The Internet of Things is everywhere, in every sense. Not just connecting anything and everything, but also being talked about by anyone and everyone. No business can afford to ignore it, but not every business knows enough to do something about it.
Connecting anything a sensor can be fitted to will have surprising – maybe even life-changing – implications for all of us. You probably know about fridge-freezers that can alert you when you’re low on pizza. But have you heard about the cows that can alert the farmer when they’re about to give birth? (It’s all to do with how much their tails swish, apparently.)
It has so many potential applications, the Internet of Things has been called the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
And unless you want to be an exhibit in the same museum as the businesses who missed out on the first three, it’s a revolution you need to join as soon as you can.
Behaviour by numbers
If Some types of data are already pretty much universally available.
Car dealers will have data on when the cars they sell are due a service. They’ll know when their warranty expires. But with the Internet of Things, manufacturers and retailers can acquire real-time data on customer behaviour too.
How is the car being driven? And where? What’s it’s fuel consumption? A car that’s identified as always driven in the city, with high fuel consumption, means a driver who’s the perfect prospect to be sold an electric vehicle. Armed with that data, a retailer can target potential customers with a highly tailored, highly relevant marketing message.
When sensors can go anywhere and connect everything, they can provide valuable data on almost anything.
Sensors on office desks can help identify how office space is being used. That will make it easier for businesses to use costly floor space more efficiently, or for architects to design more efficient buildings.
Sensors on tools or skips will let hire companies know where, when and how their equipment is being used. They could be alerted if a hired skip, for example, is being over-filled. Then they could warn the hirer.
The range of applications and opportunities is enormous. About as enormous as the amount of data that will be collected. And that’s where the problems start.
Data to count on
Before you can use data, you need to decide what kind of data you want. Once you know that, you have to decide which kind of sensors you need to collect it.
Once you’ve done that, you can start collecting the data. And more data. And more. And more.
That’s where the problems get even more problematic.