Internet of Things (IoT): Interfacing with the real-world

A lot of times, the thought of IoT (Internet of Things) can become easily overwhelming. Perhaps we say, “I want to be innovative,” but we don’t understand the true result of being innovative. For instance, Samsung just put a smart Fridge on the market with an LCD screen that interacts with your phone. They also sell smart washing machines and dryers. You have to ask, “What could you possibly make smart about those devices?” Many people understand IoT in terms of controlling things with your phone or checking on your temp at home, but don’t necessarily understand the capacity in which IoT truly enables your business. In order to showcase IoT’s true capabilities, let’s first establish where IoT is today, where IoT is going, and how we can take advantage of it.

You can easily look up the definition of IoT in Google, but to save you the trouble of going down that road, I’ll break it down for you…

IoT is a vast network of interconnected devices which have the ability to communicate with one another via “The Cloud.” I know what you’re thinking… “Expensive, difficult to implement, and overly complex.”

Not so fast. Moving your organization to the cloud isn’t nearly as complicated as it was 10 years ago, and is fairly commonplace amongst small and large businesses alike. Azure’s Cloud Solution is Microsoft’s big hitter and it leaves nothing to be desired with all the right tools to do the job. However, one should note, transitioning on premise functionality to the cloud is a not a pre-requisite to taking advantage of IoT. Seriously… with IoT, you can implement new sources of data to accelerate growth, productivity, waste efficiency, and invest in energy management while taking your business in the right direction.

For example, let’s look at commercial buildings, a Top 5 contender for Smart Cities, the future of urban IoT. In the old days if you were tasked with building a structure for someone, you built it by sketching up blueprints, evaluating resources, buying graded steel or wood, contracting the work, and eventually, you would have a structure. Your job typically would end there. Whatever structural issues came after that were considered off your plate. Today, IoT is predictably changing the landscape of solution architecture with some of the world’s oldest problems.

Some really clever people found a way to implement IoT and monitor the structural health of degrading buildings over time using sensors that monitor vibrations, environmental conditions on bridges, and wind against tall buildings. They are doing some pretty complex analytics on this new data. Analytically, an architect can now take that information and forecast structural issues, reinforcements, etc. But it doesn’t end there. Smart Roads are coming, too, including intelligent highways that send pre-programmed warning messages based on a number of variables can tell drivers when and where there is a nasty traffic jam, tell them what the weather conditions are, or inform them of unexpected events like accidents.

The beauty of IoT lies in its sensors. The resilience of a smart city lies on the shoulders of the tiniest of sensors wrapped in the tiniest of computers, where all they need is a “cloud” to send their data. Wide Smart Networks will encase our cities and highways and provide rich ecosystems that advise you on what’s going on around you.

The world is progressing rapidly toward a system of intelligent devices that will take part in the transition from human jobs to worker computers. Soon, logic programs, autonomous systems, or even robots could replace many lower to mid-level service jobs. A couple of ways to take advantage of the rapidly shifting landscape is to advance your insight and your business by taking on an IoT project.

So the question is: What do you care about most after you’ve implemented a solution? Long-term health? Security? Operational automation? Foreseeing problems? The human element? Well… IoT can help.

With IoT, we can take that sensor data and implement quality standards surrounding the environment your solutions breakdown in. The environments that can cause issues or are erratic, or the employee that is unproductive or lazy, or the long-term practical use of an automated platform can all be analyzed for inefficiencies. Any data sources that would otherwise be unknown are now quite possible to track, make sense of, and use for the benefit of your business with regard to IoT.

Microsoft’s Windows IoT Core Platform in combination with Azure Machine Learning and Power BI provide a robust application-trio to take your otherwise unknown data elements and identify, scrutinize, and dramatically impact your business. We use machine learning algorithms on your data to analyze, predict, and finally transform the direction of your business. Then you can move on to more important items like:

  • What does your intended audience think of your product?
  • Are we reaching out to a different audience as well?
  • Are you advertising too much and wasting money?
  • Are you annoying your customers?
  • Do consumers like your storefront?
  • Are on premise servers constantly shutting off due to HVAC issues?
  • Are you storing your product in an environment that is resulting in product loss?
  • How can we establish a better relationship with our suppliers or customers?

Answer these questions and many more by partnering with FlexManage to implement an IoT project in your business today. Click HERE and a member of our team would love to chat with you about how IoT might fit into the future of your business.

 

Like to learn more about IoT and it’s possibilities? As a Certified Microsoft Partner, visit the following links for more information on some of the offerings we implement from Microsoft:

By | 2017-11-30T22:44:45+00:00 January 17th, 2017|Business Intelligence, Cloud, IoT|29 Comments

About the Author:

Anthony is a Senior BI Consultant working out of Chicago. He has six years of experience in Business Intelligence (BI) with a focus on Power BI, Internet of Things (IoT), and Big Data. He possesses strong data warehousing and SQL skills, including SSIS and SSRS. He also has programming experience with power shell, C# and asp.net.

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