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The benefit of IoT
for business:
Looking past
the buzzword

Author: Jacob Roundy

You probably noticed that the acronym IoT, which stands for Internet of Things, constantly appears in headlines these days.  But in many instances, it's a reference to some fancy consumer tech, like a refrigerator or a doorbell camera, that can connect to the Internet. If you didn't know better, you might think it's become such a broadly-used buzzword that it's lost all meaning for the business world.

However, that's not the case. Sometimes, you need to look past the surface to see the value that runs deeper. The Internet of Things can bring about real possibilities for your organization and open new doors for you.  The following examples illustrate the real business benefits of IoT, complete with practical applications in a variety of industries. Take a look, keep an open mind, and consider how this technology can deliver positive business outcomes for your organization.

The following examples illustrate the real business benefits of IoT for business, complete with practical applications in a variety of industries. Take a look, keep an open mind, and consider how this technology can impact your organization when taken seriously.

Transportation: Identify and correct faults before they happen

In the transportation industry, internet-connected devices are proving their worth in the form of sensors, cameras, and more, resulting in a more robust monitoring infrastructure. For example, you can fit train tracks and railways with sensors that can monitor components and detect issues in real time. Instead of encountering an unplanned breakdown or surprise maintenance issues, these sensors could send an automatic notification about an issue before it causes a problem. Then engineers can proactively address the issue and potentially avoid most costly repair or maintenance.

Thanks to this type of technology, railway engineers can also monitor infrastructure and inspect components remotely. In turn, periodic maintenance and inspections could occur less frequently, and predictive algorithms could help speed up repairs prevent cascading effects. In the transportation industry, these devices are helping companies save time and even protect workers and passengers from component failure.

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.

Retail: Never lose track of precious stock

Before the age of IoT-enabled sensors, retail stores spent countless hours counting inventory by hand. In the process, human error could lead to overstocking items or the opposite: shelves sitting empty thanks to a lack of visibility into customer demand and supply.

Now, you can attach sensors to shelves in stores and warehouses to track what items need restocking in real time. These sensors can detect weight and automatically send notifications to the network when an item gets low on stock. Accurately monitoring stock is vital to an efficient supply chain, and it also saves time, so employees can be redirected to more strategic tasks that benefit the bottom line.

Beyond inventory, retailers can also use sensors to track delivery times and the status of their stock on vehicles. Real-time updates allow for more transparency at the consumer level regarding delivery and shipping, and it can lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction. In the warehouse, these sensors can help workers prioritize shipments and optimize operations for faster deliveries—it's a win-win scenario.

As yet another example of IoT in the retail sector, consider a new Verizon-supported mobile device that retailers can use to accept all types of payments (including contactless) anytime, anywhere, as well as manage inventories, customer loyalty programs, and more. Customers can use the device, for example, to manage their entire business and potentially realize new operational efficiencies.

Manufacturing: Create new revenue streams

The manufacturing industry uses much of the same technology as retail and transportation but applies it differently. For example, you can install sensors to track and monitor raw materials, giving you a better understanding of where your products are in real time. Taking it a level deeper, sensors can also detect if environmental conditions, such as humidity, might affect the quality of the raw material during transit.

Beyond the supply chain, manufacturers have used internet-connected devices to monitor machines for irregularities in vibration, temperature and pressure. If a component is flagged, the system will notify the appropriate worker and provide a recommended action or next step to follow. This type of preventive maintenance and pinpoint accurate alert system can help manufacturers optimize machine performance and stay on schedule.

By combining the uses of these types of sensors, organizations can assert more control over the production process, from start to finish. It can help you realize efficiencies and spend less time on tedious breakdowns.

A great example of this is a company acquired by Verizon known as incubed IT that focuses on the future of robotic automation. Incubed IT’s award-winning software enables robots to localize and navigate autonomously and can be easily integrated into nearly any mobile robot. Their products include:

  • Smart Shuttle Navigation Toolkit: Transmits near real-time data to navigate autonomous mobile robots (AMRs)
  • Fleet Management Server: Manages AMR Fleet & Routing Operations
  • Data Monitoring & Analytics: Near real-time monitoring and advanced reporting

Realize the benefits of IoT for business and start pursuing new business objectives today

Clearly, this type of technology can help you reduce costs, streamline processes and achieve business goals. It's time to look beyond the buzzword and discover how you can use IoT for business solutions to open new doors for your organization.

Start planning today how you can introduce this technology and measure results over time.  When you think outside the box and apply/deploy these solutions, you can begin to recognize true business benefits and realize the Internet of Things is more than just a fancy fridge.

Discover how you can expand your business's horizons with Verizon's IoT solutions.