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The ABC’s of IoT


The ABC’s of IoT

I’m sure you have caught wind of the latest tech buzz phrase “IoT” or Internet of Things but what does IoT mean and why is it a big deal?

When I first heard about IoT it was explained to me a few different ways but none of the stories totally resonated so I politely nodded and smiled. Then last week at Dreamforce I had the distinct pleasure of watching a panel of the hottest Tech minds in the business when the light bulb of what IoT could do for business came on. Technology leaders from PWC, Salesforce, and ServiceMax presented on IoT and gave the best demonstration of IoT that I could think of: they related IoT to beer.  Genius.

Stay with me.


Picture a store refrigeration cooler full of beer.  In the cooler there are two censors: One-sensor tracks inventory by weight and one sensor tracks temperature.   The censor end points are transmitted to a connected database with basic rules that send out notifications based on conditions. Think of this as an automated tracker of stuff and taskmaster.


As beer gets pulled from the shelves, the weigh sensor tracks the declining inventory. An alert is triggered once the beer weight hits a point to plan a restock. Why is this a cool feature? You can set up notifications and business rules to alert the store manager for internal restocking, or create an order request to the distributor. Likewise if the temperature controls seem out of range, IoT monitors the performance and can schedule immediate action for service. This can all be done without someone needing to see there is a point of failure, leaving more options to resolve sub-optimal service operations.

Basically IoT just saved your beer. You’re welcome.

How is this impactful for business?  Short term it looks like this:


Now imagine if you weren’t tracking a grocery store beer cooler. What if you were the Chief Facilities Officer running a large building with several elevator banks, HVAC units, fire and security controls…you get the idea. This is where IoT transitions from being something cool to something remarkable.  The goal for the building is to operate focusing on top tier efficiency and safety levels at all times.  This standard takes data, scheduling, effective equipment uptime, appropriate service level agreement contracts, and much more.  Incorporating IoT as part of the managing solutions suite for these devices and mechanics facilitate resolution options and scheduled repairs well before any point of failure notification a device may trigger. IoT can track the number of trips an elevator makes, peak usage times, floors covered, average weight per ride, and proactively schedule preventive maintenance, and plan rest or service down times to reserve usage for where it’s needed.

These are two ends of the IoT spectrum in action. Think about how IoT can work in your world.  What if you set a budget and comfort level with your utilities and home security company. Instead of looking at your bill each month and try to managing your daily usage the next month, the utility and security companies worked together and with you and took into consideration the weather, your home schedule, ideal comfort level and proactively set temperature controls and security scans throughout the day. If there is a spike in usage or unusual activity you are alerted with realistic options on how you want to resolve the issue.

You’ve heard the term business partners. Think of IoT more like your business neighbor.  IoT keeps an eye out for you.  It’s as simple as ABC.

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