The Internet of Things (IoT) has the power to not only cause a digital revolution, but a fundamental shift in the way businesses and enterprises operate across the world.
With IoT Analytics predicting the industrial sector will invest around US$310 billion (€261.21 billion)into emerging technologies over the next two years, the popularity of IoT is surging as managers quickly begin to realise the endless benefits it can bring, as John Geasa, senior director, IoT products and services at Speedcast reports.
However, it is critical that companies who want to capture the true advantages of IoT, can deploy it on a mass scale with access to the high-quality communications required. This can be a huge challenge in remote locations where IoT has the most value, to protect workers, track assets, predict maintenance needs and enable remote management.
A complete IoT implementation sees a series of devices connected from sensors to wearable technologies, to camera surveillance systems and asset tracking technology. Linked by one network, it enables businesses to gain a full picture of their operations with specialist analytical software that can be used to make smart business decisions. From improving worker safety, to removing any bottlenecks, the IoT system plays a key role in improving the way in which an enterprise works.
This intelligence is not just available locally but can be accessed at a regional or even international level with a mix of automation, dashboards and surveillance allowing for remote management from a distance. It is also possible in certain cases for technology to go even further and act automatically when certain changes are spotted that need immediate intervention.
The most advanced deployments are designed from conception to maximise operational uptime, improve productivity and safety, whilst maintaining environmental compliance. With IoT, responses to problems can be fast tracked with a simpler information flow, meaning situations can be dealt with automatically or remotely whilst ultimately boosting the workload negating the need for extra staff. But all this is only possible via high-quality communications, which can be challenging when system complexity is high and sites are located far from any network.
Turning IoT into a reality
For a total transformation, it is important businesses use the right technology and have access to the best technology and communication providers to come up with the perfect solution. Utilising an automated end-to-end service is the best option, to provide the most cost-effective, reliable connectivity possible.
Designed to be tailored to meet specific objectives, a platform such as this will be able to harness all applications. This will ensure a business has an IoT network that will deliver better productivity, optimise operations, and improve safety.
As part of this a fully managed wireless network can seamlessly integrate microwave, Wi-Fi, satellite, V-SAT and cellular connectivity, for the best performance. It is also possible to balance different applications where those needing hundreds of megabits per second can be dynamically given greater bandwidth. Alongside this, smart network management can ensure the most appropriate service is being used, allowing for greater performance and efficiency.
IoT in practice
With a well-managed communications system and IoT solution in place, businesses can start to reap the many rewards associated with IoT deployment. As the industrial sector continues to drive the economies of the world, IoT will not only benefit companies but also the wider community.
For a major non-governmental organisation (NGO), IoT has been responsible for keeping cargo and workers safe as they deliver much-needed aid to victims in remote areas. Using vehicle tracking and driver identification, this organisation was able to monitor and communicate with 3,700 emergency vehicles in real-time. It allowed for the location of vehicles to be tracked as well as the timing of stops, whilst deterring theft and providing immediate notifications of any danger to personnel.
Experts estimate IoT-based automation contributes to around 80% of the tasks executed at a fracking site. There, IoT has significantly increased efficiency by tracking and analysing every aspect of operations, when sand arrives, where trucks are located and the wear and tear on equipment.
While a major manufacturer uses a data network that backhauls sensor data from industrial compressors in the field to company headquarters. With data analytics the company has been able to schedule maintenance, maximising uptime and reducing costs. When a single pump failure at a remote site can cost between US$100,000 (€84261.50) to $300,000 (€252784.50)in production per day, payback comes fast.
Making a difference
With IoT delivering fast, transformative results it will prove critical in the future success of enterprises worldwide. Improving productivity, yield, workloads and safety, IoT will revolutionise operations across the board.
However, for IoT to reach its full potential, it is critical organisations incorporate a full end-to-end solution, such as the ones offered by Speedcast, that not only provides a comprehensive management platform, but also delivers high-quality connectivity that is reliable in the field.
With smart network management, and a fully managed service alongside advanced technical help, businesses will be in the best position possible when it comes to taking full advantage of the benefits IoT creates.
The author is John Geasa, senior director, IoT products and services at Speedcast.