Can you explain IoT without saying IoT?

Published: Sep 27, 2017
Author: Vic Bhagat 


I’m tired of hearing about IoT (Internet of Things)—it seems like the acronym appears in every other sentence on social media and in the press at the moment. It’s become such a buzzword that it’s lost its punch. We hear so much about cool consumer tech and children’s toys being hacked, the real business benefits of IoT are being overlooked.

Don’t get hung up on what it’s called or how it works—what really matters are the possibilities for your organization and which doors IoT could open for you. To tackle this buzzword, I’m setting myself a challenge: explain the practical examples and business benefits of IoT without saying IoT. Here goes…

What it can do for you

Identify and correct faults before they even happen

I’m going to take the transport industry as an example. Train tracks can be fitted with sensors to detect a faulty part and let you know about it in real time. Instead of having breakdowns and surprise maintenance issues, you are able to predict and address a problem before it occurs—and avoid a lot of the cost and hassle associated with it happening.

Imagine knowing that one of your machines has a fault before it goes out of use. Crucial information like this could transform the way you operate your business, provide a much clearer picture of what goes on and even extend your asset life significantly.

Never lose track of precious stock

Is your stock getting damaged in transit? Are shelves sitting empty in your stores? Accurately monitoring your stock whether it’s in your trucks or on premises is vital to an efficient supply chain. Some retailers are not only using sensors to track delivery times and the status of vehicles, they’re also using connected robots to monitor stock levels in-store. This level of insight could provide the knowledge you need to make better informed decisions, find operational savings and enhance your internal processes.

Create new revenue streams

Imagine having the insight into customer behavior you need to customize and even expand your offering. Automotive insurance is a good example of this. Insurance telematics are enabling some businesses to tailor their insurance down to the number of miles a policy holder drives. And it’s not just the insurance industry that can benefit. Think of a manufacturer of agricultural equipment. Instead of just selling a tractor, it can hire one out and then charge on a usage basis. It can even collect data to help farmers improve crop cultivation.

The valuable customer data you can collect can open doors you may not have known existed—and it could even create new channels of revenue. You could expand your offering and provide another level of personalized service to encourage customer retention and loyalty.

Pursue business objectives

This kind of technology can help you reduce costs, streamline processes and achieve your business goals. And it is likely to open metaphorical doors you have never seen before. It could even help maintain these doors, monitor the hinges and ensure a high level of opening and closing efficiency. Don’t get hung up on the technology or the terminology, just start realizing the true business benefits. There, I got to the end without saying IoT once. Oh…

 

Vic Bhagat is Senior Vice President and global CIO of Verizon Enterprise. As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, Vic focuses on innovation, product development and technological systems, helping Verizon Enterprise lead digital acceleration with customer-centered solutions.