Over the last ten-or-so years, we’ve seen a surge in popularity of consumer-focused smart meters to allow homeowners to track their electricity, gas and heating usage. These have been successful as they give customers the information and control over their services that enables them to make informed decisions in order to save money and be more efficient.
Businesses may not have realised, but these cost-saving features are even more applicable to industry. Utility cost savings are an easy way to make a case for using IoT connected devices. Thermostats, boilers, radiators, air conditioning, lighting and many others can be connected through an app, that allows the user to alter settings or turn off products that aren’t required in order to save money. As businesses explore more hands-off options, machine learning and artificial intelligence can provide alterations on a timescale of milliseconds to ensure that every Watt of power your business is using is being maximised.
This will also cause reductions in hardware costs as these connected devices may send out alerts to a central hub when they develop a fault and can prompt maintenance staff to fix the issues before they had even noticed there was a problem. This will lead to an increase in product lifespan as well as a reduction in labour, as infrastructure will need to be checked less by paid staff.
Doors especially are going to go through a digital revolution as internet connected locks are proving popular in the hospitality sector, where hotels and Air BnB partners can open or lock doors from thousands of miles away as long as they have an internet connection. This trend may spell the end for traditional keys too as NFC capabilities on phones and the rise of digital wallets have proven that end-users would rather have all of their key cards, loyalty cards and train tickets stored digitally rather than taking up physical space in wallets and handbags.
Some of these next-generation of locks even have cameras built in, so that businesses have a record of who entered the building, and it seems to be the next iteration of the fish-eye lens that has proven itself over the last century or two for spying on door knockers.
These interconnected utility systems will provide metadata that is collated into periodic reports that managers can assess to ensure that assets are being maximised, and provide a qualitative metric that be used to track efficiency progress. As the market grows, we are sure to see new utilisation, but the question remains; if you haven’t explored using the IoT as a cost saving tool, what’s stopping you?