The Internet of Things (IoT) is at the hub of a convergence of interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary collaboration fueled by the growth of the globally connected digital organizations. Whether in business, education, or government, forward-thinking organizations, teams, and alliances are leading the charge by demanding relevant, real time data and implementing new technologies to automate strategic actions based on predictive analytics.
IoT refers to an environment where devices that can send and receive data over the Internet, store their information in “the cloud” and connect users anywhere in a “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) world, wired or wirelessly, providing real-time access, control, and information with intelligence drawn from multiple resources, with results implemented via APIs and algorithms.
In 2002, Jakob Nielsen, principal with Nielson Norman Group ― a guru of web page usability and user experience design-thinking―suggested that soon you would have a range of new devices to interconnect your business or institution with your clients, based on some implementation of wireless, high-bandwidth connection to the Internet that is always real-time and enables multimedia and other benefits. His prediction predates the now ubiquitous smart phones, social media, cloud services, gigabit Wi-Fi, and the growing field of predictive analytics.
Today, his prescience has been validated, as we are clearly on the cusp of an E-everything, IP-everything else, AI-enabled, Internet of Things. The potential impact of this rapidly maturing convergence between multi-site collaboration systems, smart connected audiovisual systems, wired and wireless information technology data systems, and intelligent building management systems is immense. In the very near future, we will interact through a smart device, sensor, beacon, and actuator world, enabled by a high-speed GPON optical fiber/Wi-Fi information technology environment, and cloud-based big data/predictive analytics. This future is one of autonomous interactions that simplify processes and proactively initiate actions to improve the user experience and the campus efficiencies.
We have entered an era of machine-to-machine (M2M) interactions where autonomous assistants provide solutions to problems, facilitate decision-making, measure performance, and take care of routine tasks. The continuing reduction in the cost and size of processors, the massive expansion of IP address space, and the growing coverage of broadband networks has enabled IoT sensors to collect and transfer data without any human involvement.
It has been suggested that by 2020, there will be somewhere between 20 to 40 billion connected devices. The Gartner Group predicts that the aggregated value and economic benefit of the IoT will exceed $1.9 trillion at that point. The advent of IoT will continue to provide organizations with myriad opportunities to optimize current operations as well as create new opportunities. It should be noted that Gartner also puts IoT today at the “plateau of inflated expectations” on their annual Tech Hype Curve. That said, the relevance, importance, and potential for IoT is highly likely to become one of those ubiquitous technologies we didn’t have 5 years ago, but we take for granted now ― like Gigabit Wi-Fi ― within the next 5-10 years.
This intersection of connection, context and collaboration between devices, data and people across the organization, allows for business and institutional interactions to move decision-making from reactive to proactive to predictive as a result of automating processes.
The forward thinking organization will utilize interconnected, inter-dependent devices, and real-time data to strengthen and improve the user experience, increase building systems efficiency, and support cross-enterprise relationships. Corporate and institutional campus facilities furnished with embedded sensors, low-powered Bluetooth beacons, and internet-protocol (IP) control-enabled IT/AV devices, and other building and energy management systems will create high performance organizations.
This rich resource of rapidly accumulating information is creating applications in the building industry to finally realize truly intelligent building systems that enhance energy management and sustainability goals, improve workplace productivity through advanced user experience (UX), simplified and intuitive collaboration tools, and engage clients and communities.
This benefit is being seen across all business sectors including financial services, manufacturing and warehousing, materials processing, energy, and transportation. Applications in education can be found in intelligent informatics initiatives that span research and development, identifying and supporting student success factors, and increasing building efficiency management.
CRAIG PARK, FSMPS, ASSOC. AIA, is a principal consultant with independent technology consultants, The Sextant Group. Park holds a B.S. Architecture from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, and has been active in the building industry for over 35 years. He is a SMPS Fellow and past national president, former member of the InfoComm International Board of Governors. Park currently serves as an Associate Director on the Board of the AIA Omaha Chapter and as North Central Region Professional Development Vice Chair for the Society of College and University Planners (SCUP). Craig is based in Omaha, NE, and can be reached at [email protected] or 402.609.6131.
Dr. Mark Milliron, Chief Learning Officer and Co-Founder of Civitas Learning, says, “More institutions are developing infrastructure and teams to drive educational analytics strategy, and it’s moving beyond just reporting, accreditation, and planning. As the shift happens, we need to be intentional about how we leverage this mission-critical function and infrastructure across the institution.”
The highest value of IoT analytics comes when incoming data is translated into action without human intervention. This data can be used to create forecasts and predict future outcomes presents the next step in extending the benefit of analytics efforts. With network-based remote sensors and actuators, data collected, processed, and stored in the cloud using machine-learning algorithms, allows for more personalized and enhanced experiences.
IoT is being used for a wide range of activities from human resource issue of tracking attendance, student learning patterns, and employee productivity, to facilities issues of airflow, air quality, temperature, humidity, lighting, connectivity to flexible displays or personal devices, modular dashboards, and simplified device controls.
Although less direct, the effect of IoT analytic initiatives can have on customer experience should not be overlooked. Enhanced customer satisfaction and higher value ownership experience are found in higher productivity, better customer retention rates, increased lifetime value, and revenue growth.
IoT represents an opportunity to collect real-time information about every physical operation of an organization. IoT sensors can deliver information real-time and convert raw IoT data into business and operational insights using effective data analytics.
The persistent streaming of IoT data feeds is a fundamental difference between IoT analytics and more general data analytics, as far more economical focus is put on identifying deviations in data points, and setting change into action in response to APIs using simple ‘If This Then That’ (IFTTT) logic. Operational data is used iteratively to create feedback loops where errors and faults are reduced and the organization finds more predictive and prescriptive and actionable indicators.
Organizations with extensive AV/IT technologies will benefit from the Internet of Things through the automation and simplification of complex setup, operations, maintenance, and support of presentation and collaboration systems that interconnect teams throughout the building, across the campus, and around the globe.