It used to be the case that when a product moved out of sight, you had no information about where it was and what it was doing. Out of sight, out of mind. Well that’s no longer true. Gartner estimates that there will be 26 billion Internet of Things devices within the next five years. The always-connected, steady stream of real-time data generated by IoT devices creates the opposite problem: too much raw data for anyone to make sense of.

Cloud-based dashboards developed with tools like ServiceMax and Salesforce tackle that problem by turning the data into graphs  that make clear what a device’s current status is, and allow actions to be triggered based on the data in the dashboard.

Use Real-Time Data to Make Real-Time Decisions

Dashboards and the steady stream of real-time data let companies make real-time decisions, especially to react to error conditions reported by the devices. The cloud provides a cost-effective means of scaling to handle the large amounts of data and provide computing power on an as-needed basis. The built-in redundancy of the cloud means that disaster recovery is guaranteed so the dashboard will always be available.

While many cloud service providers can roll out customized big data analytics environments, the products many companies already use can be integrated with the IoT data in the cloud. This enables companies to easily find the important pieces of information buried in the mega-mega-gigabytes generated and handle them as part of their existing workflows. As Forbes points out, much of the value of the IoT comes from small data. The ability to identify that data, as when using a dashboard, is key to taking advantage of it.

As one example of this, integrating IoT data with ServiceMax enables tracking parts and making real-time logistics decisions. IoT data can also be brought into Salesforce.com, allowing asset management from the same environment that provides other customer support.

Use Analytics to Make Long Term Decisions

The value of dashboard and data isn’t just for identifying and resolving immediate issues. Combining device data with other corporate data lets the IoT devices contribute to insights that identify future sales opportunities, build relationships with customers, and find solutions that require less time or money—Deloitte lists a half-dozen ways IoT analytics can generate value for business.

Placing the analytic processes in the cloud enables combining data from multiple contexts—multiple devices in multiple locations sending data at multiple times. A cloud-based dashboard presentation of the analytic results allows the analysis to be shared with everyone who needs it.

Get Value Out of Data

The Deloitte report makes clear that the way to get benefit from IoT is by integrating and analyzing IoT data, not only internally but also in partnerships and collaboration with other organizations. The data by itself is just a very large collection of numbers. When analyzed and turned into information displayed on cloud-based dashboards, that data lets businesses use IoT to solve business problems, which, after all, is the whole point.

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Carl Krupitzer

Carl is CEO and co-founder of ThingLogix

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