IoT Business Solutions and Applications
In 2020, over $749 billion (USD) has been spent on the Internet of Things (IoT) globally, with Australian businesses embracing IoT business solutions every day. As the IoT will have an enormous impact on the Australian economy, understanding how you can use the IoT is essential for every business small and big.
What is IoT?
The Internet of Things (often shortened to ‘IoT’) refers to a global network of smart devices. These devices are in constant communication with humans and other machines - sharing, receiving and storing information to help us with our everyday lives.
Any device can join the IoT - from a light switch that turns on when a person enters the building to a shredder that tells your office computer it is full. All a device needs to join the IoT is sensors that can transmit data and the ability to connect to the internet. According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), there will be 18 billion
IoT devices globally by 2022.
Generally, IoT devices are divided into three categories, including:
Consumer IoT devices
Consumer IoT devices are used by individual people for everyday purposes. This includes phones, smart homes, wearable devices, smart appliances and smart entertainment systems.
Enterprise IoT devices
Enterprise IoT devices are used by small and large organisations to enhance their everyday business operations. This includes smart buildings, smart agriculture, smart healthcare and smart office devices (like that IoT shredder).
Industrial IoT devices
Industrial IoT devices are used by companies to improve industrial processes. This includes smart manufacturing, smart mining, smart automotive manufacturing, self-driving vehicles and automatic public transportation.
Australian businesses and the IoT revolution
Over the next few years, Australian businesses will use the IoT in several ways. According to a 2018 report from the Australian Computing Society (ACS), the IoT will likely provide the Australian economy with between $194 and $308 billion in annual benefits over the next 8 to 18 years.
Every year, this includes:
$75 - 96 billion in the construction industry.
$50 - 88 billion in the manufacturing industry,
$34 - 68 billion in the healthcare industry.
$22 - 34 billion in the mining industry.
$14 - 22 billion in the agriculture, fishing and forestry industries.
The IoT will also help Australian businesses to embrace Industry 4.0. This is the use of the IoT to swap manual processes for automatic processes performed by machines. These machines communicate with one another through machine-to-machine communication, enabling IoT business solutions like smart manufacturing.
Importance of IoT in business
While those benefits are still years away, the IoT is already contributing to many Australian businesses. According to a report from the Bureau of Communications, Arts and Regional Research, the IoT contributed $74 billion (or 4.5%) to Australia’s economy in 2016-17 alone.
For Australian businesses, this was felt through an improvement in productivity, security and running efficiency.
IoT business solutions can improve business productivity in several ways. IoT devices can send and receive data from the cloud quickly, allowing multiple employees to work on shared documents (like Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive) simultaneously.
In many organisations, IoT business solutions increase productivity by replacing devices that require constant maintenance - like fax machines. IoT devices also allow employees to work from anywhere with an internet connection, removing the need for excessive office space.
IoT business solutions make Australian businesses more secure by enabling them to use cloud-based computing. Cloud-based computing allows businesses to keep all documents offsite, meaning they can only be accessed by approved people.
Other IoT business solutions allow you to increase the security of your workplace by tracking everyone onsite. Smart security solutions are able to recognise employees and can alert management when an unfamiliar person enters the workplace, or a person enters a restricted area.
Business running efficiency
IoT business solutions also improve the everyday efficiency of Australian businesses. Solutions like smart offices can monitor the environment without human interference - controlling the temperature, controlling who is in the building and turning off lights in unused rooms. Many smart offices can even brew their own coffee.
As smart offices can run themselves, employees are freed up to focus on their work.
Application of IoT in businesses
As the IoT develops and evolves, the possibilities for Australian businesses are endless. To give you an idea of what’s truly possible, here are three examples of companies innovating with the IoT.
Amazon’s Smart Warehousing
eCommerce giant Amazon was one of the first major companies to embrace smart warehousing. In their sorting and fulfilment centres, Amazon outsources basic tasks to machines.
In Colorado, Amazon’s warehouse uses sensors in each storage rack, tracking inventory levels automatically without employees conducting stocktakes. When a packing robot is fulfilling an order, the warehouse tells the robot where the product is and the most efficient way to pack it.
As robots are zipping around the warehouse, Amazon’s IoT business solutions are continuously monitoring the robots to ensure they are working with maximum efficiency and without crashing.
Amazon is currently building a similar ‘robotics fulfilment centre’ in Western Sydney. The facility will cover over 200,000 square metres of floor space and will allow humans and robots to fill orders side-by-side. This will decrease the time it takes Amazon to pick and pack orders as the facility will stock products from over 10,000 businesses. The facility is due for completion by the end of 2021.
Siemens Smart Manufacturing
Global manufacturer Siemens uses smart manufacturing in its plant in Amberg, Germany. The Amberg plant relies on smart sensors placed within each machine, allowing the factory to be controlled remotely. As a result, all machinery in the factory can be reprogrammed in just one minute - down from 2 hours.
Smart sensors within the factory also assess the health of the machinery - detecting issues before they turn into disasters or produce defective products.
As a result of smart manufacturing, Siemens achieved a 99.9% level of production quality.
eFax’s Online Fax
Online fax is one of many IoT business solutions to be embraced by Australian businesses. Online fax allows businesses to send, receive and store faxes from a computer, tablet, phone or through email.
eFax is Australia’s leading online fax company, serving over 11 million happy customers worldwide. Through the power of the IoT, eFax allows Australian businesses to:
Fax large files that can’t be sent over email.
Send faxes to multiple recipients simultaneously.
Convert fax files to MS Word documents and PDF’s.
Store an unlimited number of faxes in the cloud.
As a result of the IoT, eFax has made faxing possible anytime and anywhere.
The future of IoT business opportunities
IoT business solutions are bringing the IoT into every Australian business. By 2022, Australian homes are expected to house over 47 million IoT devices, revolutionising the way we live, work and play.
With the national rollout of the 5G network and the NBN, the IoT will only become more important to Australian businesses. 44% of Australian businesses have already implemented IoT devices.
Embrace the IoT with eFax
If you’re investing in IoT business solutions and devices, it’s time to embrace an online fax service like eFax.
With eFax, you’ll get access to an online fax system that’s NBN compatible and future proof. Many Australian businesses lose their fax system while transitioning to the NBN - but not with eFax. eFax’s fax experts will help you plan your fax transition to ensure your fax service isn’t interrupted.
eFax is dedicated to keeping Australian businesses online and even allows you to keep using your NBN number from day one. eFax loves helping Australian businesses like yours transition to an online fax service smoothly and safely.
To see how eFax can help your business, start a 30-day free trial or call 1800 283 361.