Rewinding a decade, it might be hard to imagine how you went about your day-to-day life without a smartphone. Today's marketplace, however, has evolved alongside rapid technological innovations, giving consumers access to revolutionary devices that far surpass the capabilities of cellphones: Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
The ability to deploy sensors almost anywhere, to track just about anything, has opened doors for organizations to use mountains of data and strategically improve their systems and processes. IoT solutions, for example, can help retailers obtain more data on consumer behavior or traffic patterns in stores, help businesses optimize space utilization and employee workflows and allow energy companies to avoid outages, maintain equipment, and save money. But while there is no limit to what type of enterprise can implement from IoT solutions, a thoughtful integration strategy is essential to leverage value from the data it provides.
Therefore, simply having a data source is invaluable if businesses cannot integrate it with the right mix of technologies, in alignment with their specific, value-enhancing use-cases. What IoT systems do you need to put in place to achieve the most value early on? In this article, we will outline how to amplify the efficiency of a workplace setting using a strategic IoT implementation approach.
Be Selective in Your Technology
Simply incorporating equipment with internet connectivity isn’t going to necessarily make your workplace more efficient. Instead, like with any tool you buy, you need to make certain the IoT appliances you’re purchasing are right for your business. You need to incorporate technology that will help you gather and analyze data that’s useful to you. Remember not to purchase IoT equipment just for the sake of having it. Be strategic and look for IoT tools that provide solutions to the specific challenges you face.
Look How Others in Your Industry Are Using the IoT
One way of deciding which technology to incorporate is to look at how others in your industry are using these types of devices. For example, IoT technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) have become widely used in the retail sector, used to track inventory, prevent loss, and optimize logistics.
In hospitals, senior living facilities, and clinics, wearable IoT devices are used to track patient movement and sleep, as well as monitor risk factors for major events such as heart attacks and strokes. Some can even sync with the patient’s smartphone and can collect and transmit data to doctors.
In the business world, many companies can combine occupancy sensors, wearable devices, and even calendar software to monitor employee activities, organize conference times, and optimize office infrastructure to improve traffic flow.
You Need More than Just Devices to Capture Data
While many businesses are quick to install sensors and other devices in order to gather data, they often forget that there are other technologies which they need to bring in. These core technologies support everything the IoT does. They include hard drives to store the data, software to analyze it, WiFi infrastructure to make certain that data can be delivered to the devices needing it, and even printers and backup drives to ensure that no data is lost. Without these devices, the IoT falls apart.
Scanalytics Inc., a leader in IoT software, leverages various IoT solutions, including floor sensors, device-agnostic triggering platforms, and predictive analytics, to tailor strategies per organizational needs and provide a clear framework for deployment. To best understand and capture space occupancy, Scanalytics helps enterprise clients combine IoT solutions with various sensor types; anonymously tracking not only the movement of physical assets with physical assets like cameras but further measuring space utilization in real-time with embedded, granular permanent or temporary fixture sensors.
Analytics Are Also Vital
To build a truly intelligent space takes more than smart devices; businesses must also focus on being responsive/reactive to observed events and given data. What does this mean? The data obtained from various sources must be turned from raw sensor data -or the unprocessed information gathered from sensors types - into useful analytics - where you make comparisons, look for trends, determine patterns, and predict problems. This is the information you can actually use to make decisions for your business.
With reliable data secured by multiple sources, organizations can turn raw information into actionable insights, and pinpoint entry/exit metrics, occupancy levels, movement patterns, and dwell times.
Many companies spend a large amount of money on IoT devices but fail to invest in the supporting technologies and in the analytical programs they need to learn from their gathered data. Without these tools, however, the IoT will only provide a huge amount of data that you can’t really do very much with.
This is why it’s always a good idea to have a goal in mind when you start investing in IoT devices. With a clearly defined goal, you can make certain that you’re buying the right technology and have the support structure in place. Doing so will vastly improve your workplace efficiency because you can use the data you gather to make informed decisions.
Getting Started with the IoT
There are many different ways you can incorporate the IoT into your business. Using their IoT workshop platform program, Scanalytics partners with businesses to create a customized implementation roadmap for deploying IoT solutions.