Businesses need stop waiting around to make the most out of the opportunities presented by the internet of things (IoT). As the amount of data that flows between these internet-connected devices increases exponentially, organisations that want to have a competitive edge need to be harnessing it. Really, it’s a no-brainer.

Like cloud computing, if businesses don’t have a strategy to make the most out of IoT they are already considered to be behind the times. Recent market research showed that although nearly 90% of execs feel the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is critical to their companies’ success, only 16% have a comprehensive IoT roadmap. With Industry 4.0 on our doorstep, innovation is key, and businesses cannot afford to be left behind. So, how can they plan and execute a winning IoT strategy?

How to win with IoT

The IoT presents a unmissable opportunity to harness data. One of the industries in which we have seen IoT take off is manufacturing. With IoT, manufacturers optimise their machine productivity and reliability to meet their business goals. Manufacturers can also use real-time insights gathered from their sensors to develop more effective and actionable solutions. Furthermore, this enables them to be more proactive when it comes to machine maintenance, reducing costs and saving on downtime.

Another example of an industry in which IoT has proven successful is the transport industry. Forrester predicts that fleet management in transportation will be the hottest area for IoT growth. With the IoT, third-party logistics providers can implement their ideas to improve their vehicle reliability and optimise their fleet’s utilisation. This is all thanks to connecting vehicles to the IoT ecosystem, providing actionable real-time insights. With connected vehicles, connected freight and connected fleet, businesses receive improved visibility of potentially hazardous goods, while also benefitting from the ability to improve predicted arrival and departure times.

These industry-specific applications of IoT are proof of the ways this technology can reduce costs while optimising productivity. They are also a great example of how the successful planning and implementation of this technology can allow industries dealing with large volumes of data to manage it safely and on a global scale.

How can I implement a successful IoT strategy?

It may sound obvious, but, it’s crucial to start by laying out a series of business goals and carefully defining objectives. Then, and only then, can businesses determine what they need to achieve in order to implement the appropriate IoT strategy?

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With clear objectives in mind, businesses need to be putting these IoT strategies into place now. With industry 4.0 and IoT both taking off, it’s important for businesses to realise that the IoT demands a high level of investment, excellent specialists and the command of new technologies. Once implemented, in most IoT projects, the IoT loop will only be closed off by continuously monitoring and analysing all relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These KPIs can be tracked via a dashboard to make it simple to monitor the progress, as well as analyse the best ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Keep up with the latest IoT trends

Although the term IoT has been floating around for a while now, to stay ahead and remain competitive, businesses must continuously be evolving their strategic plans in order for the business’ IoT projects to keep up with the demand and need of each area.

This involves furthering big data use cases, and taking into account how machine learning and AI might integrate with IoT plans to keep driving the business forward. With smart machines being better than humans at accurately and consistently communicating data, businesses need to look at how this technology will help them remain up to date and competitive.

New advancements in technology now allow Data Scientists to complete their work in modern “AI” languages, and with a touch of a button this can be converted into live and operational automation systems that feed off billions of events and many terabytes of data – it’s game-changing for business.

Industries such as manufacturing are leading the way when it comes to innovating use cases for IoT. They are therefore reaping the benefits of driving their businesses forward successfully. As the technology continues to become more widespread and is applied across more areas and sectors, we are bound to see further use cases across sectors as brands use IoT to turn their next big idea to a connected reality.

So, perhaps that’s the last piece of advice – these vertical use cases show that IoT is essential, but IoT on it’s own will struggle to win significant attention in your business outside experiments. When combined with deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, IoT steps into a world of practical impact that warrants attention in the boardroom. Adding AI to IoT makes the technology smarter, and far more valuable to business operations. Maybe we should stop saying IoT and instead say AI.IoT – where the AI is specific to the data science that adds value in each vertical industry.