Today, companies can network their own systems in ways that were unimaginable until just a few years ago. This ever-advancing networking allows companies to gain more and more data, which equates to a significant competitive advantage. To make all this possible, the IoT, the Internet of Things, is indispensable. The following guide explains what IoT is all about and the advantages it offers.
IoT stands for the Internet of Things. This term refers to the networking of all kinds of devices and sensors through the Internet. The IoT is used for simple household applications such as the smartwatch, as well as for highly complicated applications in the industrial and healthcare sectors.
For users, the IoT has the advantage of making their own everyday lives increasingly uncomplicated and easier to manage through connectivity. Companies are using the IoT to collect data to improve customer experiences, as well as to automate and optimize processes. It is impossible to imagine our private and professional lives without the IoT and it will occupy an increasingly important position in the future.
In our everyday lives, we encounter countless examples of IoT applications every day. Whether in our own car, while shopping in the supermarket, playing sports or in our own home: IoT is now used everywhere. For example, in the form of smartwatches, intelligent heating systems, networked lighting or for reporting a service interval due to a car repair shop: It is impossible to imagine our everyday lives without the IoT.
The above examples already show how important the IoT has become for customers. But IoT is also becoming increasingly important for modern companies outside of direct customer contact. In the following paragraphs, we will use three examples to explain why IoT will be indispensable for business success in the future.
A large construction site with hundreds of different employees, machines and resources is a real planning challenge. One of the biggest problems in the past was that it was virtually impossible to predict when a particular machine would fail. After all, especially with machines that are used as heavily as in the construction industry, it often happens that parts have to be replaced or repaired.
Such repair is usually time-consuming. In the meantime, operation on the construction site cannot continue, which can mean an extreme financial expense or loss for the contractor. That's why the construction industry is increasingly turning to the IoT. This involves attaching sensors to the parts that experience has shown to fail most often.
As soon as such a sensor then reports the imminent failure of a part, a repair can be planned or a replacement for the construction equipment can be organized in good time. In addition, these sensors are also increasingly being used to improve driver performance.
The logistics industry was one of the first sectors to use IoT to track containers across the board. While specific nodes were initially used to collect data for this purpose, today only battery-powered trackers are used for this purpose, which enable seamless tracking of each individual container or load.
But the logistics industry is also using IoT devices and services for trucks, ships and aircraft in order to always be able to precisely query the condition of their own vehicles, similar to the construction industry. In addition, the IoT data obtained is also used to optimize routes or driver behavior.
One area where IoT is currently being used more and more is in the healthcare industry. The use of health trackers or similar applications on the smartwatch enables insurers, for example, to help users in a more targeted manner and at the same time offer favorable rates.
In addition, IoT devices and applications are being used to provide the safest and most convenient care possible for patients in their own homes. For example, sensors at the mailbox can provide information on whether the patient is active, and sensors at the medication dispenser can provide information on whether all tablets are also being taken reliably.
Companies are using the IoT to collect as much data as possible. This data, in turn, is used to improve user experiences, work processes, resource allocation and model development, for example. For all these services, however, the data obtained must of course also be stored and, above all, evaluated. To do this, companies access two different systems: edge and cloud computing.
Cloud computing allows the operator to access the data and devices of the respective IoT system from anywhere and at any time. However, especially if a system has many devices and therefore a large amount of data streams, the cloud or the connection to the cloud can quickly become overloaded.
This is precisely why edge computing is increasingly being used in connection with the IoT. Here, data is read and processed decentrally at the edges of a network. Automated decisions are also increasingly being made by edge computing applications. Only the most important information or decisions are then passed on to the cloud. In this way, IoT networks can be made significantly more effective and often also less expensive.