Corporate investment in the Internet of Things (IoT) is on the rise. Along with artificial intelligence, it’s one of the top spending priorities for 2018, according to a recent SADA Systems survey. However, although 67 percent of IT professionals say they’ve already implemented IoT in their organizations, many have yet to fully exploit the technology’s possibilities.

The promise of IoT is that it can solve a myriad of business problems, save time and increase productivity. But unleashing its potential in a way that generates tangible success – more sales or happier customers, for example – requires some prep work. It all begins with a deceptively simple question: What is the most pressing problem IoT can solve for our organization?

Calming the Waters for the Shipping Industry

Because IoT offers so many possibilities, it can be challenging to decide where to start. Homing in on a specific industry is an excellent way to illustrate how it can solve both simple and complex problems, while also saving money and creating efficiencies. In shipping, for example, IoT is used to address some of the industry’s most taxing problems, including shipping conditions, delays and equipment failures.

Reducing damage to cargo during transit: IoT sensors make cargo monitoring more accurate and secure. Sensors send notifications when cargo has been opened, alerting personnel to possible tampering. Shipping conditions can also be monitored to keep cargo safe. For example, certain items need to be kept at specific temperatures during transit or may be sensitive to high vibrations or humidity. Sensors on cargo containers track all sorts of freight and shipping conditions. When changes go beyond an acceptable limit, the system sends an alert so issues can be resolved before cargo is damaged.

When IoT is paired with unified communications & collaboration, the possibilities are endless.  Read our infographic to learn more. >

Eliminating unloading and delivery delays: Sensors on ships and docks capture and exchange data that can be used to accurately determine delivery times for cargo. If a ship is running late, the truck scheduled to pick up the delivery can be alerted, avoiding idle time at the dock. RFID tags, low energy Bluetooth devices and IoT sensors speed up the loading and unloading of cargo. Carriers know exactly where cargo is in the shipping process, and inefficiencies can easily be identified and corrected to improve supply chain logistics.

 Minimizing disruption due to equipment failure: Delays in shipping can result from problems on the ship or issues with the machinery used to load and unload cargo at the dock. By monitoring the performance of machines, IoT sensors can notify technicians at the first sign of possible deterioration. Carriers can be proactive with preventive maintenance, repairing equipment before it breaks. Downtime is reduced or eliminated, and larger, costlier repairs are avoided.

Solving Problems Across Many Industries

Shipping isn’t the only industry that benefits from the Internet of Things. Retailers can use IoT sensors to track how customers move around their store and engage with displays. The healthcare industry can use IoT devices to exchange and analyze patient information, reducing the need for in-person office visits and keeping emergency room traffic to a minimum. The applications are endless.

Of all the steps in the process of getting IoT projects up and running, the first is crucial: Understand what problem you need to solve and clearly define it. This ensures your IoT project is both manageable and will achieve your goals.

Once you’ve done that, everything else falls into place. You’ll know exactly what sensors or tags you’ll need, how to integrate them into your communications solution and your business processes and which metrics will demonstrate success.

An IoT project may look daunting at first. But, with the right prep work, companies can implement a solution that drives tangible – and impressive – results.

Want to know more about getting your enterprise organization started with IoT? Take advantage of our comprehensive white paper. >

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