The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming many aspects of how we conduct business today. By enabling wireless connectivity between everyday objects, organizations can unlock tremendous value and develop new capabilities.
Those who understand the power of IoT have the potential to dramatically impact their sectors over the long term. Already, smart homes and Industry 4.0 are gaining momentum as more and more companies leverage the technology.
Going forward, expect to see IoT bring many new applications to life that change how we conduct and operate businesses.
The Internet of Things Defined
The term IoT refers to the networking of objects via embedded wireless technology. IoT devices can monitor their surrounding environments and share information with other systems for further processing. As a result, we can outsource certain responsibilities and automate manual activities.
By 2020, there will be more than 30 billion IoT devices operating worldwide and by 2025, there will be more than 75 billion installed globally. In terms of economic value, the IoT market was worth $170 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow to $560 billion by 2022.
IoT Disrupting Manufacturing
One of the spaces already experiencing major transformation at the hands of IoT technology is the manufacturing sector. Companies are embedding sensors into industrial equipment and machines, thereby enabling on-the-floor automation.
For example, users can program IoT devices to monitor assembly line production and performance. Sensors can also be installed in equipment to detect malfunctions early and alert factory supervisors when potential problems are surfacing.
As a result, manufacturers are able to optimize workflows in real time. According to The Atlantic, two-thirds of manufacturing companies today have already launched smart-factory initiatives that depend on IoT devices.
Optimizing Agriculture & Energy Use
Both the agriculture and energy sectors are also undergoing change as a result of IoT innovation. With networks of interconnected devices, farmers are able to monitor the health of their crops and livestock more easily. They can also receive automatically generated resource use and depletion reports, saving significant time and energy.
On the energy side, companies are able to bill customers more precisely using smart meters that are supported by IoT technology. These meters can track energy consumption, as well as energy contributions from those who use green technologies.
Giving Life to Smart Homes and Supply Chains
One of the most popular and well-known applications for IoT has been inside the home. Supported by smart devices, such as Amazon’s Echo and Apple TV, everyday appliances can communicate throughout the house and help homeowners save money or increase the security of their residences.
Supply chain asset tracking will also become much more prevalent as products in transit can be equipped with IoT sensors. These sensors can send live updates on the locations of individual products which increases transparency in supply chain operations.
Combining Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, & IoT
Together, next-gen cryptocurrency, blockchain, and IoT technologies can automate complex functionality and disrupt sectors in many ways. Today, there are more than 1,500 cryptocurrencies in the market, many of which are designed to leverage IoT.
IOTA is one such digital currency that enables IoT devices machine-to-machine microtransactions without any fees. As a result, new business models are emerging that don’t require any human input.
Every day innovators are developing more and more applications for IoT devices. By embedding sensors into common objects, businesses can collect high-quality data and automate expensive, time-consuming processes. Over time, the technology will continue to mature and more organizations will learn how to use IoT effectively.