Industry 4.0, or the fourth Industrial Revolution, give it any name, the 21st-century business is all about using technologies to increase interconnectivity and automate business processes. And at the forefront of this industrial shift are two prominent technologies – the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data.
Industries use IoT for automating processes and reducing human interference, while big data helps them make better decisions. Together the two technologies help enterprises access better business intelligence, identify growth opportunities, and optimize their operations.
In fact, research shows companies that have implemented IoT see efficiency improvements of 12% on average. While organizations using big data for decision-making see at least a 10% increase in profits. More businesses today are realizing the vitality of having a cohesive system of IoT and big data technologies to improve the efficiency of their business processes.
In this blog, we will understand the relationship between the two and how businesses can benefit from IoT and big data. So, let us dive in.
How are IoT and Big Data Related?
Big data and IoT are two very different technologies, yet they are closely linked. IoT refers to the network of devices like sensors, computers, smartphones, appliances, and vehicles. These devices connect to the Internet and can collect and transmit data.
Big data, on the other hand, refers to the vast amounts of data IoT devices produce. It includes information like online transactions, marketing data, business intelligence data, and more. IoT devices produce data in real time and in large volumes.
Together, IoT and big data technologies help businesses gain new insights, automate their processes, and make informed decisions. In fact, big data collection and analytics can only begin once the company deploys its interconnected IoT devices.
The data sensors and other devices produce are so voluminous and diverse that businesses store them in data warehouses. These data storages collect raw data and organize and store it in tables and columns. Then, using business intelligence and analytics tools, businesses extract valuable insights from their IoT data.
How IoT and Big Data Help Business?
Let us understand in detail how IoT and big data together help businesses.
IoT in business is synonymous with business process automation. Businesses have many day-to-day repetitive tasks which require manual labor and cost the company valuable time. Even if they use machines, they still need operators to oversee the process.
However, IoT devices enable businesses to manage their operations without requiring extensive human intervention. As you know, IoT devices connect to a network allowing companies to monitor and control their operations remotely.
In IoT-enabled manufacturing units, companies can implement a system where machines adjust their production using real-time data. As a result, IoT, along with big data, helps improve productivity, reduce wastage of effort and time, and improve the financial stability of a company.
2. Better Decision Making with Actionable Insights
Businesses are always trying to improve their decision-making process, and IoT and big data help them accomplish that. Collecting, processing, and analyzing tons of data in real time enables companies to make informed decisions at the right moment.
For example, manufacturers use sensors to collect performance data from their equipment. Using big data in business, they can not only measure productivity but identify faults and areas of improvement in efficiency and reduce downtime.
Similarly, retailers use IoT devices such as RFID for customer tracking in their brick-and-mortar stores. They analyze which aisles and products attract more customers and tweak their layout and marketing strategies accordingly.
3. Predict Trends
Predictive analytics is nothing new. Researchers and the healthcare industry use big data to identify past events, analyze patterns, and predict future outcomes. But with IoT, even businesses can predict what may happen in the future and create plans for their best interest.
Using IoT devices, manufacturers can also collect maintenance data to predict what part they need to repair in the near future or when their equipment may become obsolete. As a result, they can schedule to repair or replace their equipment in advance without causing severe downtime.
4. Tailor Products and Services to Consumers’ Needs
Knowing your customers’ behavior, preferences, and needs is crucial for any business to be successful. Retailers can gather this information by using IoT technology in their decision-making process.
For instance, big data can help manufacturers personalize goods and services according to the demographics and preferences of customers. In addition, businesses can obtain insights into consumer preferences and demographic data by analyzing data from IoT-enabled devices and social media, which can help modify products, advertisements, and marketing tactics.
Similarly, store owners can use sensors to track how consumers move and interact with products. Using data from sensors, they can identify hot spots or high-demand zones and ones with low footfall. So, they can move around products and redesign their layout for better results.
5. Optimize the Supply Chain
Supply chains are an essential part of a business, and even the slightest hiccup, natural or man-made, can disrupt the entire flow of goods. Take the past few years, for example. The pandemic, movement restrictions, and war all impacted the global supply chain, causing inflation and a shortage of goods. IoT and big data can help optimize the supply chain.
For example, product manufacturers can use historical demand and sales data to predict upcoming highs and lows and alter their production levels accordingly. The same goes for retailers, who can use data to predict demand for a product and restock their inventory to meet that demand.
Using IoT devices, the supply chain also becomes more transparent for management. They can use sensors on their transport to monitor the location and status of goods in transit. Since these sensors transmit data in real-time, businesses can easily optimize their schedules and avoid delays.
Are There Any Challenges in Implementing IoT and Big Data Analytics?
When implementing IoT and big data, businesses must also consider the obstacles that come with it. Here are some challenges they must consider:
1. Data Security
Data security is the biggest issue when integrating IoT and big data analytics for enterprises. The likelihood of data breaches and cyber-attacks rises as more and more gadgets are connected to the Internet and produce massive volumes of data.
Businesses that gather sensitive data, such as financial or personal information, should be especially concerned about this. To prevent unwanted access, companies must take precautions to maintain the security of their data, including putting authentication and encryption systems in place.
2. Data Integration and Management
Data management and integration are additional difficulties firms encounter when deploying IoT and big data technologies. Making sense of all the data that is being created from many sources can be challenging.
Data integration and management play a key role in assisting businesses in gathering and combining data from diverse sources into a single view for analysis. To deal with the voluminous data, companies may also need to invest in cutting-edge data management systems, such as data warehousing, data integration, data quality, and data governance.
3. Skilled Labor
IoT automates business processes, but it does not make skilled labor obsolete. Businesses require staff members with training in data science, machine learning, and other related subjects to fully utilize these technologies. Since these abilities can be difficult to come by and expensive to hire, this can be challenging for many firms, especially smaller ones. Without the necessary talent, firms can find it difficult to maximize their usage of IoT and big data analytics and derive valuable insights from their data.
IoT and big data are powerful technologies that are profoundly changing how businesses run. These technologies help firms enhance their operations and boost their competitiveness by enabling them to get new insights, automate procedures, and make better decisions. IoT generates big data, which big data technologies are used to analyze, and gain insights from. These two concepts are closely related.
Businesses of all sizes can profit from using IoT and big data, despite difficulties like data security and the administration of enormous amounts of data. However, companies must stay educated and adapt as these technologies develop to utilize their capabilities fully.
About the Autor
Will Andrews leads Product & Marketing at Gigasheet, a free, no-code big data spreadsheet for analyzing massive data files in CSV, XLS, JSON, LOG, PCAP, and more. Connect with him on LinkedIn.