Smarter and quicker: the Internet of Things, first coined as such in 1999 by British technological pioneer Kevin Ashton, is blurring the line between the digital and physical worlds. Machines and objects are communicating both with each other a...
Smarter and quicker: the Internet of Things, first coined as such in 1999 by British technological pioneer Kevin Ashton, is blurring the line between the digital and physical worlds. Machines and objects are communicating both with each other and with the Internet. The result: automated processes where humans now hardly have to intervene.
Wearables and smart homes are two examples of how IoT is transforming our lives. However, the change isn’t just apparent in the private realm, but in industry as well. M2M communication is the buzzword here. For companies and brands, the Internet of Things signifies one thing above all: the opportunity to shape the digital future and make the leap toward Industry 4.0. After all, the networking of machines is one of four key components making up the organizational concept of Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Who communicates with whom in IoT?
Machine-to-machine communication, or M2M for short, which is the foundation of IoT, is all about the automated communication of different end devices, such as self-service machines and vehicles. Sensors are key here. They enable the necessary data to be collected and ultimately perform actions. For this purpose, a data transmitter and SIM card are often integrated in the sensor. The data receiver, e.g. a computer, is an additional component. It either passes data on to a human or initiates a reaction itself. With the increasing autonomy of machines, the latter is becoming the trend. For companies, that means automated processes and a reduced workload.
What is essential in the Internet of Things
In an era of digital transformation, the Internet of Things is gaining ground as an important building block of modern work structures. It is a foundation that enables Industry 4.0 to evolve in the first place. But what exactly are the objectives of IoT solutions? The two main focal points of the Internet of Things are:
Efficiency: Thanks to AI and M2M communication, IoT enables processes to be monitored and controlled automatically without the need for human intervention. This in turn leads to more efficient working and time savings.
Reduced costs: With the Internet of Things, predictive maintenance is much more than just a vision. The machines in modern industry let you know themselves if they require maintenance. This can reduce repair costs, for example, because potential damage can be detected early on.
Industry 4.0, aka the industrial IoT
For many leaders, the future of modern industry is called the Internet of Things. With technologies such as 5G, advanced sensing, and AI, the possibilities in this area seem infinite. Whether manufacturing, logistics, or service: IoT already makes it possible to automate entire process chains and optimize workflows in a future-proof way. As part of Industry 4.0, manufacturing plants are increasingly controlling themselves autonomously – smart factories have become a reality. Smart logistics solutions allow products to be tracked in real time. As the digital and physical worlds are closely intertwined in IoT, completely new business models are emerging for companies. The Internet of Things is turning brands into service providers that are able to offer their customers additional data about products.
IoT as a marketing strategy
Personalized services, as are possible with the Internet of Things, give companies the opportunity to strengthen their customer relationships. From a marketing perspective, for example, IoT paves the way for approaches in which automatically generated quotations for subsequent orders are sent if IoT applications detect that the customer is running out of stock. In addition, IoT makes it possible to equip products with transmitters via which the customer can call up content on the Internet – from digital discount coupons to personal messages, the product is meant to act as a gift. The rum brand Malibu and beverage producer Diageo are two examples of companies running this kind of campaign. Diageo used IoT for a marketing campaign where video messages with Father’s Day greetings were sent via a code affixed to whiskey bottles. A brand can hardly get any closer to the customer than with such personalized IoT marketing.
Using IoT solutions to protect employees
Not only can Internet of Things communication be used to optimize processes and business operations, but IoT solutions can also help companies improve the safety of their employees in the workplace. Especially in sectors where employees work in dangerous environments, such as chemical plants or power plants, the Internet of Things has the potential to increase the safety standard. IoT makes it possible to constantly monitor the working environment and thus detect any irregularities or malfunctions immediately. The employees’ state of health can also be checked using wearables and tracked via IoT.
Greater sustainability through the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0
The Internet of Things is not just the future of the modern world of work, the communication of objects can also contribute to improving sustainability. Among other things, it helps companies do business in a more sustainable manner, for example by optimizing the use of raw materials and auxiliary production supplies and conserving resources. A recent report from Telenor Connexion and Northstream concludes that IoT will play a key role in fighting climate change due to the chances and opportunities it presents.
Internet of Things: data protection matters
Against the backdrop of the Internet of Things, industry is currently undergoing a digital transformation. But what needs to be taken into account here? First and foremost, the answer is data protection. The exchange of information in the context of the Internet of Things presents special challenges to IT infrastructures. It is therefore all the more important for companies to ensure privacy and data protection in light of the increasing volume of collected data. With appropriate compliance, not only can acceptance of IoT solutions be achieved within a company, but the corporate image can also be strengthened. A high level of compliance boosts integrity.
<h2>Entering the digital future with the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0</h2>
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