The Internet of Things (IoT) is everywhere today. This deluge of the technology may make it feel like some IoT applications are more necessary and useful than others. For instance, you don’t need a smart home to survive. But smart traffic controls can save time and lives in today’s crowded metropolitan areas.
Manufacturing and industrial IoT applications bring myriad benefits to the companies that employ and optimize them. But as in our example above, it can be difficult to identify the IoT-enabled advantages that are really making a difference in operations. Let’s look at 5 big benefits that IoT brings to the table for practically every business.
#1: Optimize Supply Chains and Inventory Tracking
Supply chains are deep and complex, and they involve a variety of parties and restrictions. With IoT sensors and scanners, we can closely track the journey of a product as it makes its way across the world. Adding GPS to the mix brings more transparency into the real-time location of a shipment.
Scanners can also be passive RFID readers that scan for barcodes as shipments come in through a loading dock. This saves time and effort for employees, leaving them to work on other business operations.
#2: More Efficient Facility Management
Building costs (lighting/electricity, HVAC, water, and more) take up a big part of a company’s budget and expenses. Fortunately, IoT can help optimize and automate much of the hard work.
Consumer IoT teaches us that segmentation can kick up your IoT application a notch or two. We can apply this to industrial IoT applications by creating separate profiles for each part of the building: the preferences and habits of the occupants of each profile can customize and dictate many aspects of the IoT system, like temperature and lighting.
Because some teams and floors require different environments (conference rooms aren’t always in use, so they can use smart lights while the engineering floor might need lights on between 7 AM to 7 PM), IoT devices can adapt automatically after gathering a few days worth of data. Devices in the system can also keep an eye on movement; for example, the conference rooms most likely don’t need power during the weekends.
The automation of simple optimizations like temperature and lighting saves the end-user time as well. They only need to set up the system once, and from there, it can run itself.
#3: Create a Safer Workplace
IoT sensors can create a safer workplace for employees and maintenance staff. Employees can freely roam to parts of the facility without scanning their badge over and over again because sensors scan their badges in real-time and check against access rules to allow the employee in or block them from entering.
Sensors can also watch over machinery and alert staff when a machine isn’t behaving correctly; these early warnings can save employees from getting hurt or worse. In 2017, over 4,000 employees died of preventable causes, so improving access control and preventative maintenance can literally save lives.
Access control can also help prevent cybersecurity issues by ensuring the sensitive information is in the right hands. Since data breaches can cost an average of $120,000, IoT systems can often pay for themselves quickly after implementation.
#4: Provide Safer Products to Customers
Keeping an eye on perishable goods is extremely important. When something goes wrong in the food supply chain, millions of consumers can be affected or even seriously hospitalized. Achieving compliance and customer safety can be easy for businesses with an IoT system.
Following FDA guidelines for food temperature during each step of the process can seem complex. But automating sensors and analysis tools can help businesses keep an eye on every single product in one spot. For example, food products that need to stay refrigerated cannot be sold if they’ve been sitting for more than two hours at 40°F or higher temperatures.
With wireless connectivity, information not only gets added to the IoT system, but external data from truck locations, power losses in the area, and opening of refrigerator doors can also help determine what to do next. Cutting down reaction time is of the utmost importance: food recalls jumped up by 92% between 2012 and 2017.
#5: Understand Customers Better
For retailers, grabbing customers’ attention on the street and in the shop is important. With location-based sensors, it’s easier to let a passer-by know that the entire store is on sale.
On the other hand, for customers, location-based technology offers geofencing, which can help with everything from real-time walking directions to promotional offers to personalized recommendations. These sensors can even provide directions to the specific product you’re looking for.
Retailers can keep an eye on the sensors to examine what the most popular areas of the store are, making it easier to rearrange products and order more inventory based on predictive analytics. IoT can also help a business learn what hours, locations, and days of the week are most popular for customers.
Dunkin Donuts, headquartered outside of Boston, recently applied geofencing to promote to consumers at nearby competitor locations. 36% of customers took Dunkin Donuts up on their offers.
Take Action Today
We hope you’ve enjoyed this short overview of how IoT can benefit both businesses big and small. In terms of efficiency, compliance, and safety, this technology brings enormous value to the table — value that ends up trickling down to your customers.
Even if you don’t think all 5 of the advantages we covered can be applied to your business, consider how an IoT system can boost your business operations, put some time back in your pocket, and improve the experience for your loyal customers.
Already using IoT in your business? Let us know how in the comments below!Tags: app development Boston, Boston app developer, boston app developers, Boston IoT app developer, Boston IoT app developers, boston mobile app developer, boston tech, internet of things, internet of things app developer, internet of things app developers, internet of things app development, iot app development, IoT app development Boston, IoT customer experience, IoT facility management, IoT maintenance, IoT workplace safety, mobile app developers Boston