Making the right businesses decisions with IoT data.

Almost every business has gaps in its ideal dataset. These data gaps mean that businesses are forced to take risks when making important decisions that could have massive, long-lasting...

Almost every business has gaps in its ideal dataset. These data gaps mean that businesses are forced to take risks when making important decisions that could have massive, long-lasting impacts. These risks are unnecessary, with IoT technology offering live telemetry about virtually every part of your business operations.

When it’s decision time, you could be sitting in front of a complete picture of your current environment, no parts of it. Only with the right dataset, can you make the right decision the first time, every time.

In 2020, the Internet of Things (IoT) devices are everywhere and these can track, monitor, measure and control virtually anything. In the consumer world, IoT means connected appliances, speakers, TVs, blinds, smart lighting and more, but when it comes to business and enterprise use of IoT, we’re talking about more important applications.

Commercial IoT products not only monitor aspects of their environment but given their fairly sophisticated processing abilities on a small footprint, can actually do things in the real world. Open a boom gate as a verified vehicle approaches, change a traffic light for an emergency services vehicle, turn on or of a pump when power is at it’s cheapest, or even optimise the water output and re-use at a drive-through car wash. With IoT, everything gets smarter.

The list of available IoT devices numbers in the tens of thousands, so whatever your business need, there’s almost something you can implement in the IoT space to help you collect the data necessary and automate manual business processes.

Often businesses settle into a pattern of normalised behaviour, setting up systems that work and then are faced with the temptation of leaving them as-is. It is important to constantly re-evaluate business operations to see if there’s a better way.

This self-analysis and current understanding of the products and services in the market are critical in industries with ultra-competitive landscapes. The trouble is, in 2020, you can pick any industry and they’re all racing to implement IoT to have an edge of the competition.

Once you’re on-board with the idea of what IoT can offer, it’s time to pick the business products you want to tackle first, then find the right device to do it. While IoT sounds like a utopia where you can simply plug and play device and it’ll just work, the reality is quite different.

Many IoT hardware makers will also try to sell you a data and analytics platform that features some level alerting. These are usually very limited in scope, which means it may perfectly answer one department’s needs, but have no application for another. The second department is then likely to seek another solution and very quickly you have an issue on your hands relating to the collation and analysis of that data.

In terms of IoT hardware, there are also differences in the networking connectivity they have and of course, battery life. Ensuring you chose a single platform for this is important to the flow of data into your business. It is critical to plan out the flow of data, frequency and volume of data that is about to be created, stored and then backed up. Each sensor’s data may be tiny, but multiple that through hundreds or thousands of points in your business operations and sample every 5 minutes and it’ll add up quickly.

Imagining you have that input side of things sorted, you’ll then need to make sense of the data that comes from the devices, make a decision and sometimes push out a change. Imagine you start monitoring the power output of every piece of electronics in your infrastructure. You then compare operational requirements with the price of power and begin to understand you would save a significant amount of money if you could schedule things to run 5 hours later. As long as variables stay within thresholds, you could delay the operation and bank the saving. If an event occurs and you need to fire up a plant, then you could, but it’d based on live, real-time data, not based on guessing.

With millions of data points, how would you make sense and make business decisions when the data is far too much for a single human to interpret? This is where IoT and AI could work in harmony. Machine Learning could understand what a baseline of normal operations looks like, then generate alerts when things breach those business rules.

The opportunities for improving business decisions is the real benefit to IoT and to understand that better, you should consider the IoT in Action event Microsoft are holding in Melbourne on March 5.

Registration for the event is free, so ask your boss and Register Now.

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
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