Buying into the Internet of Things (IoT) without also investing in a digital transformation tool is pointless. It’s like fish without the chips or a car without an engine. In short, you need a solution that can turn vast amounts of data into meaningful action and understanding.What is the Internet of Things?
For those unfamiliar with IoT, it’s based on a network of sensors that give real-time, continuous visibility of service and quality levels, the condition of estates and assets, and flag areas that need attention, all at the press of a button.
Detailed understanding of your operations, and the automation of time-consuming processes and checks, empowers you to create more efficient systems, ensure compliance and deliver more for your customers.
If you would like to find out more about how IoT works, you can download our guide to IoT here.
Turn your data into action
But, remarkable as it is, IoT on its own is not enough.
To unlock the power of this network you also need a digital transformation platform that provides meaningful analytics, turning raw sensor data into easily digestible business intelligence and automating remedial or routine works.
This matters because your IoT sensors will generate copious amounts of data, but if you can’t understand or act on what it’s telling you, you’ll be wasting your money. Instead of producing eye-opening insights, this potentially valuable information will languish, unused, in silos. IoT’s benefits can only be realised if it’s part of a bigger move towards digitisation.
To maximise your return on investing in IoT, it’s crucial that you consider the cost and structure of your network. You can read our blog on getting the best ROI on IoT here.
Unlock the potential of IoT
If, say, you run a data centre, you might want your IoT sensors to alert you when the temperature hits 80⁰F to avoid a major fault. But with sensors typically pinging back data every 15 seconds, it would be disruptive (to say the least) to receive repeated alerts all the time the temperature stays above the optimum level.
A smart workflow platform, like mpro5, can be programmed to receive the data feed and respond according to pre-set rules so that the information is dealt with intelligently. It can suppress repeated alerts, trigger diagnostic questions and, if necessary, create a job requiring human input.
This has many benefits:
- Improved operational efficiency - As initial basic questions, like “Is it switched on?”, can be answered by any authorised person on the scene, rather than having to despatch an expensive engineer, it enables businesses to down-skill their first response, freeing skilled resources for where they’re needed most.
- Cost-savings – Data collected on assets, including their lifespan and condition, can inform planned preventative maintenance (PPM) to reduce costs and avoid major faults leading to downtime.
- More effective use of resources – IoT sensors that detect movement or proximity can be attached to doors to give an idea of room usage. Combined with call buttons, this enables your teams to work reactively rather than to a rigid schedule, cleaning the areas that need attention, for instance, and saving time on those that don’t. With the right platform interpreting the readings, you can adjust your thresholds and test the frequency of cleans, balancing audit scores against efficiency.
- Simplify vital safety checks – As just one example, Legionella compliance involves actively monitoring pipes to reduce waterborne pathogen risks. IoT sensors can monitor the water temperature in pipes in real-time, reducing the number of engineer visits from monthly to yearly.
- Alert suppression – Call buttons are a useful feature of any IoT network, creating a direct link between end customers and your teams. They can be installed near to assets such as coffee machines, dishwashers and printers to report faults, or by meeting rooms to flag the need for a spot clean. With a smart analytics platform in place, alert suppression means only the first alert will be sent through until your teams confirm they have completed the job, eliminating the problem of buttons being repeatedly pressed for the same issue.
- Crowd control – Whether it’s rush hour in a train station, a busy office building or buzzing retail space, being able to control the flow of people and avoid overcrowding is critical to ensuring safety and a good customer experience. Sensors and cameras can be used to track the flow and numbers of people around the building so you can intervene if necessary
A digital platform: the missing link
If you’ve already had the foresight to invest in IoT, you now need to ask yourself how you can squeeze benefits from it. And if you’re still at the thinking-about-it stage, your deliberations should include how you’ll turn a product - IoT sensors - into a solution to get value out of it.
Whatever your answer to these questions, you will undoubtedly need a digital transformation tool to work alongside IoT and exploit its considerable benefits. Think of it as the missing link between the digital and human worlds that enables you to quickly and intelligently act on what your data is telling you and deliver a return on your investment. Because that’s where the true value lies.