About six years ago, I was working in a support capacity as my employer rolled out its cloud storage initiative. I saw hardly any support cases, and the cases I did see mainly concerned licensing and downtime issues. From my brief brush with the enterprise cloud, I felt like cloud storage was going to need some polishing before it became the next big thing.

But now here we are—the cloud has taken off, and the benefits and applications of it in business world have shifted the technological landscape in a way that I thought I’d only see in cyberpunk, neo-futuristic fictional settings. Organizations are scrambling to implement cloud-based infrastructures and analytics solutions that can deliver real-time business intelligence. Those with infrastructures in place already are trying to find better, faster ways to extract, analyze, and act on the business intelligence (BI) that’s built on things like machine data, customer habits, and environmental factors—that is, the Internet of Things, or IoT.

Everything Is Connected

IoT is the evolution of cloud and in-memory computing. I convergence and hyper-convergence will likely push it further into the mainstream as businesses figure out how to leverage mobile devices, always-on connectivity, real-time BI, and software-defined or cloud-based systems.

Here’s how some industries are already using IoT, or how they could use IoT:

  • Worker safety: First responders can be equipped with wearable sensors and wireless hubs/mini-PCs that use software layers to store and analyze data.
  • Inventory management: Applicable to manufacturing and retail, IoT can help companies keep track of inventory, with automated replenishment and innate theft
  • Healthcare: Patient data can be delivered to a provider’s tablet, enabling the provider to see the patient’s health status or entire medical history from a single dashboard, including medication management. This dashboard can also provide a communication portal between providers and patients—all without violating the Health Insurance and Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA).
  • Energy: IoT can help ensure that everything on an oil rig, wind farm, or solar-power system is working right. It can also automate alerts and adjustments, help personnel manage components remotely, and monitor worker safety for miners or oil-rig operators.
  • Agriculture: Livestock can be tagged and crop conditions monitored; IoT provides a foundation for “smart farming” and automated irrigation and fertilization.
  • Transportation: Sensors and cameras can monitor all kinds of conditions, from weather to tire pressure, and hook it up to other systems like traffic or collision reports; and all of this data can be monitored and managed from one dashboard. Drivers can know what’s wrong with a car before taking it to the mechanic. Large fleets of commercial vehicles can be monitored similarly.

Further Thoughts

What are some ways you think IoT could change the game?

For a deeper look into how IoT is affecting various verticals, check out my colleague’s post, “3 Ways the Internet of Things Is Transforming Modern Life.”

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