How can the IoT benefit my business?

We now know what IoT is all about, it's about connecting machines, devices, our ‘things’ to the internet. The reasons for connecting them is to collect data from those things, so we know what’s going on with them.

Of course, there are some costs involved in connecting our stuff, so what benefits would we get from incurring those costs? First, we will look at the day to day operational benefits, along with the longer-term strategic benefits of using the IoT. Secondly, we consider the financial benefits.

Business benefits of connecting the IoT

Operational Benefits Strategic Benefits
Knowing where things are, spotting traffic problems, changing delivery schedules, re-routing drivers ‘on the fly’ Optimising routes, Staffing level planning, Driver re-training, vehicle performance evaluation
Fire, Smoke, Water, Access Breach Actuarial data for insurers, Statistical data for first responders
Call to action when limits breached, open/close, stop/start decisions on associated devices Cold chain records for perishable goods, QA metrics against contract
Real time monitoring of power and water usage Data for billing purposes
Action to refill when empty, action to sudden loss of level Historic rates of use for production planning.
Call to action on leak detection Flow meter data for capacity planning, leak losses for planning repair/renewal schedules
Call to action when machine is down or to prompt re-fill when product is sold out. What products are selling/not selling? Comparisons with other machines for optimising location.
Real time information on parking availability Historic data to monitor peak time use, adjusting charging structure
Call to action on lamp failure Data on failure rate of lamps and power consumption
Call to action on bin levels for collection. Historic data on rate of bin filling, route planning for bin collection.
Medical response, call prompt to lone worker, colleague assistance Staffing levels, lone worker training, billing of services (e.g. falls responders and other social care services)

Operational Benefits of IoT

From this table we can see that one benefit of connecting our stuff using IoT technology is an improvement in operational effectiveness. Knowing what is going on in real time allows us to make decisions, some of which may be mission critical or in some cases life critical. Keeping people safe, knowing when something is broken or is no longer working properly are of course important aspects of running our organisation and serving our customers better.

Strategic improvements

The data we get from an IoT connection also allows us to look at trends, get historic data that can be processed into everything from sending out a bill to changing the mix of products we put in a vending machine or optimising staffing levels. These data help in our planning and strategic decision making.

So, from an IoT connection we get both the information that allows us to take immediate action but also an accumulation of data that can help improve the way we run our business.

That’s all very well you may say, but what about the money? How do I justify the expense of connecting things to the IoT?


Financial benefits of using IoT in your business

Of course every business, every organisation is different. Some may see the benefits of connecting their assets or products as a way to generate new revenues, developing new services to offer their customers. The reason to connect a device may be to reduce costs.

Here are a few examples……

Things Financial Benefits of Connecting to the IoT
Vehicles Reducing fuel costs, increased revenue though better utilisation rates and load optimisation
Alarm systems Reduced insurance costs, Alarm receiving centres (ARCs) can offer more comprehensive services
Temperature Sensors Reduced losses of perishable goods
Meters More accurate and timely billing
Tanks Optimised truck rolls to empty/refill, reducing costs
Pipes Waste reduction
Vending machines Increased sales, reduced site visits
Car Parks Higher occupancy levels through real time information of availability, optimised TOD charging
Street lights Reduced maintenance costs
Recycling bins More timely collections, optimised site visits
Wearable Devices Increased productivity of medical staff, longer independent living
HVAC (Buildings Management) Reduced energy costs
Virtual Power Plants Higher revenues from renewable energy and storage
Industrial Products New business models based on rentals rather than purchase, higher utilisation rates, reduced down time. (generators, lift motors, UPS systems, production tools)
Vehicles (again) Stolen vehicle recovery system reduces insurance costs
Smart agriculture (crops) Watering systems control by sensors reduce costs
Smart agriculture (livestock) Location monitoring reduces theft and accidental loss
Electric vehicle charging points Maximises availability and revenues, reduces down time
Lighting (Buildings management) Reduced energy costs
Equipment hire (diggers, skips, tippers, drills etc) Increased revenue through better utilisation rates,
This list could go on as the applications for IoT are limited only by the imagination of business owners and organisations who are wanting to increase revenue, reduce costs and get the best out of their assets. 

Using IoT to meet Safety and Regulatory requirements

There are cases where there are no financial benefits at all from an IoT connection. Sometimes the cost of the connection is justified to meet health and safety or other regulation in the market you operate.  

In summary

In summary the business benefits of IoT are:

  • Operational
  • Managerial/Strategic
  • Revenue enhancement
  • Cost Savings
  • Safety and Regulatory

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