IoT Applications to Enhance Customer Value
Despite growing popularity of the IoT, few studies have focused on categorization of the IoT for enterprises. Based on the technology trends and literature review, this article identifies three IoT categories for enterprise applications: (1) monitoring and control, (2) big data and business analytics, and (3) information sharing and collaboration.
Understanding how these three IoT categories can enhance the customer value of an organization is a prerequisite to successful IoT adoption. This article next discusses the three IoT categories, along with an illustration of real-world IoT applications developed to enhance customer value.
1) Monitoring and control
Monitoring and control systems collect data on equipment performance, energy usage, and environmental conditions, and allow managers and automated controllers to constantly track performance in real time anywhere, anytime. Advanced monitoring and control technologies such as smart grid and smart metering reveal operational patterns, spot areas of potential improvement, or predict future outcomes and optimize operations, leading to lower costs and higher productivity.
The smart home is known to be at the forefront of innovation regarding IoT monitoring and control systems. The primary value propositions are family and property protection and energy savings. For example, the Verizon Home Monitoring and Control network uses a wireless communications technology designed specifically for remote control applications in home automation. IoT-enabled home appliances and devices can be monitored and controlled outside the user’s home through a computer, tablet, or smartphone. The Verizon Home Monitoring and Control network allows users to adjust the lights control the climate, manage the security system, receive automatic event notifications, and even lock and unlock doors.
2) Big data and business analytics
IoT devices and machines with embedded sensors and actuators generate enormous amounts of data and transmit it to business intelligence and analytics tools for humans to make decisions. These data are used to discover and resolve business issues such as changes in customer behaviors and market conditions to increase customer satisfaction, and to provide value-added services to customers. Business analytics tools may be embedded into IoT devices, such as wearable health monitoring sensors, so that real-time decision making can take place at the source of data.
The IoT and advances in business analytics now make it possible to capture vast amounts of individual health data. The IoT enables healthcare service providers to personalize patient care. New IoT technologies provide data about a patient’s everyday behaviors and health, creating opportunities for care providers to influence patients far more frequently and effectively. For example, Human’s Health sense eNeighbor1 remote monitoring system reports changes in the member’s normal patterns of movement and activity to Human a care managers–—via in home sensors that measure routine daily activities with data analytics–—to help trigger interventions and help prevent adverse events from escalating to emergency room visits or hospital stays.
3) Information sharing and collaboration
Information sharing and collaboration in the IoT can occur between people, between people and things, and between things. Sensing a predefined event is usually the first step for information sharing and collaboration. In the supply chain area, information sharing and collaboration enhance situational awareness and avoid information delay and distortion. For example, if sensors are placed throughout a retail store where refrigeration is necessary, alerts can be sent to the store manager’s mobile device whenever the refrigerators malfunction. The manager can then check the employee status report to see who is available and send task assignments to that employee via his or her IoT-enabled mobile device Information sharing and collaboration.
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