The growth and prominence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital transformation is undeniable. By the end of 2017 it is anticipated that globally 8.4 billion connected devices will be used – a 31% increase from last year and eventually reaching 20.4 billion devices by 2020.
Worldwide companies from manufacturing to transportation to hospitality and education are realising the importance of integrating powerful, connected communication tools with IoT. Companies are regularly met with the challenge of juggling their existing investments as they increase their technological capabilities, that affect both internal and customer facing operations and remaining agile and efficient during this transition.
The ability to give machines a voice and enabling them to detect, analyse and communicate information – by integrating IoT systems with communication and collaboration tools, can help companies across all industries best enhance their own digital transformation.
This integration provides companies with the tools to become more flexible and productive as they start to deploy IoT to their customers.
By integrating devices and data with analytical IoT platforms companies are capable of becoming more responsive, therefore increasing their customer service experience. This convergence of communication and collaborative tools is assisting in giving machines a voice and transforming the way workflows can occur in an organisation, by connecting employees to certain triggers and ensuring the right escalation occurs, creating more educated and efficient responses as a result.
This process involves three distinct stages: detecting, analysing and communicating. Initially, middleware is used to gather vast amounts of sensor data, which is then organised and analysed, triggering the right workflow and appropriate means of communication to improve operations.
A common example of this can be identified through the use of panic buttons and other emergency systems. Generally, these are comprised of analog, one-way interactions, which limits the assessing of the communication. However, with the establishment of IoT and connected wireless environments within these emergency systems, the ability to produce voice, video and location services is established. The formation of these two-way, real time communication methods not only improves safety but also the services overall.
Reactive to predictive decision making
Additional benefits to speeding up response times and improving customer experience, the interaction of IoT with communications and collaboration capabilities will enhance the decision-making process for businesses.
Companies are now able to collect information from a variety of sensors that were once unavailable. Insights are then established from data collected prompting thought out and informed decisions by businesses. The progression of informed decision making is emerging due to the unity of IoT and unified communications, by delivering predictive, proactive actions rather than reactive decisions. Through predictive analytics, sensor data can help organisations better foresee outcomes or issues and address them before they occur.
For example within manufacturing establishments, real-time logistics powered by IoT can assist manufacturers better respond to interruptions within operations by notifying all engaged participants. The workforce can be easily updated and modified in terms of scheduling and other important logistics, such as driver pick up times and expected delivery times. This in conjunction with sensor data being analysed in real time, manufactures can also better predict downtime and make critical business decisions accordingly, whilst ensuring the right information get transmitted to those affected in an efficient manner.
IoT connectivity continues to permeate organizations globally and across all industries, yielding a wealth of actionable data. The convergence of IoT with communications and collaboration will help enterprises improve response time and customer experience, as well as enable more informed and predictive decision-making. It is an exciting time to see the early results of this marriage across industries driving greater flexibility and productivity, and even more exciting to imagine the opportunities ahead.