In our business and personal lives, we’ve become accustomed to an ever-increasing number of devices connected through the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition, artificial intelligence technologies are more prevalent in various applications and tools. As these two technologies converge, they are creating a new “intelligence of things” that will impact how businesses can best serve customers.
Things that can think
Early sensors and devices gathered and shared huge volumes of data. But they typically included little to no intelligence or self-awareness of their own. That’s now changing.
As IoT devices begin to incorporate self-learning features, they can do more and deliver enhanced insight to business users. Some devices will soon be able to monitor their own environment and report on failures or breaches. Others may warn of safety issues. Connected things, such as IoT devices on a shop floor, can use collective data to create a more holistic view of conditions.
But we’re only at the beginning. In the next few years, experts expect that more things – both big and small – will become equipped with sensors and capture a multitude of actions. To take advantage of this wealth of data, companies will need to create innovative business models. One likely shift: many enterprises that now sell products will increasingly offer data-driven services that deliver a better customer experience.
With the Internet “in” everything, look for a wide variety of new use cases, such as:
- Travel: Sensors that correlate flight data with luggage and passenger location, optimizing logistics chains and offering targeted, customer-centric services
- Agriculture: Intelligent field equipment that receives data from weather, soil, and seed sensors, helping farmers plant the right crops at the right time in the best location
- Manufacturing and production: Sensor data correlated from vehicle locations, pallets of goods, and employees, boosting the efficiency of the logistics chain
- Healthcare: Wearable devices that report on patient metrics, helping clinicians identify life-threatening conditions or suggest behavioral changes that could improve a person’s health
- Municipal services: Embedded road sensors that monitor traffic, air pollution, and highway conditions, helping public service organizations improve citizen quality of life
- Energy and environmental: Connected sensors and applications that allow businesses to centrally and securely control devices and the energy they consume for greater cost savings and enhanced sustainability
For example, utility companies could reduce power demand by adjusting LED lights from bright white to a yellow tone that saves thousands of watts of energy. Consumers might sign up for discounted service plans where utilities automatically adjust their heating and air conditioning to match weather conditions, slashing regional power consumption. And that’s just in the energy industry.
As the technology matures, business leaders in every market need to be ready to think beyond conventional use cases and develop innovative new applications that improve the customer experience. Those leaders willing to pursue opportunities offered by the intelligence of things will surely be first to reap the rewards of the IoT.
To learn how the evolution of smart devices and the IoT will change the way businesses serve their customers, read our eBook.