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  • Jun 01, 2017
  • by Glenn Richmond

If you’re an avid follower of the next big thing in business and IT, you’d be well aware of the new world of IOT, and of course cloud computing. There’s been a lot of buzz around cloud in particular over the past few years - with the emergence of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and other players in the Platform as a Service space, and an almost unlimited number of new cloud web applications, some of which have grown and prospered and some that have fizzled. While there are still plenty of IT managers that will swear by the on premise / hardware-based approach (though this number is dwindling), the benefits of cloud software are many for both the vendor and the client.

Key Benefits of Cloud Business Software

From a client’s standpoint, the benefits are that cloud software allows businesses of all sizes to access business software for a comparatively low up front cost compared with the costs associated with purchasing large fixed priced software in the past. Cloud software is typically priced based on usage levels, meaning that businesses can start off small and grow with the business as their requirements grow, and if a client no longer requires the software, they can simply terminate their subscription in most cases. In addition, cloud software is typically more robust due to the geographically redundant nature of the cloud, providing reliability for critical business applications.

From a vendor’s standpoint, the subscription model provides predictable ongoing revenue, which allows for ongoing investment in the product, which in turn benefits the client by ensuring that the product is being continually improved. It’s a win/win for both sides.

In terms of growth, Forbes predicts that worldwide spending on public cloud services will grow at a 19.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to more than $141B in 2019 and McKinsey estimates the total IoT market size will grow to $3.7B in 2020 attaining a 32.6% CAGR.

What’s driving this growth? 

There are plenty of use cases for IOT in personal health - think smart watches, activity trackers, and the like. This in turn has potential applications in the personal health insurance and the medical fields, though I'm not sure that I’d want to be tracked just so I could save a few dollars on my health insurance. It seems a little close to something George Orwell might write about (see 1984 if I’ve lost you on that last one). 

Create an graph showing growth of cloud and IOT

What are the use cases in broader industry?

One use case that we’re seeing more and more of is in asset maintenance. This is particularly true where the servicing of assets are based on usage such as the number of machine hours, or odometer reading where it may not strictly be based according to a date-based maintenance schedule.

At Fieldmagic, we recently spoke with a shipping & logistics company that needed to drive maintenance of a whole range of assets based on usage data. As it turns out, the organisation needed to perform a daily safety inspection for each asset, which included a daily recording of odometer readings, which users were able to perform with the Asset Checklists feature within Fieldmagic. In turn, we were able to schedule maintenance of assets based on the odometer readings captured during the daily assets checklists.

However, not every organisation performs daily inspections of all of their machinery. In this scenario, IOT provides an ideal opportunity to capture ongoing usage of key assets, and assuming that your asset maintenance software supports an open API, this data can be fed into your software, which can be used to drive ongoing preventative maintenance. 

Fieldmagic System Diagram

How close are we to this as a day to day reality?

The reality is that aspects of this data are already being captured regularly in larger organizations through some of the more sophisticated geolocation and tracking systems on the market today. As long as your assets are within range of a 3G network every now and again, you’ll be able to capture this data and use it to drive your preventative maintenance. For situations where assets are not regularly within range of these networks, or travel internationally, there are a range of low cost, satellite-based communications options coming into the market today that make IOT a viable option even for remote applications out of range of traditional networks.

The future of business technology is changing dramatically, though this is a change that will benefit businesses. To make sure that you are well positioned to take advantage of this change, be sure to choose systems that are cloud-enabled and provide strong APIs to give you the flexibility you need to get the most out of your business.

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