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The Data Gold Mine in Enterprise IoT By @MMoscovici | @ThingsExpo #IoT

IoT offers a revolution in smart data

When most people think of the Internet of Things, they probably imagine the home of the future: the fridge knows when the milk is low, and the heat flips on during a homeowner's winter commute.

But that vision - while exciting - taps into only a fraction of the IoT's potential.

For enterprise, the IoT offers a revolution in smart data. From oil rigs to office cubicles, the business intelligence gleaned from the IoT can help cut costs, avoid disasters, and create a happier, more productive workplace. It's just a matter of knowing where to start.

Where The IoT Fits Into The Enterprise World
In its most basic form, the IoT is a collection of sensors put out into the field. In other words, IoT is anything attached to a machine or person that collects data that can be added to a larger data pool.

Everything that moves can, in essence, report back geolocation data, performance data, photographs, video, or any other type of data one might wish to collect. Sensors can be placed on oil derricks, tractors, assembly lines, connected cars, and even people's wrists as smartwatches or fitness monitors.

Features like location tracking could allow companies to monitor a product's entire journey, help locate its flaws, and determine needed improvements. Sensors inside the office could improve security and alert employees when various supplies are running low. Smart thermostats and lighting could save a bundle on energy costs.

This expanded data is a major boon for BI. With an increased data pool, corporations can make better decisions and display more relevant results to employees in real time. The best part is that the IoT isn't the future of BI; it's already here.

The Data Gold Mine Is Only Growing
Currently, more than a billion enterprise devices are connected to the Internet; that number is growing rapidly. In four years, connected devices in the enterprise sector will reach more than 9 billion.

Major corporations are already harnessing the power of the IoT in various ways. Bosch has created its own software platform to connect factory-floor machinery to the cloud and analyze data gleaned from day-to-day operations. Its work is being heralded as a major player in Berlin's so-called "fourth industrial revolution" - an effort to harness the power of the IoT to bring about the next wave in industrial manufacturing.

Meanwhile, General Electric is implementing the IoT in a variety of its branches. The company is investing in smart pipelines and smart grids; its aviation wing is using sensors to gather data from plane engines. Further, the company's SeaLytics BOP Advisor is helping offshore drilling become safer and more efficient.

Most importantly, GE is creating a way for other companies to harness the power of its big data platform - known as Predix - and deploy their own solutions, which could help smaller companies cut costs and scale with ease. Major players like Cisco and Intel have already agreed to integrate their own technologies with GE, amplifying Predix's potential for data collection.

Embrace the IoT Life
The unintended creation of silos is arguably one of the biggest risks in embracing the IoT if a business doesn't have the right systems to capture, correlate, and analyze every input from the same interface. But most BI tools won't be able to handle this because the old data delivery paradigm is done through reports - there's too much information to report on any longer, so we have to shift the paradigm. The answer is not to create more reports; it's to handle the consumption of information in a meaningful way, and that means putting data in the hands of regular business users.

With all it has to offer, the time to embrace the IoT isn't some distant point in the future - it's now. The question is no longer "Should I adopt the IoT?" Rather, it's "How can I make sure my data systems are ready to handle it?"

More Stories By Marius Moscovici

Marius Moscovici is the founder and CEO of Metric Insights (http://www.metricinsights.com/). He founded the company in 2010 with the goal of transforming the way business intelligence is performed so that organizations of any size can quickly and easily deploy powerful analytics. Marius has over 20 years of experience in analytics and data warehousing and was previously the co-founder and CEO of Integral Results, a leading business intelligence consulting company that was acquired by Idea Integration. Marius also formed and led the data warehousing and real-time analytics group at Linden Lab, the creators of Second Life.

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