Organisations are increasingly embracing the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) in order to drive efficiencies, better understand worker behaviour, enhance customer service and improve the decision making process.
But what is IoT, how does it work and how does it help your business?
What is IoT?
IoT is essentially the embedding of sensors, software and other technologies into “things” – that is people, objects, animals, PPE, etc. Essentially, it is a web of interconnected data collecting technologies that collect and collate this data, without the need for human interaction or intervention.
How does it work?
Imagine if all of your remote workers on site had a hard hat that transmitted their exact locations and movements throughout the day. Or your Bobcat in the Pilbara had sensors in its tyres that gave you the current tyre pressure – live, at all times. Or your refrigerated delivery truck has a thermometer in it that was constantly tracking and transmitting the internal temperature of the truck to your phone. This is essentially what IoT aims to do. It removes the need for your workers to check in every hour, or someone to manually check the tyre pressure of the Bobcat every day, or for your truck driver to do constant temperature checks on their truck. It removes the human element and proactively automates the process, through the use of sensors.
How does it help?
The IoT opens up an array of sensory data that is now available to your business. You can track where your workers are moving, how long they spend at each location and how much travel time they have. Alternatively, it can allow you to proactively track the condition of hard to get to equipment (inside machines, in remote locations, etc.) where a sensor can be used to measure the amount of ware on a part, allowing you to better track and mitigate maintenance needs – rather than waiting until something is broken before it gets replaced.
Access to more data, means the ability to make smarter decisions, based on what is happening right now and predict what might happen next. This removes the delay between action and reaction, creating the possibility to analyse and create more efficiencies, or remove the risk of a catastrophic event from occurring, by having all of the data that you need at your fingertips.
What does this mean?
Although the implications of IoT opens up a whole new world of process improvement opportunities, it also brings a number of new challenges that will need to be tackled to make sure that we transition to these new technologies seamlessly.
With the ability to collect data from thousands of different sources comes the need to be able to store and process this data. The need for companies to have a ready-to-go, cloud-based system is essential to ensure your data is always available and that there is enough space to actually store and process the information at well. If your company isn’t ready to go when IoT becomes the norm, you will be left behind!
Data is important, but it really isn’t any use if you don’t have a way to organise it and integrate it with your other systems. For example, if the data from your sensor on your Bobcat tyres in the Pilbara isn’t connected to your relevant ERP solution, there will be no way for your maintenance team to be notified when the tyre pressure is getting low. Therefore, it is important for your business to be ready with the right platform to make this happen.
Finally, the ability for a whole array of “things” to be able to transmit data, the question has to be raised about security. How is the data being transmitted? Where is it being stored? How secure are both of these processes? These questions mean that businesses need to change the way they plan and implement new systems, to ensure that your sensitive data is going to be secure.
To find out more about IoT and how it will affect your business, get in contact here.