Internet of Things (IoT) technology presents business of all sizes with significant opportunities to cut costs while gaining valuable business intelligence. But it also relies on infrastructure that requires reliable power – thereby presenting an opportunity for electrical contractors.
IoT at a glance: A big market getting bigger
By most any measure, the IoT is big and getting bigger. Forbes published a collection of statistics that make the point crystal clear, including these:
- By 2020, the installed base of the IoT devices is forecast to grow to almost 31 billion worldwide. By 2025 the installed base of IoT devices will be over 75.4 billion devices.
- $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions between 2015 and 2020 according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
- The global IoT market is projected to grow from $2.99 trillion in 2014 to $8.9 trillion in 2020, attaining a 19.92% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
All that infrastructure and money is aimed at delivering benefits such as improving the speed and accuracy of supply chains, improving quality management, enabling predictive maintenance programs and more. But here’s a line from the Forbes article that really struck me: “The most critical success factor all these use cases depend on is secure, scalable and reliable end-to-end integration solutions that encompass on-premise, legacy and cloud systems, and platforms.”
The word “reliable” is the one that caught my eye, because it is spot on.
IoT applications require reliable infrastructure
To understand why, you need to grasp how a typical IoT application works.
First, it relies on some sort of device – a sensor or a machine running IoT software, for example – that collects and transmits data. In a manufacturing environment it might be data about the health of machines while in a bakery (to steal an example from my last post) it might be sensors that monitor oven and refrigerator temperatures.
The device then sends that data to some sort of collection point. For a small or medium business, that is likely a small server or appliance located on premises, which then sends the data to a cloud-based service provider or other form of centralized collection point. That’s where applications exist that make sense of the data and deliver actionable intelligence back to the business.
The whole setup only works if all of the components that play a role are functioning as they should. Having stable and clean electrical power, of course, is fundamental to their reliable function.
This is where electrical contractors come in. When doing a job for most any company today, have a conversation about the kind of equipment that will be on site. Find out if the company is using some form of IoT equipment (even if they don’t use the term IoT). If so, explain the importance of reliable power to the proper functioning of that equipment and how an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) offers power protection in the event of a utility power outage. That includes clean and stable power, as the UPS acts as a filter thanks to its double conversion technology.
IoT applications are everywhere
In just about any commercial or industrial environment, there’s a good chance some form of IoT will be playing a role.
It could be smart building technology, such as smart lights and temperature monitoring systems. Security systems are another example, including cameras and the network components that support remote monitoring.
Retail environments are likely to have inventory monitoring and tracking systems that rely on IoT technology. Manufacturing facilities will have IoT systems monitoring the health of their machines, driving predictive maintenance applications that are becoming increasingly important to such firms.
Healthcare facilities are big users of IoT technology, for everything from monitoring expensive MRI and CT scan machines to systems that support communications with patients and telemedicine.
Installing a secure power solution will dramatically improve the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) of any industrial plant, and the UPS will improve the availability by reducing unplanned stoppages. With a higher OEE, the return on investment (ROI) for the UPS will be shorter. Consider that the cost of a single hour of downtime can be more than $100,000 for larger companies, as detailed in this previous post, and you can see just how quick the ROI can be.
Access Power Protection Resources
Opportunities abound. The key for electrical contractors is to start a conversation, and get customers thinking about the value their IoT applications are delivering – and why they warrant reliable power protection.
Our free guide, “UPS Basics for Electrical Contractors & Specifiers: How to Choose, Configure and Cost-Justify,” will help get you up to speed on UPSs and the value they bring in an IoT world. You can also check out our industrial business information page, which has additional resources and solutions.