Connected things have become part of our daily lives, whether at home, in the workplace or in the industrial world. Thanks to the Internet of Things, they make our daily lives easier, but we often don’t know how they work. Here are some examples to help you understand the IoT phenomenon and the benefits of connected things.
What is the Internet of Things?
Being able to connect things to the Internet has been a revolution in our lives. A first example is mobile phones. We remember the time before they became “smart”, when you could call and text, but it was impossible to watch movies, listen to music or even read books. All these impressive things that smartphones are capable of today.
Thanks to this Internet connection, everyday objects can acquire new benefits. Thus, the concept of the Internet of Thnigs can be summed up quite simply: it means connecting all the things and places in the world to the Internet.
However, a distinction must be made between the consumer IoT and enterprise IoT. Consumer IoT refers to objects like wearables (connected watches, smartphones…) or voice assistants (Google, Alexa by Amazon…) that put the consumer at the heart of their functions. Instead, the use of enterprise IoT can lead to the improvement of existing systems and processes to deliver operational and financial gains accordingly.
How do connected devices work?
In the Internet of Things, all the things connected to the Internet can be divided into 3 categories, each with its own benefits:
- First category : Things that collect information and then send it
These sensors can be of temperature, motion, electricity, or so on. By using an internet connection, these sensors allow us to collect information from the environment, which in turn will allow us to make smarter decisions.
In a factory, knowing at any time the condition of the backup batteries of electrical equipment will allow the operator to know when they need to be replaced. Instead of automatically replacing them every 5 years for example (when they are still operational) or only when they no longer work (which can cause significant service losses), it will be able to schedule their maintenance and replacement at the ideal time. This optimizes maintenance operations and avoids unexpected expenses.
- Second category : Things that receive information and then act on it
We are all very familiar with this kind of object in our daily lives. For example, when a document is sent to a printer and it is printed. Or when the television receives a signal from the remote control and turns it on. The examples are endless.
The full potential of the Internet of Things lies where objects succeed in combining these two actions. Objects that can collect information and send it, but also receive it and act accordingly.
- Third category: Doing both, the goal of an IoT system
Let’s take as an example a rail temperature sensor. The data collected allows the operator to know when to perform maintenance operations to heat the rails during freezing periods. However, reaching the temperature threshold could automatically activate the electric rail heaters, without the need for human intervention.
To go further, if electric heaters receive weather information via the Internet, they could then anticipate icing conditions. Then
maintenance interventions could be scheduled before there is a service failure.
And now, thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence, the information collected by a multitude of sensors can be processed by computer systems that will enable real predictive maintenance to be carried out.
The benefits of IoT
The Internet of Things thus promises a strong added value to each organization. By connecting objects, people and environments, it becomes possible to develop improvements that can only be beneficial.
The main benefits that a company with an IoT system can have are:
- Productivity improvement: IoT allows the monitoring, monitoring and control of the different processes, which optimizes the different operations that increase productivity and efficiency
- Predictive analysis: Thanks to the collection of a large amount of data, IoT’s new technologies make it possible to examine recurring patterns and contribute to predictive analysis, which can be used mainly in maintenance. This precise information will be used to improve existing processes and services
- Rapid response: the data makes it possible to monitor the systems in place in real time and even remotely. They facilitate the optimization of maintenance interventions, but also give the company a strategic advantage in monitoring market developments.
- Reduction of human errors: thanks to the complementarity of technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT makes it possible to reduce human errors due to mundane or repetitive tasks.
The IoT is therefore an asset in helping the company to make decisions and improve its performance. It represents a strategic advantage in a competitive market. This trend will continue to grow, with an estimated 20 billion connected objects worldwide by 2020 (source: Gartner Inc). Faced with their promising future, it is time to take advantage of it and transform your business.
Source : IoT for all