Workplaces are poised to get smarter with Internet of Things

Simply put, IoT is the approach of connecting any device to the Internet or to each other. This encompasses everything from consumer electronics, automobiles to industrial machinery and practically anything else that one can imagine.  This also administers to components within the machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig. The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people).  

A lot of IoT related examples can be seen both in workplace and outside of it. Employee ID cards used in relatively all the modern workplaces now with badges is the most elementary of IoT use case at workplace. Often, they allow an employee to enter office place, parking garages etc. But regularly, the employee has to take some action, like wave them to the nearest sensor/tracking machine. IoT-enabled employee badges and parking cards will let people come and go in the same way cars can now drive through empty tollbooths while barely slowing down. The buildings (things) will “know” who they are, because other things (the ID cards) will have quietly communicated that fact. Similarly, in manufacturing and warehousing, IoT will drive towards maximum competencies as companies rely more and more on robots, autonomous vehicles, and drones to move parts and goods in and out of storage. BLE sensors and makers in shelves and floors will not only help devices route to their destinations, but also report back to cloud-based software that monitors and coordinates movements in real-time.

IoT has opened up a world of possibilities for businesses and employees in virtually every industry. For the first time, we can see what circumstances in real time in the physical world, and data that used to be is now flowing into one place. Our traditional office is dynamically changing and so are those working in them. Within the next decade, we will have the need to embrace a hyper-connected workforce made up of digital natives. These workers will be early adopters of connected consumer devices and will adapt quickly to the convenience the Internet of Things can offer. With Millennials predicted to make up 75% of the overall workforce by 2020, it’s important for businesses to take these steps to meet their needs.

Businesses constantly look for more efficiency and savings, and as more and more of our tools, technology, and utilities become connected, companies will reap the benefits on their balance sheets. This disruption will come from new value creation made feasible by massive volumes of data from connected products, and the increased capability to make automated decisions and take actions in real time. This will tremendously improve the operational efficiency (e.g. improved uptime, asset utilization) through predictive maintenance and remote management.

With IoT one has access to better data, IoT offers a diverse way to collect better data that formerly might have been tallied up manually. Smarter data about peak times in a restaurant or retail establishment could help the owners make better decisions about employee scheduling to maximize productivity. Similarly companies from other sectors might use the data collected from employees to pinpoint their most productive times, and schedule meetings appropriately.

The time for connected offices is already here. For example IoT takes remote device management to a whole new level. Machines in factories now have sensors that notify workers as soon as there’s a problem. With millennials who are roughly 66 percent of the workforce; are willing to try wearable devices which help them perform better – the “Internet of Things” won’t just empower things, it will also entrust people to better manage aspects of their work lives.

The “Internet of Things” is starting to make its presence felt in the workplace. Not only will it completely transform how we work, it will also change the way we interact with our surroundings. While it’s true that many companies already have the basic building blocks to roll out connectivity and the things to connect, where it can start getting complicated is bringing all the elements together, maybe because IoT is still an emerging trend and there is lack of familiarity among the users. Also, to some extend the benefits are not always captured and aligned with the business objectives. At the moment many of our connected devices can talk, but not the same languages. There’s a danger of creating chaos with a smart system if all the aspects within it aren’t singing the same song. This creates barrier in unlocking the real value of IoT.

IoT in India

IoT adoption in India comes with its own challenges – Security and Privacy issues are paramount as everything becomes more networked. Lack of standards and protocols, reliability and stability issues are common. In addition, upgrading of telecom & cable infrastructure is required in India. Also, we need to upskill our workforce as there is lack of adequate skill-sets to expedite the march towards fourth industrial revolution.

According to analysts IoT market in India is projected to grow at a CAGR over 28% during 2015 to 2020. IoT is being rapidly brought into use across diverse industry verticals to reduce operational and manpower costs, and increase operational efficiency. However, the technical complexities, cultural integration and business models will evolve in parallel to the digital business vision and IoT roadmap evolution. However, India’s IoT market is highly fragmented with numerous players operating across the value chain and there exist some local challenges because of which the growth may not at par with the global level. For example getting device connected in Indian infrastructure is not easy. Extreme temperature, high levels of humidity and dust, lack of clean and continuous power supply, inadequate telecom coverage.

Need for standardization of all devices across an IoT ecosystem coupled with favorable Government policy environment are set to fuel growth in the country’s IoT market over the next five years. Planned government projects such as smart cities, smart grids, smart transportation etc. are expected to be major revenue generating sources for the IoT solution providers in the years to come.w

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