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Heading into 2017, there doesn’t seem to be many segments of business or leisure left untouched by the spread of IoT (internet of things). If you’re unfamiliar, IoT concerns the internetworking of physical devices vehicles, buildings, and other items. You may also be familiar with the recent trend of connected objects, which is the same concept. 

IoT depends on embedding these objects, or what have you, with electronics, software, sensors, etc. to enable them to collect, measure, and export data, which can then be manually or automatically analyzed. 

Thanks to this practice, objects are able to “communicate” with manufacturers, consumers, or even other objects. 

We’ve seen IoT revolutionize fitness activities, sports, agriculture, our homes, our gardens, and pretty much everything else where data has some value in improving the way things are normally done. 

So what about asset management?.

A Natural Fit

Frankly, putting one and one together—in this case IoT and asset management—was no great leap or stretch of the imagination. Given the nature of asset tracking, there has always been a real need to use technology to optimize processes. IoT is simply the next technology up.

Implementing IoT solutions in asset management is an exciting premise, though not an easy one. Last year, Forrester and SAP concluded via a study that 66% of manufacturer respondents had already implemented or planned to implement IoT technology for asset management purposes. It would be interesting to check up on those respondents today to see how many of them would consider their deployment a success, and how many of the ones who were planning to deploy actually went through with the implementation.

A Large Undertaking

Becoming an IoT-powered business is not as simple as hooking up a bunch of sensors and downloading a smartphone app. It may work like that in the consumer world, with products that help us to stay healthy or reduce energy consumption in our homes, but to truly transform an asset management process comprises a massive effort as well as financial investment. There’s no such thing as an easy upgrade when dealing with a process so complex, even if the solution is seemingly simple.

So what would manufacturer’s hope to get out of an IoT solution for their asset management? Pretty much the same thing they try to get out of any effort to improve their practices: better efficiency, cost savings, higher safety, etc.


Worth the Challenge

Despite the massive challenges of shifting to an IoT-powered system, the potential business benefits can’t be ignored. IoT has shown in other solutions across many industries, how valuable the mass collection of data can be, not to mention smart monitoring. 

Imagine a system in which one tiny aspect falls out of place or loses efficiency. Employed correctly, an IoT solution could potentially communicate this issue to a human in charge, not only alerting them to the problem but also telling them what actions they need to take. Even better, imagine a system in which issues like these were communicated even before occurring.

The potential value coming from predictive maintenance alone may justify the investment, though it’s only one benefit of many.

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Other benefits

IoT can also benefit asset management in that it reduces the need for human intervention; quantifies decisions, setbacks, or improvements in real-time; and enhances the bird’s eye perspective of the end to end chain. 

In a smarter world, with smarter objects, we are able to equip smarter people and manage smarter systems. That’s the whole idea behind IoT, and asset management only stands to benefit from this trend—that is, if the initial hurdles of implementation can be overcome.