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How Industries Are Using IoT Devices to Gain Competitive Edge

The Internet of Things (IoT) offers potential to change the way we live and work. Smart, connected devices can collect and/or share information in a myriad of ways, offering almost unlimited opportunities to create new and innovative solutions.

Different industry sectors are using the potential of IoT in different ways and with different levels of maturity. In each sector, there are early adopters who are achieving significant competitive advantage through their use of the IoT, just as there are laggards who have yet to cotton on to the IoT’s potential to deliver competitive edge.

Let’s take a look at some of the examples of leading players in different industry sectors are deploying IoT devices to gain competitive edge.


One of the biggest growth areas for IoT is healthcare. At the consumer side, smart watches and trackers are used in conjunction with health monitoring apps to monitor vital health statistics, detect potential problems early and promote behaviours that are conducive to good health.

A growing number of new entrants in this space have taken this concept further, developing specialist monitoring devices designed to address specific health needs, such as heart monitoring, oxygen monitoring, blood sugar monitoring. This offers amazing potential for better, more cost-effective and patient-led care.


Manufacturing has been quick to implement IoT. There are two opportunities here. First, in the manufacturing of the smart, connected devices themselves – and the integration of this technology into existing product ranges to enhance existing product offerings.

Second, manufacturers have adopted IoT devices within their own manufacturing operations. IoT devices, such as sensors, metering and gauges, offer new possibilities to move towards automated and data-driven operations and create efficiencies at a low cost. This includes in development preventative and predictive maintenance schedules and reducing resource and energy consumption.


The move to autonomous and electric vehicles is driving a host of new solutions and creating vast quantities of performance data in the cloud. Creating an entirely new national infrastructure of charging points is a huge driver for IoT growth. These stations all need connecting with provider, account and payment details. Even at-home infrastructure needs to be connected to the local network and the cloud to send vital consumption data to the householder and provider.


In retail and entertainment, IoT devices are being used to measure footfall so that consumer traffic can be better understood for management, marketing and safety reasons. IoT sensors and metering and smart devices, such as motion-sensitive lighting, are helping retailers and venue managers to understand and reduce energy consumption. Some retailers are using IoT solutions to develop more convenient self-service options in store. For example, Amazon Go are cashierless stores that use IoT sensors and cameras to track items that shoppers pick so they can be paid for without the need to scan them at a checkout.


Using IoT to monitor footfall and traffic flows is also driving IoT adoption in the transport sector. Planners and public transport providers use information captured by sensors to inform service provision and traffic management. Meanwhile, in airports IoT solutions are being used to track luggage movements as well as passenger movement.

When it comes to logistics, IoT devices are being introduced to track vehicle movement and other assets for security and performance reasons. Bringing more certainty to a fractured supply chain is an attractive driver for IoT adoption.


Big travel brands are using IoT devices to intelligently manage energy use throughout their estates. For example, Hilton and Marriot use IoT devices to control room temperature and lighting. Since these services are heavy consumers of energy, there are significant cost and energy efficiencies to be won, as well as enhancing the guest experience and becoming a “greener” business.


As in logistics, in agriculture the IoT is especially helpful in asset tracking. Farm equipment is expensive and the threat of theft is increasing, so remote tracking and monitoring of tractors and other vehicles is especially useful.

IoT devices like sensors and metering are also being introduced to monitor weather, soil and crop information, to help with planning and performance tracking. Farmers have detailed information about factors that affect yield and so can take early action to protect yield performance.

The IoT is also enabling entirely new approaches. Hydroponics and indoor gardening operations can be operated at huge scale thanks to the introduction of sensor-driven automations for feeding, watering, light and temperature control.


In industry, machine and equipment builders are integrating IoT sensor and monitoring equipment into their products so that their performance can be monitored over time. After a product has left the factory and been installed at a customer site, the manufacturer can continue to monitor performance so that after-sales service and maintenance can be enhanced. This helps the customer extend the lifecycle of their equipment and also creates potential for new after-sales revenue streams for the manufacturer.

The growth of IoT brings new opportunities to develop competitive edge

The impact of the IoT is being felt in almost every industry sector and in almost every aspect of our lives, whether we are aware of it or not.

This article offers a few examples of how IoT is changing industries and offering opportunities to secure competitive advantage for early adopters. However, the opportunities are almost unlimited. Learning from other industry sectors helps to shed some light on the potential in your own.

However, the bravest are seeking new opportunities to use the IoT to develop competitive edge through creative thinking and innovation that will truly transform their sector.

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