The Internet of Things (IoT) is a disruptive technology that, along with new manufacturing software, has created ripple effects through multiple industries. Is yours impacted by this new technology? HVAC systems that provide trouble-shooting and feedback, printers that send automated updates on error messages back to the manufacturer to improve manufacturing, and devices that “talk” to one another through web-based technology impact everything from engineering to production. The more this concept infuses into daily life, the greater the effect on everything we do.
All industries are affected by IoT
According to Gartner studies, there were 4.9 billion “connected things” in 2015. By 2020, that number is projected to be 25 billion. Approximately 4 out of 5 of American companies have IoT initiatives in place today (TATA Consulting Services). Manufacturing software and the manufacturing sector are at the front of this change.
Although the technology is being applied to more expensive products, as adoption grows, the price may fall. New computers and technologies often launch at a high price point; witness the explosion of growth in flat screen technology over the past several years in which televisions originally introduced at $1,000 or so are now priced around $400. The same is likely to happen with IoT—as more companies adopt IoT, prices will drop.
IOT can be grouped into four categories:
Supply chain IoT – Technology such as RFID and barcoding have been in use for the longest time among the IoT list and are proven technologies. Sensors, cameras, and other devices are to help collect data. Operations can be streamlined with the resulting data.
Product-based IoT – Product-based IoT is an emerging category and subject to increased investment from many companies. Sensors and software are added to products to track them along the distribution chain and after the sale. Businesses use the resulting information to improve reliability and problem-solve product issues.
Customer-based IoT – A key question for many companies is how customers use their products. Customer-based IoT seeks to collect data on product use. Smartphones and other electronic devices often fall into the IoT category, but other products are being tested to monitor things like automated refills on medications with containers that provide data on usage and other technologies.
Premises-based IoT – Retailers and people managing public spaces use IoT to study and monitor how people use the space around them. Retailers study customer traffic patterns to place goods in premium positions inside their stores so that they sell faster. People managing spaces such as malls, office buildings, shopping centers, and other big areas use cameras and sensors to monitor traffic patterns, footpaths, and where people congregate within the spaces to better understand how people want to use such spaces and to design better ones in the future.
The financial benefits of IoT programs
New technologies usually require an upfront investment, and many companies wish to know the ROI of the investment before they commit to it. Even though IoT is relatively new, many industries are reaping the rewards of the data and projecting double-digit revenue growth, thanks to the information learned from using IoT. Improved customer service, better products, and other benefits all add to the overall profitability of an IoT investment.
IoT programs improve customer relationships
IoT collects customer data. Customers must be convinced of the benefits of IoT, to them, before they accept it. Make it a priority to help customers understand the many benefits they will receive by using IoT devices. Improved reliability and performance of their favorite devices will help them accept and use IoT objects in their daily lives.
Implementing IoT requires the right data collection and storage. Security is paramount, as is data usage. It’s important to have a system in place that not only collects data but helps you use it thoughtfully and accurately. IoT can enhance your supply chain, improve manufacturing, and build better customer loyalty by producing higher-quality items. It’s here to stay, and is changing how we view the world of manufacturing.
Emerald TC understands the complex business needs of manufacturers. ERP systems such as Sage 100 and Acumatica can enhance your company’s ability to collect and use data to improve profitability. Contact us today and we will help you choose great solutions for your business.