Gathering more data

It’s pretty easy to lose sight of the true extent of the internet of things (IoT). High-profile components like wearables and smart appliances often hog the spotlight, but there are many more innocuous sensors in the world around us tirelessly gathering key machine data – such as those in the lift you take to the office each day.

“Our customers don’t want us to say ‘We know it broke’; they want ‘We fixed it before it broke.'”

This information isn’t flashy, but it’s proving transformative at ThyssenKrupp.

“Our customers don’t want us to say ‘We know it broke’; they want ‘We fixed it before it broke’. All they care about is never hearing about their elevator,” Dr. Rory Smith, ThyssenKrupp director of strategic development Americas, told ZDNet.

Chances are, you’re not a lift company. Still, there may be similar sources of data around your organisation. The vending machines people use every day for a quick pick-me-up can continuously monitor consumption patterns so stock levels can be managed more efficiently. Smart thermostats and smart lights in the office can sense movement and respond to usage patterns to help reduce energy costs in the workplace.

Even outside of the office environment, companies can use the IoT and connected devices more and more to their advantage. For example, vehicle tracking allows manufacturers to assess diagnostic services, reducing the need for hours of manual labour. The safety ratings gathered from sensors in the vehicles can be calculated and used by insurance companies to set premiums based on driver behaviour.

Technology has allowed companies to capture their everyday data to support cost efficiencies and deliver exceptional experiences to customers. Are you getting the most out of your data?

Find your hidden data

Before you can make use of the vast amount of information at hand in your organisation, you need to know where it is. Many companies focus on the data they take in from social media, business applications and customer interactions. Though these are important, machine log and sensor data are far more useful.

The reason comes down to the Vs of big data:

  • Velocity – how rapidly information is generated.
  • Variety – how diverse the information is in terms of source and type.
  • Volume – how much data is delivered.

While those flashier sources of data might get high marks in one of the Vs, machine log and sensor data get top scores in all three.

So, where does this data come from? Most devices in an organisation generate and store it as a result of daily operations. When paired with a suitable platform for machine data analysis, such as Splunk, this information can be successfully leveraged for a number of purposes. With Intel predicting that we’ll see 200 billion devices connected to the internet of things (IoT) by 2020, the number of sources for this data is going to skyrocket.

How useful this information is depends on how sophisticated organisations are in applying it. The variety of these potential uses, however, is staggering. Here are some examples of how data collection is already paying dividends.

Improve efficiency

Remember those lifts we discussed earlier? Data gathered from sensors embedded in a lift system can streamline operations. This may seem like a trivial matter, but think about how much time employees spend waiting for the lift when they get into the office, go out for lunch and other breaks, and head home each day. Decreasing wait times by just half a minute can have a massive impact on the overall organisation.

Boost customer service

Having ready access to client data is essential for rapid and satisfactory resolution of any interaction with a customer. With a growing preference for digital communication methods, organisations must be able to pull up this information whether a customer reaches out via phone, email or even social media. By utilising as much data as possible about how customers are using a product or service, organisations will see a significant improvement in their ability to resolve issues and raise their standing with consumers.

Leveraging data can help organisations more effectively respond to customer needs.

Ensure supply levels

All organisations deal with supply levels of one form or another. IoT-connected sensors that can keep tabs on stock and inventory will help companies ensure they are never without crucial equipment or supplies.

This list is far from exhaustive, as the benefits of gathering and applying data are immeasurable. The trick to seeing these results is knowing what information you have available and what it can help you accomplish.

The team at Avocado Consulting can help you discover untapped streams of data and get the most value out of it. To learn more, contact us today.