Forbes estimates the Internet of Things will be a $1.2 trillion business by 2022. Of course, there now exist myriad ways to use IoT technology, and every year what was once considered “revolutionary” becomes mundane. With things evolving so quickly, it can be extremely hard for businesses to keep up with how best to use new and emerging IoT-related services and devices.
One thing is without question: nearly all verticals are beginning to understand the importance of investing in IoT, but not many know where or how to start, or what to focus on for their IoT strategy.
Here are what we see as the five most compelling and important IoT uses cases today, with the caveat that these use cases are always evolving and could change drastically in years to come.
When most people read “IoT security” online they’re reading about how companies are trying to protect their devices and IoT ecosystems from cyber criminals, and yes, that is one very important aspect of IoT security.
In this case, though, we’re talking about the actual use case of IoT security, meaning how companies and individuals are using the Internet of Things to secure their homes and businesses.
Security cameras fitted with sensors that can relay key data to the business and/or homeowner is one example. Another would be facial recognition technology, which can be integrated with other IoT-based technologies and smart devices to provide an unprecedented level of whole-home or whole-office security, where, in the case of office buildings, ID cards are no longer used and employees simply face a panel that can quickly and accurately check their identity.
2. Supply Chain Management
If there’s one use case for IoT that has the most immediate potential to change the way businesses run and significantly improve the bottom line for any business with any kind of inventory to manage (which is most businesses), it’s supply chain management.
Being able to not only track where your devices, supplies, fleet vehicles, etc… are but also to know exactly what they’re doing in real time and then be able to store real-data that you can later analyze is an incredibly powerful IoT-based capability.
Supply Chain Management
There’s no better way to know what’s going on with your inventory and track every item than through IoT sensors. Using the data generated from these sensors, you can then proactively and far more intelligently control and automate ordering, processing, and transport.
IoT-based supply chain management has already revolutionized the world of fleet management by allowing the more efficient running and maintenance of trucking fleets.
One by one, industries will be moving to IoT technology to manage supply chains.
Home and industrial smart lighting have already changed the lighting world permanently and for the better. The size of the smart lighting market is expected to more than triple to $28 billion by 2025.
But what most people still understand about smart lighting—the Internet of Things’ first true use case—is that it has laid the groundwork for many other IoT-based services and technologies. Since LED smart lights can be easily inlaid with sensors, businesses and homes are using smart lighting as a sort of neural network for their entire IoT ecosystem and using it to more efficiently control temperature, conduct maintenance, use energy, and monitor key building systems in real time.
4. Predictive Maintenance Predictive maintenance allows businesses to efficiently and conveniently schedule standard maintenance and also anticipate, with extremely high accuracy, when they will need to do non-routine maintenance or bigger repairs.
This is a powerful tool, given the average cost of maintenance at, for example, a typical manufacturing facility, and the amount of money lost to heavier repairs, downtime, and permanently damaged equipment.
Chevron is using predictive maintenance to identify corrosion and pipeline damages, and many other industrial companies are starting to implement it, although, according to a report by Bain & Company — https://www.networkworld.com/article/3340132/why-predictive-maintenance-hasn-t-taken-off-as-expected.html — implementing predictive maintenance is not easy.
No doubt, there are many other impressive use cases of IoT technology, and the list will get longer as time goes on and as companies better understand how to both develop and use their IoT-based systems. For now, look to predictive maintenance, security, lighting, and supply chain management to be the fastest growing use cases.