Of the many technology-driven changes to businesses during the past couple of decades, few have had more of an impact than the Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT refers to a network of physical objects, people and processes enabled by sophisticated technological capabilities, typically software or sensors, that allow the devices and systems to communicate and exchange data with each other.
As the technology has matured and expanded into different industries, IoT and intelligent systems providers have grown to offer not just a platform, but a set of out-of-the-box solutions that can address specific problems with great efficiency. These prescriptive offerings can address an organization’s biggest challenges and opportunities and deliver significant value.
It wasn’t always that way. First-generation automation, while still beneficial, left much to be desired.
These initiatives often required significant capital investments up front, involved long deployment cycles and heavily depended on implementation by designated System Integrators. On top of that, first-generation automation could be inflexible, hard to reprogram and burdensome to replicate and scale.
Fast forward to today. As ABI Research outlines in their whitepaper titled Digital Transformation: What’s New, What’s Next, And What It All Means, IoT technology and intelligent systems have grown by leaps and bounds.
Rather than making significant investments in search of a problem to solve, most companies have a concrete idea of what they’d like to accomplish and utilize IoT on a use-case basis. Organizations can leverage specific solutions to use as a proof of concept before increasing their IoT investment companywide. Deployment cycles are much faster than they used to be and the technology isn’t only for specialists. It’s more agile, more flexible, easier to replicate and simpler to scale.
As a result, IoT tech and intelligent systems can provide significant value to companies in ways they did not before.
One illustrative example is the incorporation of machine intelligence and actionable analytics. Together, these capabilities can deliver not just descriptive analytics (identifying a problem on a factory floor) but also predictive analytics (forecasting when problems will occur) and prescriptive analytics (suggesting the corrective action).
Managed properly, that information offers real power.
By using condition-based monitoring for predictive maintenance, companies can avoid costly unplanned downtime and defects in production. They can also achieve improved quality control and streamline operations.
A couple more benefits to investing in IoT analytics: it gives manufacturers a safe, economical way to experiment with product, process and place parameters. It can also drive new business propositions, such as power-by-the-hour in the transportation industry or Data-as-a-Service reporting in equipment performance.
The IoT helps industrial companies monitor, analyze and visualize data in ways never thought possible and empowers them to drive efficiency and business decisions based on a truly holistic view.
As ABI Research notes, the total installed base of AI-enabled devices in industrial manufacturing alone is expected to reach 15+ million by 2024. The connected world is here to stay.
To learn more about digital transformation and the new role that Internet of Things solutions and intelligent systems will play moving forward, download the analysis here.