What’s the connection between the Internet of Things and Lord Kelvin, the 19th-Century physicist best known for creating the absolute temperature scale? It’s the idea that if you can measure something, you can improve it.
Lord Kelvin spent his illustrious career creating instruments to measure everything from electrical currents to oceanic depths and tides. He would surely have appreciated the potential for IoT measurement and analysis. IoT data analytics means using the data generated by connected products to take some action based on that data. Currently, data analytics is primarily of use to manufacturers, providing actionable business intelligence that they can use to iterate and enhance their products and services, as well as to forge closer ties with their customers. The use of data analytics can also be extended to manufacturers’ dealers and service representatives, or others in charge of maintaining or repairing consumer devices.
In the future, data analytics will likely also be useful for consumers, providing feedback to help them increase the energy efficiency or lifetime of their connected products, or to simplify their use. It will also be used increasingly by the connected products themselves—such as a sprinkler or HVAC system using real-time weather data to adjust its operation, or various smart devices turning on automatically in response to data from another connected device.
Data generated by smart home devices, for example, allows manufacturers to tap into real-world end-user needs and wants, as demonstrated through their actual usage of connected smart home products. By acting on this data, manufacturers are better able to provide the features and add-on services that customers really want—and that they are willing to pay for. Of course, data analytics of connected IoT products can also help manufacturers anticipate evolving end-user desires, which can make it look like they’re staying one step ahead of their customers.
As the market grows in size and sophistication, the advantages of IoT data analytics will become clearer as we, like Lord Kelvin, continue to measure and improve.
Dave Friedman, CEO of IoT platform company Ayla Networks, applies his Colgate University history degree to business problems every day.