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The Internet of Things: the Next Technological Revolution

paul-marushkaWe are on the cusp of a technological revolution. Like the World Wide Web before it, the Internet of Things (IoT) is slowly changing the way we live and how companies conduct business. IoT is changing everything from the way our goods are manufactured to the way we heat our homes. One of the areas most affected by IoT is operational excellence, which includes sustainability. There is a technological revolution underway through a world interconnected by sensors accumulating huge datasets with profound implications for the environment and productivity.

There is significant untapped potential information from data collected throughout the supply chain via IoT devices informing sustainability practices. Aggregating, persisting, analyzing and visualizing this data so it can be acted upon involves innovation in sustainability data management software. IoT devices are creating Big Data for which algorithmic software will be needed for Big Analytics to transform data into information that can ultimately be acted upon.

IoT technology will be pivotal in providing predictive information preventing environmentally hazardous incidents. For example, containment sensors in municipal water infrastructure could discover lead leaking from pipes and signal contamination of a water supply so an environmental and health crisis can be avoided. Another example would be the use of sensors in states like California to prevent droughts. Agriculture accounts for 80% of water use in California, and soil sensors could tell us exactly when crops need watering. The risks associated with industrial waste, air pollution and water contamination could all be mitigated by IoT technologies.

IoT technologies are perfect for advancing operational excellence due to the complexities of operational ecosystems in which various technologies need to communicate in bidirectional manners to prevent adverse events from occurring. Moreover, the data aggregated from these integrated networks are best analyzed by the application of algorithms embedded in software identifying trends and predicting potential dangerous incidents. Sensors will need to transmit data to machinery which is monitored by software mining data across the entire workflow to identify and predict hazards that can be mitigated.

The world of Big Data is about to take a significant leap forward into the world of Big Analytics as a result of IoT technology, resulting in a safer, more sustainable and more productive world.

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