The Internet of Things (IoT) stands at the forefront of our ability to bring together the digital and physical worlds in a manner that could have profound implications for both society and the economy. Potential benefits of the IoT include everything from streamlined operations and management of physical assets to improvements in human health and well-being. Against that backdrop, the IoT (see sidebar “Defining and assessing the Internet of Things”) can be the beating heart of digital transformations, which have accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health and wellness is one of the most promising application areas of IoT technology. Remote health management, managing lifestyle-related diseases and conditions, fitness programs, care at home, chronic diseases and care for the elderly are some of the important use cases. Other use cases include improving a patient’s compliance to treatment and medication in hospitals, clinics and other care facilities. Medical devices such as personal home-use diagnostic devices or low-end diagnostic and imaging devices that are used by mobile health workers are one of the key technology components.
Backend systems exist for data aggregation, storage, analytics, visualization and host user-centric services. In the IoT, physical objects monitor their surroundings and participate in daily activities, helping create new products, services and business models, to improve efficiency and optimize business operations.
Additionally, mobile phones can be used for many physiological monitoring and examination tasks. The potential economic impact of IoT in healthcare alone could run into trillions of dollars of annual savings.
The Internet of Things (IoT), once merely a concept debated and discussed only in laboratories, think tanks, and technology companies, is now mainstream. Companies and consumers are seeking to employ IoT solutions to improve operations, manage physical assets, and improve health and well-being, to offer three examples. Technological advances, including 5G mobile networks, edge computing, and advanced analytics, could increase the impact of the IoT. In an era of rapid-fire change and drastic disruption, the need for flexibility, agility, and efficiency has never been so acute.
It’s why today’s industrial businesses are investing heavily in the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as a core aspect of digital transformation strategies. And successful adoption is proving its value. IIoT provides the ability to digitally connect people, processes, and products to securely collect, monitor, and analyze data and enable faster, better decision-making across the entire enterprise. With a vast range of applications and capabilities, IIoT solutions meet different needs for every business. But success is dependent on a consistent factor: a focus on the high-impact use cases that align with and enable strategic business objectives.