Introduction to the IoT for companies: early opportunities

It is estimated that by 2020 there will be between 25 and 50 billion devices connected to the Internet, surpassing even the number of people

We first heard of the Internet of Things (IoT) a few years ago as a future innovation, but it is now a reality that has just begun. It is increasingly common to come across devices that are connected to each other and/or the Internet, enabling remotely controlled services, activities and data that pave the way for a vast array of possibilities.

The IoT is a set of technologies and use cases without a single and clear definition, but it can basically be described as a new world, like our Internet, but one where things are interconnected, or more specifically: devices share with each other the variables that have been collected by different types of sensors.

These interconnected devices will make it easier to perform a large number of processes and also create new ones. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be between 25 and 50 billion devices connected to the Internet, surpassing even the number of people.

This will improve quality of life and company operations, resulting in increased and new services and business models.

 

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the amount invested in the Internet of Things is estimated to reach $745 billion by 2019, for a 15.4% year-on-year increment. Additionally, worldwide spending on matters related to the IoT is expected to grow steadily over the next few years, surpassing $1 billion by 2022.

What can the IoT offer to businesses?

Competitive advantages and added value

The IoT has new features and services that add value to companies, making it easier to differentiate themselves against the competition. For example, the efficient use of land, irrigation and fertilizers through the coordinated use of sensors will lead to products that are much fresher and environmentally sustainable.

Efficient processes and operations

Real-time information about the status of products and/or services makes it possible to optimize processes and improve productivity. For example, with the IoT, the time needed to ship a load of flowers from Colombia to Europe can be calculated precisely, ensuring they arrive in the best condition possible and virtually eliminating waste.

Disrupting business models

This helps to create new lines of business and consumer formulas, such as the sharing economy or pay per use, involving countless agents in a coordinated manner. An example is a hotel whose availability and menus are 100% autonomously coordinated with the tourism buses that are scheduled to arrive.

More in-depth knowledge about consumers

Greater access to information and data leads to a deeper understanding about what customers want, at the right time during production or the product’s management.

What are the benefits?

– Optimized efficiency and lower costs in an end-to-end logistics chain.

– Increasingly efficient complex computer systems, minimizing platforms and human errors.

– Automatic and autonomous interaction between sensors, quickly identifying points of failure and improving process efficiency.

– Real-time overview of products and the production chain, reducing costs through modifications and improving rerouting.

How to begin using the IoT

1. Identify a problem or need in your product or service.

2. Ask yourself and analyze: Is the IoT the best way to address it? Can we truly fix the problem? Would it be costly or efficient using this technology?

3. Review the technology ecosystem: What existing elements can I use to solve my problem? What else will I need?

4. Prototype your idea by creating a scale model to view and assess the solution’s impact.

5. Pause, reflect and adjust your prototype.

Once the prototype is operational, you will have fixed your problem or improved a process using IoT technology, and it can now be mass-produced. Throughout the process, specialists with extensive experience in systems integration and technology must accompany us. They should operate as enablers and agents between the various players involved in order to minimize risk and successfully undertake the challenges posed by the IoT.

 

Alejandro Ulloa
alejandro.ulloa@nae.com.co

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Nae works with telecom operators, large companies and public administrations to anticipate the challenges of market growth and transformation, improving their business strategy and operational efficiency. The company has offices in Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Costa Rica, and has a team of over 600 professionals.