Top tips: Making connections – gaining value from the Internet of Things

When faced with such potentially unnecessary expenses, it’s perhaps worth considering what can be done to help locate these passengers. If and when they can be found, further consideration should be given to what additional services they could be presented with to help them make more of what the airport offers while ensuring they get to their flight in good time. While proposing location-based services is nothing new, the recent proliferation of sensors and smart devices offers huge potential for supporting new and innovative customer services. What’s required is a means of connecting the information from these, and other data-producing hardware, to location and customer information.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is, as we know it, made up of physical and connected objects, all of which generate data. And with analysts predicting more than 21 billion of these objects by 2020, there will soon be a lot more data being produced. By illustrating its importance, the growth rates for software, services, and infrastructure designed for the IoT are predicted to exceed a CAGR of 25 percent, and some companies have already begun to set up their organizational divisions solely dedicated to the IoT.

However, it’s worth noting that those who most influence an organization’s IoT strategy are more likely to be from an operational background than the usual IT decision-makers. Many businesses will need to develop a plan to enable them to collect and manage the data generated by the IoT and consider that data’s benefit to the company itself. Use cases include predictive maintenance to save money and avoid unnecessary equipment failures, using smart meters to offer new services to homeowners, and delivering features to improve the safety and comfort of drivers of connected cars. Collecting and joining together data from various devices, including GPS, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), CCTV, Wi-Fi, and fire sensors, can improve passenger communication and safety on public transport systems.

Internet of Things


Elsewhere, IoT-enabled, non-invasive observation of patients is revolutionizing clinical trials and remote health monitoring. Some forward-thinking companies, such as Apple, have already spotted the opportunity by collecting such information and created a “research kit” providing the features necessary to detect and report medical conditions to researchers. And it’s been suggested that, by 2020, one in every 100 livestock animals could be connected to the IoT to monitor the number of cows being vaccinated, for example, or being called to milking. By the same year, it’s also been predicted that the number of sensors needed to support the oil and gas industry will have tripled.

While the opportunity to support customer services and generate revenue from the IoT is undeniably huge, it is still in the research phase for several companies. Many banks, for example, may be considering how this technology can be used to develop new relationships with their customers, while telecom network operators are looking for the best way to create new services that support these initiatives and revenue streams.

The IoT is already a reality for many companies; it is just called something else. Until now, it may have been a network of objects such as a smartphone, a pump sensor, or railway signal panel number 34. Before addressing the challenge of knowing how to connect these objects to derive value comes the more fundamental challenge of identifying them and where they’re located. Like an organization’s customers, the things that make up the IoT have their own unique identity and set of characteristics that help the organization to describe, organize and understand them.

Multi-domain Master Data Management (MDM) technology is an ideal means of referencing these objects and linking them to other types – of domains – of data, such as that on an organization’s customers, locations, assets, products, and employees. MDM is based on making an organization’s master data – in this case, the data generated by the various connected objects – available and accessible to all the systems and people that need it within and beyond.