What is the Internet of Things (IoT), and why is it important?

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes a set of technologies that allows the network of physical objects—“things”— to connect and exchange data with other physical objects over the Internet. These devices are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies that get the job done.

IoT devices range from everyday household objects – consider thermostats, baby monitors, and kitchen appliances – to highly sophisticated tools and equipment used in cars, manufacturing, and healthcare.

The number of global IoT connections grew by 8% in 2021 to 12.2 billion. The number of connected IoT devices is expected to reach 14.4 billion by the end of 2022.

Why is IoT so important?

Now that connecting these everyday devices to the internet is possible, it’s also possible to facilitate seamless communication between people and things. These things allow us to collect and share data with minimal – or even no – human intervention.

Advances in cloud, big data, machine learning, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and mobile technologies have created new opportunities at an ever-increasing rate, bringing the digital and physical worlds into cooperative alignment.

IoT has the power to unleash new levels of business value, with benefits such as:

  • Easy, seamless ways to connect the physical business world to the digital world.
  • Improved staff productivity and reduced human labor.
  • Efficient operational management.
  • Improved use of resources and assets.
  • Data-driven insights which help better manage the business.
  • Creation of new business models and revenue streams.
  • Improved work safety.
  • Improved customer service and retention.
  • More trustworthy image of the company.

Even though there are many desirable benefits, IoT technology can also highlight specific threats or weak points. Disadvantages may include:

  • Security flaws, including data leaks or sharing of confidential information.
  • Costs necessary to implement IoT infrastructure, including the power supply grid and associated technical changes.
  • Power supply dependence, as smart devices must rely on a stable and sufficient supply of electricity (or battery power), as well as backup plans, including uninterruptible power supply (UPS) devices and surge protectors.
  • Network dependence requiring uninterrupted and reliable communication – both wired and wireless – with adequate throughput capabilities.

Which industries can benefit from IoT?

Almost all industries can find ways to use IoT data to improve their business processes, including:

  • Manufacturing
  • Automotive
  • Transportation
  • Logistics
  • Retail
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • General safety across all industries

IoT in Manufacturing

In the manufacturing world, we see applications for Industrial IoT (IIoT), which brings IoT to industrial settings, where it’s helpful with the instrumentation and control of sensors and devices. It allows for a new automation layer, which translates to new business models and the potential for increased revenue and profit. IIoT brings about opportunities in areas such as:

  • Smart digital supply chains.
  • Smart power grids.
  • Smart cities.
  • Smart manufacturing.
  • Preventive – and even predictive – maintenance.

IoT Applications

IoT applications are software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications that can present captured IoT data to users through dashboards. These applications analyze massive amounts of sensor-captured data in the cloud, then use real-time dashboards and alerts to provide visibility. Some examples include:

  • In manufacturing, algorithms identify equipment anomalies and send alerts when fixes are needed, or production-line quality drops below established thresholds.
  • In the business world, IoT data enables monitoring and adjusting business processes, whether dispatching vehicles or allocating resources.
  • In the health arena, wearables can monitor human health data. They provide real-time feedback to enable patients to make lifestyle adjustments and give physicians the ability to monitor their patients remotely. Advances in monitors – tracking everything from blood sugar to heart performance – provide patients and medical practitioners the means to more quickly and accurately assess and address issues as they appear.

Incorporating aspects of IoT is critical in project management

Thurman Co. is uniquely positioned to assist organizations in various aspects of project management, including analysis and proposals around IoT incorporation into business and management processes.

We help businesses manage projects to significantly impact their success and growth. When you’re ready to put your project in the hands of a trusted professional organization, contact us to learn more about working together.

7 thoughts on “What is the Internet of Things (IoT), and why is it important?”

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  2. This is a very insightful article. I work in a largely analog environment and am giving consideration to ways we can capitalize on IoT. Facilitating change is often difficult in our organization for a number reasons, so for us, baby steps are key. Great content!

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