Enterprise IoT: top 7 use cases, 
real-life examples, and trends

Enterprise IoT: top 7 use cases, real-life examples, and trends

October 16, 2023

Enterprise IoT market state

With the value IoT technologies can bring to businesses, the enterprise IoT market continues to grow rapidly. Here are some notable figures regarding the fast pace of IoT adoption.

$12.6 tn

the economic value IoT will reach by 2030

  • McKinsey

65.2%

the market share that SME segment held in 2021

  • Grand View Research

13.9%

CAGR of the enterprise segment from 2022 to 2030

  • Grand View Research
Maximum estimated economic value, 2030

Scheme title: Disaggregation of economic value by IoT use-case cluster
Data source: mckinsey.com — The Internet of Things: Catching up to an accelerating opportunity, 2021

CAGR 2020–30

The architecture of enterprise IoT infrastructure

An IoT infrastructure represents a range of interconnected physical devices with sensors and actuators, platforms and applications for IoT management, as well as data storing and processing tools.

Application layerIoT back-endAPI managementIoT connectivityDevice managementAnalyticsInformation managementData storage and managementIoT data lakeInfrastructure & integration layerAbstraction layer or IoT gatewayDevicesSensors and actuatorsSecurity

Sensors and actuators

Sensors capture the information from the physical environment (e.g., heat, light, pressure, etc.) and by wire or wirelessly transmit it to connected devices. Actuators, in their turn, act on data collected from connected devices and can perform a physical action (e.g., turn on/off ventilation). Both sensors and actuators are configured through the devices they are linked to.

Devices

Devices are hardware components with embedded firmware (routers, smartphones, tablets, etc.) that receive, process, and transmit data from sensors and actuators.

Gateway

IoT gateway, or the abstraction layer, receives data in its primary format from the devices and translates the information into the necessary format, mediating data exchange. It is needed when an IoT device cannot link directly to the IoT platform. In addition, IoT Edge is used when it is more reasonable to collect and process data without actually transmitting it to the cloud.

IoT integration middleware

The IoT integration middleware includes infrastructure and integration layers responsible for the general system functioning, container management, device management, APIs and connectivity management, as well as data storage and analytics mechanisms.

Application layer

The application layer represents the software that requests data from the sensors and performs physical actions through actuators, utilizing the IoT integration middleware. Applications control assets, monitor facilities, and process data to achieve particular business objectives.

Security

The security infrastructure covers all components of the IoT architecture and ensures data privacy, industry regulatory compliance, and device safety.

Top enterprise IoT use cases

Top enterprise IoT use cases

Enterprise IoT can facilitate the management of a distributed ecosystem of high-tech, conventional, stationary, or movable physical assets. Uniting the wealth of equipment, devices, and other assets into a single IoT ecosystem, companies can keep track of their location and get credible information on each item’s state anytime. Apart from ensuring accountability, the system helps protect the assets from theft and detect their location accurately in case of loss.

IoT solutions in enterprise buildings can automate the process of office equipment maintenance. By gathering data on equipment exploitation, performance, energy consumption, errors, and updates, IoT sensors help monitor the condition of all types of office equipment, from HVAC and smart locks to laptops and printers. Such continuous monitoring makes it possible to timely alert the team when the appliances require maintenance before the actual breakdown.

The activity information from each IoT-enabled device can be instantly transmitted into a unified database, creating a steady digital trail of all security events within the enterprise. In case of intrusion on-premises, this information can be passed on from surveillance cameras to door locks, immediately blocking the closest ones and thus stalling the perpetrator’s progress. With suitable devices in its infrastructure, enterprise IoT solutions can also enable access control through facial identification, voice and biometric recognition, movement tracking, and intelligent door-locking systems. Every lock in the building can have an access controller and require a card with an assigned IP address to enter the room.

Smart lighting systems encompass digital and motion sensors, communications interfaces, actuators, and lighting devices. They are programmed to operate remotely and can be used to change the light spectrum and color or adjust the level of illumination when a motion sensor detects activity. IoT sensors allow the HVAC equipment to measure air temperature, humidity, and purity, consider weather predictions, and monitor HVAC usage trends, so the indoor climate always stays optimal for employees.

IoT technologies can also prove valuable for building and workspace occupancy monitoring, allowing for real-time space management and efficient resource allocation. IoT technologies provide real-time data on space, meeting rooms, and desk utilization with cameras, infrared sensors, and access control tools installed across office facilities. As a result, such occupancy monitoring solutions provide accurate insights into how effectively the office space is used and help make data-driven decisions on space allocation, saving costs on unused desks and rooms.

Enterprises can utilize IoT solutions to monitor and control energy consumption in their commercial buildings. Smart sensors collect data on energy usage, HVAC utilization as well as facility occupancy to determine electricity overconsumption and optimize lighting and heating patterns across the building. For instance, the IoT infrastructure can detect that the C-suite uses the meeting room once every two weeks and reduce the temperature there for the period of non-use. This way, IoT will help save money on energy bills and reduce environmental impact.

IoT can help large enterprises with numerous car owners optimize their parking. Companies can ensure only their employees have access to the parking spaces by implementing intelligent parking systems where the parking gate arm opens with a smartphone or a special remote controller. They can also apply visual image processing and optical recognition technology to identify the car and automatically open the gate to the parking lot. Enterprises with large parking areas can also utilize the system’s hardware sensors to detect available parking slots and communicate the information to the drivers via their smartphones.

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Examples of IoT for enterprises

Let’s explore real-life cases of how IoT technologies transform traditional enterprise environments.

Smart lighting for Bravida’s office

When moving to a new office, a Swedish installation company Bravida decided to implement a smart lighting technology to ensure proper and even lighting and to meet the indoor lighting norm.  For this, Bravida took the initiative to implement AI-powered lighting controls. Lamps communicate with each other wirelessly using built-in nodes and sensors connected to the main LED driver. The lights switch off automatically after 15 minutes of space vacancy to save energy. Since the rooms in the office have transparent walls, the lights outside a room in the corridor are kept turned on when the room is in use for additional comfort of the employees.

Top enterprise IoT platforms

Key features
  • A ready-made UX and APIs  for easy enterprise-wide IoT system creation
  • A cloud platform for connecting, monitoring, and configuring IoT devices  
  • Digital representations of real devices, systems, and processes
  • Enables edge computing on IoT devices 
  • Robust security for the protection of IoT devices 
  • Allows for the deployment of real-time applications on resource-constrained devices
Differentiators
  • Seamless integration with other Microsoft products
  • Suitable for .NET projects
  • Scalable, flexible and easy-to-navigate development and deployment infrastructures
Limitations
  • Fewer IoT offerings compared to AWS
  • Limited device compatibility with specialized or industry-specific devices

Need help choosing an optimal IoT development tool?

Turn to Itransition

Benefits of IoT in enterprises

Reduced operating costs

By implementing IoT solutions, businesses can set up predictive maintenance and save on considerable equipment repair costs. For example, utilizing the power of real-time data analysis, smart building systems allow companies to monitor and control HVAC systems and take action before disruptions occur, reducing repair expenses.

Optimized energy management

IoT sensors and devices can monitor energy consumption levels in the office. Relying on data from occupancy monitoring sensors, enterprises can set up an automatic system for thermostats and HVAC systems regulation, reducing energy consumption and lowering utility costs.

Higher workplace productivity

IoT technologies create a more productive work environment by automating such routine tasks as checking room availability and room booking. Smart meeting rooms with IoT-enabled devices like smart boards or interactive displays can also foster employee communication and collaboration. Moreover, with sensors continuously monitoring indoor air quality, temperature, humidity, and lighting, enterprise IoT can make the working environment more comfortable.

Improved workplace safety

IoT systems help ensure workplace security by providing real-time perimeter monitoring and allowing for early threat response. Integrated into smart office buildings, sensors, surveillance cameras, and IoT access control systems help monitor the employees' and equipment's safety and protect offices against intrusions and physical attacks.

Challenges in implementing IoT in enterprises

Despite the growing popularity of IoT solutions, about 35% of IoT projects fail during PoC or trial stages, according to a study by Microsoft. Here are the most common problems companies face when adopting IoT in their enterprises and how to overcome them.

Challenge

Solution

Security

Challenge

Smart devices, IoT gateways, and data centers collect, process, and store sensitive data, which makes them an attractive target for hacker attacks. However, many IoT devices lack the computational capacity for built-in security mechanisms and receiving updates over the internet, which allows cybercriminals to gain access to enterprise infrastructure.

Challenge

Solution

  1. Ensure the physical security of your IoT devices by implementing port locks or camera covers.
  2. Install patches and updates regularly and run regular penetration testing to detect vulnerabilities in IoT device firmware and software. 
  3. Secure IoT networks with solid data encryption and secure communication protocols. Make sure to adjust the device’s bandwidth and limit the network traffic to the amount necessary for its functioning.
  4. Collect only necessary data and protect sensitive data with robust authentication. 

Finally, we recommend attracting experienced IoT software developers and cybersecurity experts to ensure your IoT system follows the NIST guide on IoT device cybersecurity.

Change management

Challenge

Many companies treat IoT implementation solely as a tech project rather than a comprehensive digital transformation. As a result, IoT adoption projects tend to fail due to employee resistance and poor adoption.

Challenge

Solution

When adopting IoT, you need to take into account the people and processes in your organization. Prepare a vision of how IoT will improve the organization’s workflows and ensure everyone is acquainted with future plans. During the IoT implementation, create bidirectional communication channels for employees to share their feedback. If the IoT adoption is a significant transformation, companies should gather a change management team responsible for establishing a new digital culture and practices.

Interoperability and compatibility

Challenge

Interoperability and compatibility issues arise when different elements of the IoT ecosystem (devices, platforms, and protocols) utilize different architectures and data formats to communicate. Lack of interoperability prevents the adoption of more complex IoT technologies, machine learning, or digital twins and leads to vendor lock-in.

Challenge

Solution

Although today many IoT platform vendors are working together to ensure superior interoperability and more centralized architectures of IoT devices, enterprises can also take several steps to ensure their IoT devices are interoperable and compatible. 

  1. Before the implementation, carefully compare IoT devices and opt for those that are compatible with your existing infrastructure and platforms. Using APIs and standardized protocols such as MQTT, CoAP, or HTTP will streamline device communication. 
  2. Adopt an IoT platform that will serve as a mediator and translator between different protocols during IoT device communication. 
  3. Prior to IoT deployment, perform thorough testing to verify IoT components' interoperability and identify any potential issues early on.

Transforming enterprise management with the IoT

The Internet of Things is reshaping the ways enterprises handle their assets and operations. Despite apparent and inevitable adoption challenges, organizations are increasingly interested in IoT to digitalize and streamline enterprise workflows. IoT can help companies reduce operational costs, improve employee productivity, optimize office energy consumption, and ensure the security of their staff and buildings.  If you are considering IoT implementation, we are ready to develop and integrate a powerful IoT solution for your enterprise to streamline your day-to-day office, asset and employee management.