The what, why, and how behind the Internet of Things
Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and M2M (machine to machine) communications were top buzzwords of the past two years. According to Zebra’s “Building Value from Visibility: 2012 Enterprise Internet of Things Adoption Outlook” survey, this trend is particularly evident in Asia – where seven in 10 organisations are planning to implement IoT solutions within the next two years, compared to five in 10 organisations globally. As we enter into 2014, everybody, from leaders of Fortune 500 companies, to innovative start-ups, is still talking about how the ‘Internet of Things’ will change the way businesses operate. In fact, a recent report by The Economist states that APAC businesses are the most optimistic about IoT with 43 per cent of those surveyed in the region believing that IoT impact will be significant across all industries, compared to 35 per cent in North America and 34 per cent in EMEA.
Speculation is rampant over what companies can do with a massive influx of data about their products, supply chains, and processes. But one thing is certain – the deluge of data and connectivity will only snowball and increase. On this front, Morgan Stanley has predicted that there could be as many at 75 billion connected devices by 2020.
As data and connectivity become more interwoven and complex, it’s increasingly important for businesses to understand exactly what is happening, and how they need to adapt to the evolving business and operational landscape. Unfortunately, the term ‘Internet of Things’ is currently used in so many ways that it seems like an abstract concept with no universally accepted definition. To ensure that they are able to stay ahead of the game, and enjoy bottom-line benefits, businesses need to familiarize themselves with IoT and how it can help their operations.
Let’s start by taking a step back to break down this concept and shed some light on an idea that is real, live and that will continue to change the world we live in.
What does IoT stand for and what does it really mean?
IoT stands for the Internet of Things, which is another way to describe a network of interconnected devices, people or equipment. Once connected, the devices can send data to each other or a person, who can analyze the data and choose to remotely manipulate the devices. IoT devices can also interact directly with each other without the need for human intervention.
The term ‘Internet of Things’ was coined by Kevin Ashton, a British technology pioneer who co-founded the Auto-ID Center at MIT, in his efforts to develop a new global standard in managing company supply chains.
Why are people talking about IoT?
As another popular saying goes, “Knowledge is power.” The sensors that are placed on items that bring them into the Internet of Things become goldmines of data that can then be collected, analyzed and mined for valuable business insights. The wealth of available data on a company’s processes can help them cut costs or grow their operations by being more efficient. According to the study by The Economist, overall investment in IoT has seen year-on-year increase with 73 per cent of respondents from Asia Pacific raising investments budgets, compared to 69 per cent in North America, and 65 per cent in Europe. This is in line with findings from Zebra’s 2012 Enterprise Internet of Things Adoption Outlook survey that identified Asia as leading IoT implementations globally.
Across the globe, CIOs and leading business leaders are beginning to see how an ecosystem of connected devices can translate into more business information, operational efficiencies and revenue-generating opportunities.
How is IoT created and how does it work?
IoT is made possible through tiny sensors embedded on items that collect data. That information is then stored in a single location, like the cloud. After all the data is collected, businesses can filter through information and turn it into useful readouts or dashboards. Executives have access the real-time information, which allows them to get deeper insights on their current operations and processes and have the ability to make faster, smarter business decisions.
Click here to find out what does all this mean for your business and how can you get plugged into IoT? Check in again for our next post where we dispel some of the common myths and share top issues to take note of when considering IoT adoption in Retail.
This is a guest post by Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific, the Registration Sponsor at Cards & Payments Asia 2014 expo.