6 Ways To Get Actionable Insight From Your IoT Data
The number of IoT-enabled devices is growing exponentially. Gartner recently suggested that as many as 3.1 billion IoT devices could already be in use by businesses today. Some estimates even predict that by 2025, the total number could be much higher, exceeding 75 billion. Together they’ll generate an immense amount of data, and companies everywhere are scrambling to get their heads around it and figure out how to make the best use of it.
IoT-enabled devices are already being used for many different applications. In some cases, the data they collect is used to communicate status, such as whether a device is running properly. In other cases, data is used to provide actionable intelligence that helps people (and machines) change their behaviors, or to provide a feedback loop that companies can leverage to improve the functionality and user experience of their products. Regardless of use though, here are six ways your company can make the most use of data gleaned from IoT initiatives.
1) Set A Goal
Even when you’re in discovery mode, it pays to have a goal in mind. At the trial stage, goals could include things like making sure the technology works, confirming whether your solution actually solves a customer problem or flushing out systemic problems that are likely to be an issue as you scale. The track can be loosely defined, but you still want to be able to confirm progress and achieve a result. In the end, you’re looking to make smarter decisions that yield business results.
2) Know Where Your Data Is Coming From
Collecting data from IoT initiatives is part of the challenge. Many different types of IoT devices are used in business settings, including:
- Industrial control systems that enable centralized control and monitoring in manufacturing environments
- Commercial wearables like gas detection monitors and police body cameras
- Sensors and devices that monitor temperature, pressure, humidity and other environmental conditions
- Location beacons and GPS systems
- Tablets and other devices running business applications
Beyond devices, data can also come from other sources, including open application programming interfaces (APIs) that connect with other internal and external networks and systems, as well as web data, social networks and traditional media. Regardless of source, to take full advantage of IoT, you have to collect all the data and know where it’s coming from. Only then can you prioritize its usefulness and importance.
3) Solve The Integration Issue
Within a business setting, thousands of different devices could be collecting data simultaneously. While that’s impressive (or frightening, depending on your outlook), the raw data doesn’t bring much value unless you can refine it and put it in context.
In a recent Forbes Insights study, over 500 business leaders were asked to name the biggest challenges their company faced in building out its IoT capabilities. Thirty percent said it was integrating disparate data. When it comes to IoT data, the whole is often greater than the sum of the parts. To maximize its potential, data has to be gathered and transported somewhere where it can be viewed holistically.