1. Data center monitoring, management, and automation
In recent market research conducted by 451 Research, the top IoT initiative in the enterprise was data center management, monitoring, and automation. While these concepts aren't new, the capabilities made available by current IoT products will help businesses tackle the massive influx of data that will continue to grow over the next few years. As well as enabling multiple data center locations to be monitored, connected sensors could also help IT better automate tasks like provisioning.
"The volume of data is going to far surpass human beings' ability to triage it all fast enough," said Christian Renaud, a research director covering IoT at 451 Research. "So, you're going to have to have automated processes in place for these applications."
2. Supply chain and inventory management
The top internal IoT initiative in recent Gartner research was operation optimization through features such as workflow management, supply chain management, and warehouse management. Using connected sensors, a business can more effectively manage a delivery fleet, and more closely follow its assets at rest and in transit.
According to Alfonso Velosa, research vice-president of IoT at Gartner, this fits into the goals of business owners and operators to reduce costs and optimize processes.
3. Surveillance and security monitoring
Once you connect any device to a network, it has the potential to become a valuable tool for data collection and becomes a candidate for easier management. Some of the 451 Research respondents noted that they were utilizing IoT in their security systems.
"Predominantly, they have cameras and electronic systems like doors and sensors that they are then bringing back into a monitoring scheme," Renaud said. "Video analytics with the cameras, [and] occasionally we'll hear facial recognition and more esoteric things like that."
4. Contextual product features
One of the most common uses for the data gathered by IoT is to return it back to the user as personalized features and contextual cues, such as personalized ads. In Gartner's research, 62 percent of those surveyed about their external IoT plans said they were targeting "new services to customers that do not directly generate revenue such as enhanced product features."