While the Internet of Things (IoT) is a powerful and versatile technology, it doesn’t solve problems all by itself. IoT technology just gives you more ways to feed data to computers, which enables you to use computing power to solve more problems. And to solve problems with IoT, you need IoT solutions.
What is an IoT solution?
IoT stands for Internet of Things. Since the internet is commonly defined as a global system of interconnected computer networks, the answer to the question, "What is IoT?" is a simple, logical step. IoT can be thought of as a global system of interconnected physical objects, not just other networks or computers. IoT includes sensors, devices, applications or anything that can be made more functional or useful by connecting it to the wider internet.
There are currently over 13 billion connected IoT devices in the world today—that’s nearly twice the number of people worldwide—and the number of devices is projected to exceed 15 billion by the end of 2023.
To dive more deeply into the subject of IoT, read our 2023 guide to IoT.
An IoT solution is a very specific way of using these internet-connected devices to solve problems and achieve outcomes. Most IoT solutions are tailored to meet the demands of a certain industry or type of consumer. Below, you’ll learn how specific industries leverage IoT in their operations.
IoT solutions by top industries
In some contexts, IoT solutions can help maximize efficiency or remove inconveniences. However, IoT solutions can completely transform certain industries by solving problems and removing bottlenecks that have hampered those industries for decades.
Industries have largely leveraged IoT in areas where it’s helpful to have devices monitor and control mechanical or electrical systems (industrial machinery, home lighting and heating, traffic management and more), based on real-world data. IoT data collection and device control are major cornerstones in most automation.
While it’s true that IoT solutions can be developed to fit nearly any purpose, there are sectors where IoT is particularly well suited to solving problems. IoT solutions are often used in these sectors:
IoT manufacturing and industrial solutions
Industrial production was one of the first sectors to embrace IoT solutions. The most common IoT industrial solutions are deployed in manufacturing and production.
Industrial IoT solutions enable production machinery to operate more autonomously by detecting information that once had to be manually fed to the machine by a human operator. IoT industrial solutions also enable machines to perform tasks that once required more intensive human attention, like quality control and maintenance scheduling. Industrial IoT devices also enable humans to interact more safely with machinery. For example, adding mechanical pressure sensors can stop machines from causing injuries.
IoT industrial solutions can also improve efficiency and safety in other production facilities like power plants. For example, they can detect changes in operating parameters like temperature, turbine speed and output, then make automatic adjustments. The ability to detect these changes via an IoT sensor maximizes efficiency and reduces manual labor costs since they enable technicians to monitor equipment remotely.
Of course, IoT industrial solutions can be deployed in other industrial environments to solve even more problems. But the bottom line is that they enable businesses to produce more at a lower cost, with less risk to employees.
IoT business solutions
Broadly, IoT business solutions fall into one of two categories: physical object tracking and administration.
On the physical side, businesses use IoT business solutions to manage logistics and inventory. RFID tags track exactly how much of an item is in each warehouse. Logistics software can then automatically pull inventory from the nearest warehouse when orders are placed. Those items can be automatically assigned to invoices and tracked as they ship. Each stage of the process can be communicated to the relevant stakeholders. IoT business solutions can also be used to track key events for contract fulfillment.
On the administrative side, IoT business solutions can be used to automatically track employee hours with RFID keycards or keyfobs. Businesses can also use smart wearables to incentivize their workforce to be active and healthy or customize employee health plans. IoT business solutions are also used to automate and streamline data collection and entry. These devices help eliminate data entry errors and give businesses a more complete view of their operations since easier data collection means more data gets collected.
IoT automation solutions
IoT automation solutions help businesses (and individuals) automate common tasks and resource management. The most well-known IoT automation solutions handle things like temperature and lighting control, security systems and other facility functions in both businesses and homes. IoT solutions can also be used to automate less technical tasks like reordering printer ink and paper.
IoT automation solutions can be deployed to improve compliance practices. IoT sensors detect refrigeration temperatures for FDA food storage compliance, alert maintenance teams when parts have worn beyond required operating specifications and manage HVAC systems to keep carcinogen levels within regulatory limits.
IoT automation solutions can even improve customer-facing systems. IoT systems enable automated product delivery and service fulfillment. Certain customer service activities can be automated with the help of IoT systems. This automation reduces the workload on customer service teams and makes 24-hour operation possible.
Ultimately, IoT automation solutions do more than just use machines to produce things. IoT automation also enables businesses to streamline mundane tasks that cause invisible inefficiencies. With the right IoT solutions, businesses can apply computing power to improve almost every aspect of running a business in any industry.
IoT healthcare solutions
IoT healthcare solutions enable medical professionals to provide better care for their patients and create more efficient workflows for themselves. From remote patient monitoring to automated medication management, there are many possibilities for IoT in healthcare.
With the help of IoT-enabled devices, medical professionals can monitor vital signs and track patient data in real time, providing more accurate diagnoses and treatment plans. Furthermore, these devices can also be used to automate tasks like administering medication or scheduling appointments. Remote monitoring and automation allow medical professionals to focus on what really matters—providing quality care for their patients.
The use of IoT healthcare solutions is rapidly increasing due to its numerous benefits such as improved accuracy of diagnoses, increased efficiency in workflow processes and enhanced patient safety and satisfaction. As technology continues to evolve, we expect to see more innovative applications of IoT in healthcare that will further revolutionize this industry.
IoT public utilities management solutions
With IoT, public utilities can be monitored in real time and managed more efficiently. This monitoring allows for improved customer service, better resource management and cost savings.
IoT-enabled public utility management systems can collect data from sensors installed on assets such as water pipes, power lines and other infrastructure. By connecting different devices together, it’s possible to automate tasks such as meter reading or maintenance scheduling. This automation can help reduce operational costs while improving customer service levels.
By providing access to real-time data, utility companies can better monitor usage patterns and respond quickly to any changes or disruptions that may occur. This data can then be used to detect problems before they become major issues, which allows for faster response times and better decision-making. In addition, with the help of predictive analytics, they can anticipate future needs and plan accordingly.
Finally, IoT technology can also be used to automate processes like billing or energy usage tracking.
IoT transportation and traffic control solutions
IoT networks can create broader, more coordinated traffic management systems and optimize safety equipment such as street lights. Traffic- and vehicle-related IoT applications are currently the fastest-growing sector of IoT.
IoT-enabled devices can monitor traffic, detect accidents and provide real-time information about road conditions. IoT solutions can also be used to collect data on road conditions which can then be used to plan better infrastructure investments or even predict future traffic patterns. These devices can help reduce congestion, improve safety and optimize routes for travelers.
From smart traffic lights to autonomous vehicles and connected logistics systems, IoT technology can be used to optimize every aspect of transportation. By leveraging data collected from sensors and other sources, companies can gain insights into traffic patterns and driver behavior that can be used to make informed decisions about how best to manage their fleet. Additionally, with better tracking capabilities comes improved safety for drivers as well as passengers.
Moreover, IoT technology can also be used to automate the process of managing traffic signals. This allows for more efficient use of resources such as fuel, time and money by ensuring vehicles are routed in the most efficient manner possible.
Most recently, IoT has begun powering personal transportation devices like bike-share bicycles and electric scooters. SIM cards track the device’s location, so the rider is accurately charged for how long they’ve ridden or how far they’ve gone. Then, when they’re done with the trip, they can leave the device for another person to use. Within a few years, you may even see self-driving cars added to this list.
Security of IoT solutions
IoT devices can be very secure. However, the most prevalent IoT security issue is that IoT device security isn’t configured and updated properly. This issue is less pervasive in enterprise use cases, where IT departments ensure IoT devices are properly set up and updated. In contrast, consumer IoT devices are often left unsecured because consumers don’t realize that their connected devices need to be secured.
The IoT devices themselves are the core of almost all IoT security issues. IoT devices create an incredibly broad attack surface, with a wide array of potential attack vectors. However, IoT devices can be secured with good IoT device management, network administration and the help of IoT security solutions.
The most common source of IoT device breaches is unsecured devices themselves. So the best way to secure an IoT device is to develop thorough, automated IoT management procedures.
It’s important to work with an IoT connectivity provider that has a secure network to protect your IoT devices from cyberattacks from the open internet. Telnyx provides IoT connectivity through a private IP network that keeps your IoT data off the public internet and encrypts all data from end to end. The Telnyx network ensures that your IoT security plan isn’t compromised by factors beyond your control.
To learn more about IoT device security, including how to secure your devices, read our guide.
Building (and selling) IoT solutions with Telnyx
Building IoT applications can be complex, but it doesn't have to be. The easiest way to start building IoT experiences is to work with a trusted IoT connectivity platform and IoT solution provider—a partner that knows what's important and can help you deploy your IoT applications the right way.
At Telnyx, we've been helping customers like Clair Global, Valor Paytech and Sitemetric build innovative IoT experiences and solutions for years. Our experts can help you find the right approach to deploy IoT for the first time, or help you iterate on existing IoT deployments with better cost efficiency on a global scale.
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