Over the past couple of years, the Internet of Things has grown from being ‘the next big thing’ to ‘the’ big thing! With an expected 25 billion connected devices by 2020 owing to the influx of smart technology, cloud services etc., sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, insurance etc. are warming up to the IoT. Cisco estimates that by 2018, the volume of data generated by IoT and connected devices will cross a staggering 400 zettabytes! Given that today business success is driven by data, it is surprising to see that out of this huge volume, only a small volume is stored across data centers for analysis. However, with emphasis on data analysis compounding each day, the total amount of data traffic sent to data centers is also expected to grow to 8.6 zettabytes by 2018, up from 3.1ZB in 2013.
Organizations across the globe are realizing the benefits of the IoT data at their disposal. With this data, they can look at reducing operational and maintenance costs, improve business operations and even avoid equipment failures. IoT data can be used to improve supply chain management, enhance service analysis stock and capacity planning, improve CRM, and make the decision-making process more seamless and robust. For all this to happen, it becomes essential for data from IT systems blends effortlessly with operational data and deliver intelligent insights to the invested stakeholders. Given the plethora of devices in the IoT universe, IoT analytics becomes essential for the success of IoT initiatives in the enterprise and fuel business transformation.
What is IoT Analytics?
IoT analytics demands the amalgamation of different kinds of analytics used for reporting, diagnostics, predictions, and advanced analytics along with streaming data. The aim is to filter and analyze fast-moving data in the form of sensor data from machines, environmental systems, medical devices etc. This huge and continuous volume of data then has to be stored and managed efficiently and in a timely manner with the help of specialized analytical algorithms, event stream processing platforms, and time series database management systems. Given that there are multiple data sources, IoT analytics requires multiple analytics techniques and demands greater automation.
IoT Analytics – The Benefits
The greatest benefit of IoT analytics, needless to say, is that it helps to make sense of the deluge of data generated from connected devices, sensors etc. and helps businesses understand the ‘data of things’. Some, more tangible benefits of IoT analytics are:
- Better process optimization by analyzing data generated from smart devices and machinery
- Better predictive maintenance by analyzing the machine data
- Improved customer service via implementation of behavioral analysis into products
- Identification of new product development and business opportunities via product analysis
- Improved operating costs by identifying extraneous expenses that lead to escalated production costs
Clearly, data is only valuable when you do something with it. Given the benefits of IoT analytics, many industries are implementing it to generate transformational value. Here’s a look.
Having been one of the first adopters of embedded sensor technology, the manufacturing sector is leveraging IoT analytics in a big way. IoT analytics is making manufacturing more innovative and is improving interoperability across a large set of machine assets, products, people, and computers. By doing so, this segment is creating more opportunities to create smarter and innovative products and services, helping them assess how the product or service will fare in the future, increase revenue opportunities by gaining visibility into how consumers are interacting with their products, reducing the cycle-time for innovation by gathering and analyzing product intelligence more efficiently. Further, IoT analytics is helping the manufacturing industry identify potential problems in the manufacturing pipeline earlier in the manufacturing lifecycle, accelerate their planning and pre-manufacturing phase, and improve post-manufacturing service and support.
Retailers have been fast to adopt IoT and sensor technology. With the help of IoT analytics, they can now deliver customized flash promotions to their customers, manage their inventory better by using customer history, preference and location IoT analytics, ensure all equipment in the store are functioning optimally and that manpower is used judiciously. IoT analytics is also used in retail for food, quality, and cold chain management and provide the retailers pre-emptive warnings that avoid food quality issues before they occur. IoT analytics also gives retailers insights for better product placements, identify performance gaps and streamline the supply chain with the help of data collected from traditional in-store infrared foot-traffic counters, RFID inventory tracking chips, WI-FI, and cellular tracking chips etc.
The healthcare industry is already filled with sensors, heterogeneous computing and wireless communication systems, devices and tracking systems and presents itself as a great candidate for IoT analytics. IoT devices such as wearable health monitoring sensors, RFID, smart video cameras, robotics generate a huge volume of data which is not only medically relevant but can help increase operational efficiencies and improve patient outcomes. IoT analytics can help healthcare practitioners and administrators anticipate what will happen next and help in getting more predictability into the system. With IoT analytics, physicians can make targeted interventions when required, address risk factors, improve care and identify risks of chronic diseases earlier. IoT analytics can make hospital management more efficient by optimizing patient flow, reduce emergency wait times, monitor the usage of healthcare equipment, track operational and clinical expenses and manage the workforce more efficiently.
Oil & Gas
The Oil and Gas industry have experienced dramatic benefits by implementing IoT analytics. With the help of IoT analytics, they have been able to improve the operational efficiencies by analyzing data gathered from sensors attached to pipes, walls, and drilling equipment. This helps in predictive maintenance of machinery and deletes unnecessary costs associated with equipment failure. IoT analytics is helping the oil and gas industry increase active rig-time, map reservoir changes, improve well and pump designs, boost production, explore subsurface geology and also discover best paths to market, leverage incentives and explore price differentials.
In a hyper-connected world buzzing with sensors and devices, leveraging analytics is the only way to hear the voice of reason in a crowd of millions… and this IoT tidal wave is only going to grow bigger. For enterprises to thrive, it makes sense to prepare to leverage this wave with the help of analytics.