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“What’s going on?”

People ask that question all the time. But when it comes to business, we really want to know what’s happening in your company. On your shop floor. With your suppliers and customers. And we want to know how these issues affect your profits.

Every competent executive uses multiple techniques and tools to understand what’s going on in the business – and what to do about it. Yet often, we don’t really know. We miss clues and overlook evidence. Either we’re blind to the signs of change, or we simply lack the insight to know which action to take. But now, things are changing.

The Internet of Things (IoT) helps businesses use networks of devices and sensors to collect data and create new insight, without human intervention. More than just technology, the IoT is a new way of doing business while differentiating yourself from the competition. By providing data-driven insight that informs action, the IoT offers tremendous opportunity for enterprises to connect, transform, and re-imagine their business models to meet the challenges of today’s hyper-connected digital economy.

Connecting for Insight


Consider the experience of the Port of Hamburg. The largest port in Germany and the second largest in Europe, Hamburg processes 9 million shipping containers annually. Traffic is increasing and the Hamburg Port Authority expects volumes to rise to 25 million containers by 2025. Parking space is limited and traffic congests roadways throughout the port.

To increase the turnover of goods and reduce traffic, the port authority invested in a new “smart port logistics” project. By connecting a network of devices, appliances, machines, and other physical objects to its business systems, the port collects data from transportation companies, parking providers, container terminals, and traffic services. Supported by that data, the port offers an information service to carriers, trucking companies, and other key players in the logistics operations.

Truck drivers receive notices on their mobile devices when containers are ready for pickup. Alerts help them avoid traffic congestion or closed roads. Instead of showing up early and clogging the port with waiting tractor-trailers, drivers arrive precisely when the containers are ready to be loaded. As a result, port traffic is lighter, carriers incur less idle time, and container turnover is higher.

For more information on the Port of Hamburg, please see the following video

Embarking on an IoT Journey


This case study is more than just an interesting story. It’s a clear indicator of how critical the need is for real-time business insight. Confronted by new technologies and competing agendas, you might consider the IoT to be one of those cool but not-yet necessary initiatives.

Think again. The IoT is rapidly becoming technology that is essential for survival. In very short order, IoT-enabled competitors will know more about your market, your customers, and your challenges than you will. They will be able to use that insight to see exactly “what’s going on” and do something about it.

Take a wait-and-see attitude toward the IoT, and you risk being left behind – by both competitors and your customers. It’s your choice. Experts can help you take the key steps to making the IoT work for you. Or you can let your competition take the lead. How will your business thrive in the IoT?

For more information on the seven key steps needed to create a successful IoT strategy, read the IDC executive brief .

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