Why are the hospitality, manufacturing, and banking industries leading the way in IoT investments?

These days, many businesses are jockeying to be at the forefront of IoT innovation. Why? Because IoT leaders are seeing the biggest benefit in terms of return on investment.

Across the board, companies are always looking for new ways to conduct business more efficiently and effectively. As such, the IoT has emerged as a crucial acceleration for core business since it enables companies to transform their day-to-day operations and functions for the better. A study conducted by Tata Consultancy Services found that, in 2014, introducing IoT led to revenue increases on average of 15.6%—nearly 1 in 10 experienced a rise of at least 30% in revenue. Furthermore, of the 795 executives surveyed, 12% stated they would allocate upwards of $100 million to IoT over the next year.

IoT empowers companies to re-imagine their business in ways that were not previously possible or known. This excitement has stimulated much-needed news way of thinking—and in our era of disruption this innovative thinking behooves all industries. Currently, manufacturing, hospitality and banking are realizing—and reaping—the greatest benefits.

The Impact of Sensors in Manufacturing

When looking at the manufacturing sector, the impact of IoT investments are the easiest to understand. Imagine a company that collects raw materials and assembles them in a particular and unique manner to create an end product. Sensors could be used to determine where a product is in the assembly line. Artificial intelligence can then determine which raw materials are low and order more. Additional sensors could then update the shipping and receiving info, and track the number of products in inventory.

Without IoT, the process from creation to production to delivery would take a team of people from different departments manually keeping track of various data points and solving any issues that arise. IoT not only guarantees efficiency, but accuracy. Siemens is using IoT at their manufacturing plant in Germany, GE at their battery plants, Harley-Davidson at their production plant in Pennsylvania, and Cisco uses IoT for better coordination and insight into their global production plants.

A Higher Level of Security in Banking

In banking, IoT can improve data security and make banking activities easier to execute for consumers and businesses. The majority of large banks, like Bank of America, have already begun to issue debit and credit cards embedded with a computer chip. These cards were designed specifically to better data security and reduce theft. The chip syncs up with the store POS device and verifies its authenticity in real time—the more data points checked upon to conduct a transaction, the safer the transaction is. IoT, overall, fosters a higher level of security, and opens up more data points for banks to access and determine the difference between fraudulent purchases and actual ones.

Aside from security, wearables also offer another set of possibilities to the banking industry. Citigroup was the first to implement banking with wearables by rolling out an app for Apple Watch when the device hit the market. Customers can receive account notifications, use touch ID authentication, and have instant access to their account without having to sign in every time. The combination of a hardware and software components propels the possibilities of IoT to endless.

Improved Customer Service in Hospitality

Some of the more visible and known IoT innovations have been seen in travel and hospitality. Companies within these industries have realized the vast potential for better operational efficiency and a more personalized customer experience using IoT solutions. Smart sensors on suitcases, thermostats, light bulbs, coffeemakers, and mirrors can work collectively to customize any environment based on a customer’s needs and preferences. In fact, air temperature and illumination can be adjusted based on sensor data from IoT devices.

Hotels have also introduced electronic key cards that can be added to a guest’s mobile device so their phone can open and close room doors, and provide access to different areas of the hotel (e.g. fitness room, business center, etc.). Starwood Hotels, for example, allows its customers to use their smart devices to unlock their rooms and even bypass check-in to provide a truly self-service experience. Other hospitality companies are using facial recognition to provide data as to when a guest is on the premises, and offer specific information about that guest (e.g. must send room-service breakfast at 6:15 a.m.).

According to HOSPA, in 2013, there was one device connected to the internet per person with this number expected to increase to 9 by 2020. For the hospitality industry this means an increase in technologies that can keep a record of a guest’s activities to help provide a more targeted, enjoyable experience during their stay.

What to expect

IoT gives the physical a digital identity, and introduces new applications of completing a business process. In the coming years, months, and even weeks, there will be hundreds of use cases that will enable companies to improve the overall experience from a business and customer service perspective.

As we, as a society, continue to collect more and more data, and analyze the collected data in a more intelligent manner, we will find new ways in which to complete the simplest and most complex tasks. The creation and implementation of IoT innovations provides convenience, proliferates efficiency, and cultivates pro-activity. Above every other benefit, the IoT will give us back the one resource we all wish we had more of: time.