The Internet of Things: 5 Practical Business Uses

You've likely heard the term "Internet of Things" at some point

from a colleague, an article, or an advertisement. But the term is broad and can cover an overwhelming amount of information.

In short, the Internet of Things refers to the rapidly growing network of connected objects that are able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors. Thermostats, cars, lights, refrigerators, and more appliances can all be connected to the IoT.

But how can IoT be applied to business?

In a recently published article entitled, “The 5 Real Business Uses of the Internet of Things,” author and expert, Paul Clark, writes that, although the topic is exciting, many of us struggle to articulate real business applications for which IoT can be used.

Below is Paul Clark’s List of 5 Real Business Uses for the Internet of Things:

1. Retail: Clearing the shelves

Clark suggests that the retail industry has made great strides in optimizing stock and avoiding waste, but it continues to explore ways of improving further. “The latest case I came across was using the IoT to shift aging inventory. By combining knowledge of what’s on the shelves and who’s in the store, it’s now possible to push personalized promotions to shoppers who are walking in the aisles where products need to be shifted,” he writes.

2. Remote workers: Keeping them mobile

Clark argues that the IoT can be used to monitor huge numbers of industrial vehicles in real time. By permanently tracking performance, problems can be anticipated and the cost of down-time avoided.

3. Oil and gas: Small improvements = Big bucks

Clark writes that by connecting machine monitoring back to supply chain and repair systems can lead to massive cost savings by predicting when repairs will be needed and triggering the parts and personnel to carry them out before failures occur.

4. Airlines: Keep that plane in the air

Clark writes that the IoT is helping manufacturers continuously monitor aircraft engines and all their components using real-time predictive analytics. As a result, he writes, they can determine the remaining useful life of the engine, predict the time to parts failure, and keep planes safely in the air.

5. Public safety: Beating the car thieves

Clark writes that many cities and their police forces are looking to the IoT to help them get smarter and stay ahead of criminals. By combining video cameras and analytics it is now possible to automatically monitor huge amounts of video “data.”

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