last step. Instead, a company decides which features will deliver real value to customers relative to its costs. The model does not illustrate that a company on the first step is ‘immature’, instead it serves to illustrate the magnitude of the IoT opportunity remaining, even when the first steps have been taken.
Value from IoT can come from both internal efficiency gains, e.g. within supply chain and production, and companies’ customer offerings.
The vast majority of literature written on IoT is about just the first step of the continuum, Monitoring. Using sensors, IoT-enabled devices allow for substantial monitoring of product condition, the external environment, and product use. By enabling Big Data, this step alone presents not only a great opportunity but also a daunting task.
On the second step, Control, product functions respond to specified changes in its condition or environment (if X occurs, Y is performed), using algorithms and software.
Others have moved to the third step, where the product is additionally capable of Optimization, where analytics enable the product to continuously and automatically optimize performance. The real-time data collected combined with the ability to control product function via software enables more timely preventive – as opposed to time-based – maintenance and even remote repair.
The fourth step combines the capabilities of the previous three, but on this step the product is able to work in Autonomy, without human interference, continuously adjusting itself to data on the environment and its users’ preferences.
Finally, the fifth step is System Autonomy, to illustrate that the full potential of IoT lies in the ability of a product to not only work autonomously but also in continuous dialogue with other connected things, impacting the function of both.
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