Whatever you call it — the internet of things, the cloud, the “smart grid” — it’s all about connectivity, access, and efficiency. So what exactly is it? The internet of things, as we’ll refer to it, is a series of interconnected “smart devices.”
Have you heard of the Nest thermostat? That’s an example of a smart device: not only can you control it remotely, say, from your phone, but it also uses sensors to adjust the temperature based on whether you’re home or not, and from there it actually “learns” how to heat and cool your house optimally based on your schedule and other factors.
Picture an entire facility full of devices with capabilities like that. By 2020, it may be the case, with over 212 billion connected “things” predicted. What are some potential benefits?
You’re easier to work with as a supplier.
Increased accessibility to data and project status can streamline customer service, facilitate communication, and help get production runs or orders up and running more quickly by seamlessly integrating build packages and other preliminary materials.
You can lower your own operating costs, and pass on savings.
Remember the Nest thermostat example above? It may sound complicated, but it exists for one reason: to save homeowners money. A facility equipped with similar devices would maximize efficiency on a larger scale — not just for temperature conditions, but to automate and optimize your energy use and ensure in real-time that every piece of equipment is being used as cost-effectively as possible. Lower operating cost is an attractive proposition for buyers.
It’s easier to collaborate and communicate across geographies.
If you’ve got several facilities or work with partners in other geographic regions, the internet of things can help you collaborate with both personnel and equipment more effectively. Since both facilities would have access to real-time data, each can adjust production and react to issues at the other as soon as they come up.
There are new possibilities for your products.
Not only would your shop change, but depending on what industry you’re in, you may see new opportunities and applications for your products or services. The internet of things is going to affect a lot of sectors — in fact, it already is. Medical, automotive, aerospace — all will be impacted by advances in the name of safety, health, efficiency, and other benefits.
Of course, with increased connectivity there comes the risk of security and privacy issues — something that any manufacturer of smart, connected devices will have to address.
Cost efficiency and return on investment are critical measures of your success. Curious how to gauge and optimize them?
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