As IoT technology’s adoption grows rapidly across the globe and a wide range of industries, organizations strive to capture IoT’s full potential—more insights, efficiency, and productivity.
Emerging technologies that bring digital and physical worlds closer together are becoming more important as IoT solutions expand into new applications and environments. Using these emerging technologies to improve the capabilities of IoT solutions is more than just a new trend. It also produces real-world results. Those who incorporate such technologies report more overall benefits from IoT deployment, which leads to more investment in IoT solutions in their organizations.
That’s according to the newest Microsoft IoT Signals report, which additionally found that IoT adoption continued to grow from 2019 into 2020, surging from 85 percent of companies using the technology to 91 percent. On top of that, 95 percent of organizations surveyed anticipate using IoT solutions just as much or more two years from now than they do today.
Growing Capabilities from Emerging Technologies
The majority of organizations already see emerging technologies—artificial intelligence (AI), edge computing, and digital twins—as integral parts of their IoT solutions, as they allow solutions to work both online and offline, add more analytic and predictive power, and create benefits by linking digital and physical realms together.
Digital twins technology, for example, allows users to test the effects of changes to a system, process, or physical structure before implementing them on the real-world system or structure. The technology also allows users to control the systems of a structure or equipment remotely by using a 3D digital model, whether you’re overseeing a single building or energy-producing wind farms.
Edge computing offers less latency time, real-time processing, and analysis of massive data workloads, as well as the security, convenience, and lower storage costs of IoT data. By moving cloud databases, analytics, and custom business logic to edge devices, organizations can focus more on business insights instead of data management and security in the cloud.
Meanwhile, AI adds advanced abilities—analyzing large amounts of information and images, comprehending speech, machine learning, and making predictions and automated decisions—that optimize the productivity of IoT solutions. Intelligent edge modules and the intelligent cloud creates systems that can understand their environment, learn, and adjust to maximize operations.
Though these are cutting-edge, innovative technologies, IoT adopters no longer consider them to be exotic or, increasingly, optional.
Powering Existing Solutions
Emerging technologies can accelerate their return on investment while automating or providing remote control and monitoring of assets. The adoption of IoT technology for remote monitoring and related tasks has grown even faster during the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic has limited on-site work and staffing at offices, production plants, and other facilities.
RXR Realty, which owns and manages New York City properties, uses advanced IoT solutions to do that and improve the health and safety of its tenants. The company needed to quickly integrate new safety measures for tenants when its buildings reopened for business during the COVID-19 pandemic. RXR created and deployed an intelligent, secure, scalable remote monitoring solution. The resulting solution, RxWell, uses physical and digital assets, including Azure Digital Twins, to help keep tenants safe and informed through apps, the cloud, and on-site devices such as no-touch thermal sensors to detect fevers and social distancing detectors.
Similar advanced IoT technology allows C.H. Robinson, the world’s largest third-party logistics provider, to give its customers visibility on their freight at any moment around the world. The company has combined Intel-developed sensors, and Intel Connected Logistics Platform technology with Azure IoT Central to run a system that gives employees and customers real-time shipment insights to verify their products reach customers on time in good condition. The information available includes the location and other vital aspects such as temperature, humidity, and shock during transit while also prioritizing security.
Creating Successful Deployments
Success in adopting IoT tends to be measured in terms of cost and production efficiency and improved quality, reliability, and security. Incorporating emerging technologies into IoT solutions can boost those metrics and offer deeper insights online in tandem with the intelligent cloud or offline with intelligent edge computing.
In addition to those technologies, innovations in hardware such as a growing selection of plug-and-play IoT devices, lightning-fast processors, field-programmable gate arrays, and video processing units can handle evermore specialized workloads in new or retrofitted IoT solutions.
For an even more detailed and comprehensive look at leveraging emerging technology for IoT success, check out this whitepaper from Microsoft.