Back in January, I made a few predictions on the top tech trends of 2018, and IoT was on the list. “So how’s that prediction going?” you might ask. Quite well, I’d answer.
As we continue to explore IoT with our customers, we’ve learned a few important lessons along the way. The first and foremost lesson is that implementing an IoT solution is an exercise in creativity. We have yet to see two that are alike. And the types of IoT projects our customers are building are a far cry from what we’ve heard from the technology trade pubs, particularly related to their scale and cost.
When I read posts like IBM’s, The top 5 industrial IoT use cases or CNET’s, AT&T’s smart city vision: More parking, fewer traffic jams, I can only imagine the scale of these projects and the budgets needed to implement them. Truth be told, we would all love to have an AT&T-sized budget to fund our IoT plans. But most of us don’t, so we make due with vision and creativity, and keep projects reasonably scoped, at least to start.
The second lesson involves what’s happening in the consumer markets with IoT. Everywhere I look I see companies implementing IoT into some of the most basic of consumer systems (which might be the best place for them), such as light bulbs, home heating systems, lawn sprinkler systems, security systems, doorbells, and garage doors just to name a few. Many of these systems aren’t complicated. For example, my garage door app is pretty basic — it allows me to open and close my garage door and will tell me when the door’s been left open for more than 30 min — which is an invaluable piece of information.
This brings me to my third, and perhaps most important lesson, on IoT.
The third lesson is this: IoT does a wonderful job providing data that gives visibility, which is a wonderful complement to what we do at TrackVia. Having simple devices report to a cloud based service that can analyze and act on data — that’s an incredible advantage for any company, and we’re just starting to realize this.
TrackVia’s journey into IoT has been as creative as it has been diverse. We have talked in the past about connecting vending machines with our mobile apps, about collecting data from farms, and about our partnership with GE. But recently one of our partners told us about a solution they had built using a fleet tracking system which would send status updates to TrackVia from the road. This solution served two purposes, one of compliance and the second giving much needed visibility and aggregated reporting for long-running workflows.
What we found interesting about this story wasn’t the fact that they are reporting statuses from the field — that’s nothing new. Rather, that our customers could not have built a solution like this even as recently as two years ago. Or if they did, they would have coded the solution for 10x the price and without the flexibility or benefit of easy, drag and drop tools like TrackVia.
We are at the beginning of a massive change in the way companies think about solving their problems by combining IoT and software for the enterprise. TrackVia is enabling companies of all sizes to put together systems to serve their unique flavor of business, to give structure and security around critical workflows that in the past leaned heavily on plain trust and training. Lots and lots of training.
In today’s “think it and you can do it” mentality, TrackVia enables you to not just “do it,” but to do it strategically as we give you the support needed to make the next steps in your business — such as incorporating IoT.
So, back to the original question, “how is it going?” It’s going in a bunch of different directions at once, and we’re loving it! IoT is just one of the ways we’re helping companies take advantage of tomorrow’s technology today. In an upcoming blog post I’ll tell you what we’re up to with another of 2018’s top trends, Machine Learning. That will really blow your mind.
We’d like to hear from you. How are you thinking about applying IoT in your business?