A quick guide to understanding Internet of Things

Vijay Bhaskar, DGM – IT and CIO, Visa Steel Limited, gives us a crash course on IoT and why IT departments everywhere are focused on it.

“The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the world, from the way we drive to how we make purchases—even how we get energy for our homes,” says Vijay Bhaskar, who has been in the IT industry for over 20 years, and at Visa Steel Limited for the last 10. He was recently recognised as an ERP Icon at CIO Power List 2016. At the moment, he is fascinated with the Internet of Things and he tells is more about what he’s learnt. “IoT is changing the world, from the way we drive to how we make purchases—even how we get energy for our homes,” he adds. “Sophisticated sensors and chips are embedded in the physical things surrounding us and each of them transmits valuable data. But how exactly do all these devices share such large quantities of data? Furthermore, how do we put that information to work, whether we are improving the production of a factory or giving the real-time updates on parking slots at shopping malls or monitoring the health of human beings?”

The uniqueness of IoT
IoT is the common Internet of things platform that provides a common language for devices and apps to communicate with each other. The process starts from the device system itself to securely communicate with an IoT platform. This platform integrates the data from many devices, applies its logic to make this data reliable with the applications, addressing industry specific needs. In a nutshell, ‘IoT is a network of physical objects and equipment with sensors that are connected and can exchange data to deliver advanced capabilities.’

“IoT links smart objects to the Internet and it enables an exchange of data never available before, while also bringing information in a more secure way. There’s an estimate, that by 2020, IoT will consist of 50 billion devices connected to the Internet, which will provide deeper insights, with analytics using these IoT systems to enhance productivity, create new business models, and generate new revenue streams.”

Realising the value of IoT
In a recent study conducted by Vodafone, it was revealed that companies are investing 24 per cent of their average IT budget on IoT, on par with cloud computing or data analytics. The report noted that 89 per cent of firms investing in IoT have increased their budgets over the last 12 months. It said IoT technologies will be critical for the future success of any organisation. Almost 63 per cent of IoT adopters are seeing significant returns on investment. The report also observed that 46 per cent of the companies surveyed intend to develop new IoT-based products and services over the next two years. And more than half, or 52 per cent, of consumer electronics companies are using IoT technologies as the basis for a new generation of applications for connected homes. From connected cars to smart cities, the Internet of Things (IoT) will be everywhere.”

Benefits to businesses
Today we are seeing the tip of the iceberg when thinking about the vast potential of IoT. The real innovation is set to take place behind the scenes in the Industrial Internet of Things. The real business imperatives arising from adoption of IoT will be operational efficiency and incremental revenue generation opportunities.

Connected devices and network sensors will reinvent and optimise the efficiency of business processes and global supply chains in sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, energy management, transportation, agriculture, etc. This IoT will give these organisations a greater ability to control machines, factories, and infrastructure that form their physical operating environments. As more devices and sensors are becoming online, there will be significant acceleration in the volume, variety and velocity of data being created.

“Combining the insights gleaned from analysis of this ‘big data’ with a greater level of control, IoT will allow businesses to automate processes and reduce equipment downtime with predictive maintenance. This will help them to improve product quality, increase throughput and realise potentially enormous cost savings.” 

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