The Internet of Things (IoT) is a topic that has received a lot of attention in recent times and has now become a buzzword of sorts in most business circles.
While there seem to be various interpretations and different definitions of the terminology, here is an explanation that completely encapsulates the essence of this concept.
Broadly speaking, the Internet of Things is an ideology of a fluid, encompassing and universal network of devices that have a laser-beam purpose of facilitating clever co-ordination amongst the devices themselves as well as between the devices and humans.
Simply put, IoT is about combining devices over the internet, letting them communicate with us, applications and each other.
While the definition might come across as somewhat palatable, understanding, it's real value is an entirely different ball game. As with any technological advancement, many organisations have set out to find avenues for capitalising on this new shiny trend.
Overall, the general appeal of the Internet of Things seems to revolve around data. How information is produced (through the inter-connectivity of the devices) and how it can be used to create a mutually beneficial ecosystem for companies and their clients.
With that said, here some suggestions of how businesses in different industries can leverage IoT to unearth a competitive advantage:
- 1) Fully understand what kind of data you have
- 2) Put a data collection plan in place
- 3) Take small steps
- 4) Scale! Scale!! Scale!!!
1. Fully understand what kind of data you have
In today's climate, data is the new oil. It is such a valuable commodity that can make or break a business operation.
The step here is to understand the type of data that is pertinent to your business. For example, in an agricultural business, information about the equipment, temperature of the soil, moisture, etc.
Once you're able to articulate such information, you'll be in a great position to use all the connected sensors (AKA devices) to monitor these factors in the hopes of improving overall productivity and efficiency.
2. Put a data collection plan in place
The next step is to ensure that the information you're collecting for the performance improvement purposes is useful and reliable devoid of being time and financially costly.
3. Take small steps in your data analysation
Just so you don't get overwhelmed, start small and define a few simple analytical problems that do not require tonnes of data.
This way, whether it's quantitative or qualitative information your analysing, you're able to be thorough and unearth the hidden gems you need to advance your business better.
4. Scale! Scale!! Scale!!!
The is the process of evaluation - basically, seeing how the information you've gleaned has affected your business, in terms of moving the productivity needle forward and where it has fallen short. Then making the necessary tweaks make correct such failures and move forward. After which you wash, rinse and repeat!
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