Harnessing real benefit from IoT
IoT isn’t a new thing really, but it would appear it is still largely misunderstood. I still find a lot of our customers kind of ‘get it’, but don’t really know if it’s relevant to them, or whether it can really bring any benefit to their business. Their scepticism can be well-justified in many cases. However, we have seen that IoT CAN bring some real benefit and efficiencies to businesses, especially in the Facilities Management sector.
We’ve already talked about how IoT data without action dies, in a recent blog by Toby Hawkins. To recap, Toby talks about just how much IoT data is going to waste. As a result, firms have become quite unconvinced and view IoT as the latest fad in tech history. There is however, a counter-argument and Toby touches briefly on how we can harness the IoT data. That is, creating a remedial action of some sort, or indeed using IoT data to change our behaviours. We call this, ‘doing something with the data’.
Creating an Action
So, the first thing is to actually use the data and the subsequent alerts on a live, here-and-now basis. For example, retailers can alter work patterns of cleaners or security guards in their stores, based on footfall and occupancy. Moreover, understanding how many people have used the washrooms, paper towels and soap can ensure that cleaners maintain washrooms based on demand and not a rota. Couple this with the ability to know when a bin needs changing (or is on fire!) allows the retailer to maintain optimal site image, having a direct impact on revenue and footfall.
Have a think about it; If your local store was a bit of a mess, would you continue to shop there? Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between the conditions of the retail environment and whether they will return to a particular store or chain of stores. A store’s physical appearance matters — and it does so significantly, according to several recent consumer surveys. The data shows that consumers form an opinion of a business based on physical presence. This heavily influences their decision whether or not to shop at a location.
Using the data to learn and alter our behaviours
Utilising IoT to the full is not just about being able to react to issues arising. Retailers are using the data to learn more about what’s happening in their stores. They can understand the trends and consequently change their behaviours to suit and become more efficient. The ability to ensure you have the right resource in the right place at the right time, delivers not just financial benefits, but also cleaner, safer stores.