The Internet of Things: What It Means For IT Service Providers
We live in the future. The idea of refrigerators that generate shopping lists, clothing that monitors vitals and phones that know when you’re standing or sitting seemed almost ridiculous 10 years ago. Yet today these capabilities are becoming more the norm than the exception.
Welcome to the Internet of Things (IoT). In this 3-part series, we’ll discuss what evolving technology usage means to IT service providers and outline a few of the opportunities they present.
But before we start, we need to understand what the IoT is. According to Gartner, the Internet of Things is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. In other words, all your things talk to each other.
It’s a pretty simple idea, but how much value is created when all of your things are connected? Cisco recently estimated that there will be up to 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Other estimates put that number at 26 billion, which is still huge! Either way you look at it, the market is growing rapidly, with an estimated value of ~$7.1 trillion in 6 years.
How does this help IT service providers now?
One way is through building management automation (BMA). BMA uses the IoT technologies to increase a building’s efficiency and is estimated to be a $75 billion industry by 2019. Making your clients’ buildings more efficient is a great way to help reduce their bottom line while strengthening your IT services offering. It’s also a simple way to help make your business more green (pun intended).
Here are a few ideas to help you add BMA to your services offering.
Smart thermostats provide a range of capabilities, but most focus on learning daily routines. These high-tech thermostats can monitor building occupancy, monitor maintenance needs such as change filter notifications, and allow you to remotely regulate building temperature.
Smart lighting also learns the habits of building occupants and is self-regulating. Options such as Cree, Inc.’s SmartCast™ Technology will help better optimize lighting use. These systems monitor natural light and automatically make adjustments as the levels of natural light change throughout the day, so lights are on only when they need to be.
Smart security provides peace of mind. This IoT item allows you to access a building’s security system and monitor for intrusions.
By combining these IoT technologies and integrating the monitoring and management pieces already built into IoT devices, you can easily include BMA as part of your service offering and help your clients run their building operations more efficiently. Once you’ve addressed BMA efficiencies, you can help ease clients into the larger applications of the Internet of Things.
In the next part of our IoT series, we’ll take the discussion one step further with the Internet of Things and Humans (IoTH).