- What is IoT?
Generally speaking, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a group of devices that integrate with each other and work without human interruption. Imagine, if the fridge would be able to analyze, which products are running out of stock and order them by itself. When the products arrive, the oven starts pre-heating and the water starts boiling. This network of “things” that can analyze the situation and work together on any task is called IoT. It consists of scanners that record the data, software that interprets it, and devices that can perform any action. The joint work of these components allows optimizing routine tasks.
- Why do I need this information?
Because IoT can also improve the efficiency of your business and grow profits. If organized correctly, the Internet of Things can create a game-changing competitive advantage for your company. There are three ways the IoT can grow your profits. First, it maximizes the effectiveness of production or operational processes. It saves time and improves the quality of your business. Secondly, it reduces costs and prevents losses, associated with incidents. IoT can also create the unique customer experience. It Identifies each client and personalizes the offered services based on individual needs.
- So, you are saying that in the future shops will be able to recognize the customers?
This technology already exists and modern companies already test it. Some retailers, like Tesco and X5 Retail Group, adopt the display advertisements, based on the demographics of the clients watching it. Such technology allows to maximize the return on marketing investments and convert more visitors to buyers. Other technologies allow upgrading the products and services. Think of Google Maps. It collects the information from people smartphones and navigators to evaluate the traffic. Then it builds the fastest route for each user. And all without human interruption!
But today majority of companies don’t know about the opportunities of IoT. Others don’t go further than motion-detected light switch on. And very few significantly upgrade their businesses with the Internet of Things.
- Why is everyone talking about IoT? They are so lazy to turn on the light?
The Internet of Things is the new era that will soon become a part of our everyday life. The failure to adopt it is likely to drag your business down. Remember the Kodak? The company didn't want to switch from film to digital cameras. It made the world camera leader fall close to bankruptcy. IoT for businesses is a modern digital camera for Kodak. McKinsey Global Institute predicts the annual economic impact of IoT to be up to $11.1 trillion. No wonder this trend is growing in popularity. More and more companies are aiming to be among the first to adopt new technologies.
- But to buy all these technologies I need to rob a bank!
Well, not exactly. Start small. You don’t need to buy all the existing devices and scanners to unite them within one network. You may only purchase those, which are the most valuable for your business. For example, you can start with access control automation with face recognition technology. Moreover, there are technologies that combine multiple functions within one device. It allows one product to solve different tasks. Video analytics collects and analyzes the huge amount of data from only one camera. It can detect the objects, identify the shapes and colors, and even recognize each individual or license plate. Using this information, the software can send the customized tasks to any connected device. Video analytics is a universal remedy to work with big data for IoT purposes.
- It means that every CCTV camera knows who I am?
And again, not exactly. The analysis is done not by the camera, but by the software. The camera alone only captures the visual data. Video Management Software (VMS) can analyze it, interpret and tell the network devices what to do. Remember, we told you about three components of the IoT? Scanners and devices can do the tasks on their own. Cameras can record videos and the electric lock can open or close the door. But VMS “glues” together these two components, making them work in one system. When the camera captures your face, VMS recognizes it and tells the lock to open the door, the lights to turn on and the boombox to play your favorite music.
- Sounds like the beginning of Skynet…
We would say, that it is a complete opposite. The initial task of Video Management Software is surveillance and security. It helps to immediately react to any suspicious activity in the monitored zone. If evil Terminator comes to our world, VMS will be the first to inform the police. Immediate reaction will liquidate the Terminator before it says “Hasta la vista, baby”. The reason, why VMS is not dangerous is that it can only do what you ask it to do. Video Analytics systems follow the algorithm that is set by the human. It makes Video Surveillance a reliable helper that will serve you unconditionally.
- Alright, but how the security system will grow my profits?
There are many reasons to invest in video analytics. MGI forecast the retailers to earn up to $1.2 trillion annually by 2025 with the help of IoT. The most valuable applications will be based on the video analytics. Here are just some of these applications:
- Face or license plate recognition-based access control helps not only to secure your premises but also to reduce labor cost;
- Losses prevention due to immediate Police informing in case of crime or fire detection;
- Connecting cameras and cashiers, for example, can optimize the customer traffic flow. If the long queue is detected, VMS can open a new cashier and equally distribute the clients.
There are many other ways to grow profits, using the video analytics-based IoT.
- Is there anything else you can recommend me on IoT?
Sure! Here are some tips and tricks on IoT:
- Identify your needs. There are thousands of technologies that can add value to businesses. Choose only those that are the most relevant to your goals.
- Ensure scalability. Make sure, your Internet of Things will be able to grow together with your business.
- Ensure constant support. Internet of Things depends on the system stability. Make sure, the provider offers immediate support for your IoT.
- Find the most efficient technologies. To cut costs, make sure you use the most efficient tools. For example, you can use PTZ or Fish-eye panoramic cameras instead of many standard ones.
- Use universal software. It is important to use the software that can receive information from any type of scanner (or camera) and send tasks to any device.
- IP connection. All the “Things” in your system are better to be connected through Internet Protocol. Forget about analog cables.
- And finally, IoT is not a cost, it is an investment. No doubt, it will grow fast in the nearest future. Don’t wait. Invest in IoT today to earn profits tomorrow.