Top 6 IoT Trends for 2016

The future of IoT is bright, as portable smart devices continue to become more readily available by the day. As IoT technology advances, new IoT trends for smart devices emerge for the start of 2016, giving companies more reason to invest in IoT sooner than later.

Today, billions of devices that defy the common definition of “computer” are communicating over networks, almost entirely without need for human interference. These devices send data to and receive instructions from software on both nearby and remote servers. Software and sensors are controlling more of what once was done by humans, often more efficiently, conveniently, and cheaply.

New leaps in computing power have given businesses the necessary resources to integrate smart devices and networks on a large scale. 20 percent of companies are investing in sensor-equipped devices, and that number will skyrocket in 2016.

Here are some of the trends that we’re seeing in the IoT for enterprise, which will only grow in 2016.

1. Preventive Maintenance

The IoT lets us predict problems before they happen and prevent them from occurring in the first place, saving valuable time and money. With old-school maintenance processes, maintenance personnel stops by to check out the device in question. Being human, maintenance people are prone to error and may misread gauges or fail to follow-up on necessary maintenance even after noting that it’s recommended, for example, to change a filter or top off fluid. Eventually, this leads to device failure, requiring replacement or repairs, on top of expensive downtime.

A fully-automated, IoT-networked process bypasses all of this. The network lets you wirelessly send data to a CMMS program and perform an action whenever the software receives a certain reading. A low fluid reading in a hydraulics system might generate an automatic work order, sending maintenance to the spot without requiring any additional intervention or any human (and error-prone) scheduling. It all happens in real-time, with hands-off data aggregation and automatic adjustments occurring reliably and regularly.

2. Auto-replenishment

Using IoT-driven replenishment saves you resources on staffing an inventory team but still lets you maintain an accurate inventory and place your orders accordingly. Traditional auto-replenishment is rife with problems that IoT solves seamlessly. Businesses that utilize a traditional auto-replenishment system often receive inventory on a regular weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis, regardless of whether they actually need it. This one-size-fits-all process often leads to a lag or a surplus.

If you run a business with perishable stock, expired merchandise gets expensive quickly. Even if your overstock isn’t perishable, it’s still costing you money by taking up valuable space that you could use more efficiently. IoT-driven auto-replenishment systems order only what you need, when you need it. The system automatically communicates your sales data and places orders with quantities based on what you actually need at that time. There’s no surplus waiting to be sold, and there’s no costly shortages of the items that your clientele wants the most.

3. Remote monitoring

Factories with traditional monitoring processes spend valuable resources staffing supervisors to keep an eye on processes, data and metrics in real-time using hands-on methods that are neither effective nor efficient.

In manufacturing, for instance, it’s vital that you’re constantly collecting data and measuring performance to be sure that your processes are efficient and yielding high product quality. An IoT-driven remote monitoring process lets you aggregate this data wirelessly and automatically, enabling you to do more, better with a leaner quality assurance team.

4. Remote Control

From smart TVs to controllable factory equipment, there’s no doubt that there’s an obsession with remote control as a feature today. Earlier in 2015, Toshiba unveiled a cloud remote control system specifically for use with IoT-linked devices, and the capability of hosting and controlling over 100,000 devices remotely. Remote monitoring offers endless possibilities in manufacturing. Supervisors can keep an eye on metrics in the factory and direct the device to take action based on what they see. New remote hosting capacities will facilitate huge growth for remote monitoring in 2016.

5. Location-Based Services

The IoT has potential uses in a variety of markets that use location-based services, including emergency and disaster management, smart infrastructure, water management, and transportation services. Consensus-derived open location standards through IoT implementation allow us to use individual devices, such as smartphones, to greater value.

For instance, most smartphones have an accelerometer. The Android app, Pothole 311, lets you detect potholes using that accelerometer sensor and transmit that information instantly to the local Department of Transportation so that they can address the issue without waiting for a manual report, which might take much longer to receive and process. This time-saving communication is what the IoT is all about.

6. New Services, New Revenue Streams

The IoT certainly has potential to help your bottom line by saving on costs and resources, but that’s not where your biggest profit potential stands. As the IoT expands its horizons, you have the opportunity to implement it into even more services that you offer to your clientele. Here’s where your revenue stream increases drastically. Use the IoT to bring connectivity into your target customer’s life, whether it’s through connected electronics and appliances or specific niche sensors geared toward an industrial audience.

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