We currently find ourselves in the midst of what many are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution. But what does that mean, exactly? In each of the previous three, an innovative spark completely disrupted business models and led to rapid change – though rapid change is defined much differently today than it was even just 30 years ago. Let us put it into historical context:
- The First Industrial Revolution saw the advance of mechanized production using water and steam.
- The Second Industrial Revolution sparked further production via electric power.
- The Third Industrial Revolution saw a shift to automated production powered by the combination of electronics and information technology.
Today, business models in the Fourth Industrial Revolution are being disrupted by digital – or more specifically, the blurring of digital and physical worlds. The ability to use connected devices to improve old ways of doing things and create previously unimagined methods is unprecedented. IoT is at the heart of this incredible transition, allowing businesses to create efficiencies within their internal processes and integrate just about any product or service they may be trying to monetize – whether B2B or consumer.
A range of enterprises, from insurance and fleet management companies to product OEMs and OT vendors, are using IoT technologies to drive not just incremental improvements, but also business transformation, to differentiate in their specific markets.
Data as a disrupter
Perhaps IoT’s greatest differentiator will be the data it provides – information that was once unavailable. So, to be sure, there is a very steep learning curve. Yes, you have a treasure trove of valuable information, but most organizations are not fully equipped to sort through it and realize its full value. The culture at most enterprises will need to change to integrate rich sets of data from assets and leverage this data across the organization.
To make the best use of this newfound information, we will start to see employees at all business unit levels — from technicians to managers and CxOs — expanding their data analysis skills. This means prioritizing it, valuing it and monetizing it. Organizations will not only will need to empower employees to take actions based on this data, but they will also need to determine when and how to automate processes and workflows. Once that has been achieved, we will see that information being used to accelerate almost every industry. Here are some examples:
- Fleet management: Data extracted from sensors on vehicles can uncover a wide range of insight such as when a truck may need to be serviced, fuel efficiency, optimal routes and even internal components that protect the cargo being carried.
- Healthcare: Connected healthcare devices, like glucose monitoring and blood pressure devices, can easily collect and share patient data with physicians to help optimize the best care for patients.
- Retail: Shelf sensors in the back and on the floor help give retailers a clearer picture of what they have in stock and how well certain products are selling, which gives them the information necessary to make future decisions.
- Field services: For industries that require work to be completed outside of the office, IoT data can help determine how many field agents need to be deployed and where.
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution enables businesses to extract meaning, efficiencies and differentiators from data, IoT is serving as a veritable nerve center for this change. The unprecedented volumes of usable data IoT can collect holds the key to untapped business intelligence – and it will be critical to create an environment where stakeholders understand the importance of the data they collect, and select the right partners to help analyze it and put it to use.
Need help extracting the IoT’s ROI for your business? KORE can help. Learn more here.