Internet of Things (IoT) can be qualified as the “internet of usage”. It comes as the 5th wave of the internet. Starting with an internet of protocol, the first wave was made to connect PC to PC. Then came the internet of content and the emergence of search engines like AltaVista, Google and Exalead. Next was the introduction of e-commerce with eBay and Amazon.

Almost simultaneously the social dimension of the Internet increased the commerce and transformed brand visibility. And today, the capacity to generate massive data from any device opens a new paradigm of a connected world. Studies are showing that more than 20 billion objects will be connected by 2020! And those connected objects are constantly recording the object usage. This is the reason for calling IoT the internet of usage.

People are generating data all the time

The development of IoT came with connected devices. The innovation is supported by a growth capacity of communication networks and the low cost of sensors. The fastest emergence of connected solutions is made by healthcare, mobility and security. Most of the generated business and innovation serve a Business to Consumer approach. As a matter of fact, people accept to share data for getting a better or healthier life. Uber, Airbnb, Runkeeper, Fitbit, Yelp, Netflix… just to mention a few. Everyone is becoming a producer of data. It increases the risk of misuse of personal data, but with the right regulations and fair protection, the data could instead create value and add great possibilities.

The need for product innovation

The industry is at the origin of the development of product sensors. Competition pushes companies to innovate and to deliver more intelligent products. It is a natural evolution of product complexity from mechanic to mechatronic, now connected. By having introduced automation into the product, now industries have access to a high volume of data, raising a new question: what can we do with that data?

The collected data are representing the real life of the product, its use and its behavior. Every industrial product evolves into a global environment, either with other similar machines (fleet) or within a line or a plant. This is the shift from single product analysis to global system analysis, taking into account each component, interactions between components that form a system and exogenous information to contextualize the system.

Add value to a product

Data have to be considered as a new asset. The one who masters the data value chain can develop high value and propose disruptive services. Look at Uber and the disruption it created for the entire taxi business, intermediating simply a driver with a customer. If the business model for IoT in B2C is not yet stabilized (today the device makes the business), this is not the case for the industry.

Data is the enabler for new value-added services and even global digital business transformation. While margin on product sales is dramatically decreasing, a new business model of leasing a product with its production performance opens up for new ways to earn money. Industrial companies must master the value and cost of their product in use.

How to use IoT

IoT is one of the transformation enablers. But it cannot be managed alone.

Firstly, the scalability of the infrastructure must be taken into account. On one end the multiplication of sensors and “things” increases exponentially every year. On the other end, the solicitation on the data significantly loads an infrastructure. These are the new constraints of Big Data.

Secondly, the interpretation of the data is generating the value. Data Science algorithms are necessary to reveal the unknown value. It is not only used to predict failure before it happens but also to suggest action to maintain high production performance.

How to get started with using IoT

InUse (formerly OptimData) is a new type of R&D lab focusing on designing and building innovative industrial applications based on Internet of Things (IoT). These applications will enable companies to leverage a data-driven and agile approach for creating new business values.

You can find out more about InUse and the products focusing on turning data into business possibilities at www.inuse.eu.