Enterprises can gain a host of benefits by integrating internet of things devices into their current IT infrastructure. However, the true value and impact of IoT is discovered once devices capture, analyze and act on data.
Below are three industries that can still experience digital transformation and greatly benefit from implementing IoT technology. Additionally, we’ll look at how companies can use existing technology — such as a mobility management platform (MMP) — to centralize IoT endpoint management.
IoT in the enterprise: Healthcare
Healthcare is adopting IoT technology faster than almost any other industry. Innovators in healthcare were quick to recognize the potential available to patients when IoT technologies were first integrated with medical devices: greatly improved quality and effectiveness of service that’s especially valuable for the elderly, patients battling chronic conditions and individuals requiring constant supervision.
The ability to monitor patients remotely is perhaps the biggest advantage of IoT in healthcare. With physicians required to work in multiple clinics, hospitals or facilities, being able to remotely monitor a patient’s vital signs and status could improve patient care immensely. Sometimes it’s not the physician who is on the go, but the patient instead. Patients receiving chemotherapy, dialysis or other long-term therapies can experience a new sense of freedom between treatments because their doctors are still able to monitor their conditions. IoT devices can connect to the cloud and pull and analyze collected patient data in real time to automatically notify physicians or family members in any emergency situation.
In some cases, patients are too unstable to travel or too weak to be exposed to a hospital’s germs and bacteria. In these extreme cases, physicians can monitor and consult with their patients via IoT devices that enable live video and audio streaming from anywhere.
Wearable devices can also provide a sense of security for the family members of those with Alzheimer’s or autism who might be prone to wandering away from safety. If a patient’s wearables are enabled with GPS, family members can be alerted when they cross preset GPS parameters — like exiting a home in the middle of the night — and the coordinates of their devices can be used to locate them quickly and ensure their safety.
So, how do healthcare enterprises work through the complexities of implementing an IoT system? One way is to engage a mobility management platform provider that has experience working through the complexities of advanced mobility programs with strict regulations and guidelines. The ideal vendor will also be SOC 2 Type 2 certified and HIPAA compliant, ensuring the security of your patient data and corporate network. Integrated enterprise mobility management/unified endpoint management technologies are also a plus because they monitor and ensure end-user compliance with your security policies and regulations. Before end users can access any corporate information or data on their devices, they must agree to follow all corporate mobility policies and guidelines (including HIPAA), ensuring 100% compliance.
IoT in the enterprise: Manufacturing
Manufacturing leads all industries when it comes to IoT and digital transformation. After all, the industry is expected to invest more than $105 billion on IoT technology in 2017. IoT touches nearly every aspect of manufacturing, from production flow monitoring and remote equipment management to condition-based maintenance alerts and more.
Factories utilize IoT devices to monitor production flow in real time, optimizing material usage to eliminate waste and unnecessary work in processing inventory. While the implications to this leaner type of manufacturing might seem obvious, the ability to eliminate wasted movement by workers is aided by IoT devices and can be significant. Handheld computers and wearables can collect never-before-seen data, providing managers with insights used to make more informed decisions.
Outfitting machines with IoT monitoring devices allows facility managers to monitor and manage equipment remotely. These monitoring devices can even be configured to send alerts when certain conditions are met to eliminate machine downtime, increase throughput, conserve energy and reduce costs.
The data aggregated from IoT devices during the manufacturing process — including product data, customer sentiment and other third-party syndicated data — can be used to monitor and enhance product and process quality.
One of the most important functions for an MMP monitoring IoT devices in manufacturing is to ensure that all IoT devices remain up and running to prevent downtime. If an IoT device does go down, someone at the plant or facility will be notified right away and the IT team or MMP provider’s help desk must troubleshoot and initiate device replacement workflows immediately to restore productivity. A trusted MMP partner understands that downtime is unacceptable and helps identify predictive device failure behaviors to take preventative measures and maintain productivity.
IoT in the enterprise: Retail
The benefits of IoT for retail pay off most when it comes to the optimization of processes, logistics and the customer experience. According to a study conducted by Oracle, retailers that use RFID tags can expect 99% inventory accuracy, a 50% reduction in out-of-stocks, a 70% reduction in shrinkage and sales lifts in the 2-7% range.
As more and more customers opt to buy items online or pick them up from a store, RFID tags help keep inventories in check, ensuring items remain in stock and available for customers both online and in stores.
Intelligent retail shelving, or smart shelving, provides digital price labeling and an integrated scale that automatically notifies merchandisers of low stock when shelves get light. These features minimize the number of manual tasks performed by employees, such as changing out pricing signs and physically counting inventory.
Increased sales are likely to result from digital marketing efforts that can be targeted at each individual consumer. Interactive displays will be triggered to feature a specific item of apparel when a hanger is lifted from a display rail. Virtual closets will enable shoppers to browse and virtually try on merchandise related to what they are wearing or what may be available in other store locations.
As customers make their way through a store, digital signage (triggered by facial recognition or other sensor information) will direct them to various parts of the store based on historical purchases or web browsing history.
The retail experience is about to become very personal.
For retail, the value of managing IoT devices with an MMP comes in establishing workflows that enable the data collected by IoT devices to trigger workflow tasks, such as “change screen to show item #123” or “lead customer to bedding department.” Data is great, but only if it can be utilized to impact the bottom line. Look for an MMP vendor with not only experience in the retail space, but specifically with experience in tailoring customer experiences through mobile devices. A vendor experienced with point-of-sale integrations is also an ideal choice. MMP vendors should also have fluid, customizable workflow options that allow stores to tailor their customers’ experiences by location — what works in one region might not work in another.
IoT and MMP
Deploying IoT devices without a strategy to effectively roll them out and manage them can become very problematic and frustrating. It is much harder to understand where deployed devices exist if trying to track them down in the field.
Managing IoT and mobility devices share many common needs. Procuring, provisioning, deploying and managing an IoT device is very similar to a tablet or phone. It often makes sense for CIOs and mobility managers to turn to an MMP for help implementing intricate and innovative IoT initiatives. All mobile devices are a part of IoT, after all.
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