IoT and data statistics are staggering, to the point of appearing fantastical:

  • 5 quintillion bytes of data produced every day (that’s 2.5 followed by 18 zeros)
  • By the year 2020, the IoT will comprise more than 30 billion connected devices
  • It would take a lifetime to manually analyze the data produced by a single sensor on a manufacturing assembly line

No wonder studies reveal that:

  • Only 26% of companies surveyed reported that their IoT initiatives have been successful

No wonder the Harvard Business Review found that:

  • Less than half of structured data is actively used in decision making
  • Less than 1% of unstructured data is analyzed or used at all

Logic dictates that what’s needed is a process for storing and analyzing the data that IoT devices and sensors produce. A process that distills data into actionable, useful information. Information that becomes intelligence. Intelligence that provides the basis for transforming our lives and making informed business decisions. That’s the logical goal. Let’s take a look at how and where the IoT has produced tangible results. Although its full potential has not been reached, the IoT has been a major force behind today’s digital transformation and much of the public and private sector innovation that has developed over the past decade.

The IoT in Daily Life

So-called ”smart homes” and ”smart cars” are two great examples of how the IoT has been a transformative factor in our daily lives. These are actually two of the earliest tangible use cases. Smart home devices include lighting, thermostats, water leak prevention and alerts, security systems, washers, dryers, and refrigerators. These devices and appliances are so pervasive that they can be purchased at any major home goods store or on Amazon.

Smart cars can do everything from providing basic alerts to letting you know when you’re too close to another vehicle, self-parking, and informing your insurance carrier that you’ve been in an accident. The IoT ecosystem reaches far beyond our homes and cars. Significant results are also being achieved in numerous business sectors. Here are just a few examples.

Healthcare and Medical

IoT devices are used to enable remote health monitoring and emergency notification systems. This can range from blood pressure and heart rate monitors to specialized implants, such as pacemakers. Some hospitals have begun implementing “smart beds” that can detect when they are occupied and when a patient is attempting to get up. A smart bed also adjusts itself to apply appropriate pressure and support without manual intervention.

End-to-end health monitoring IoT platforms are coming into use for diagnostic purposes as well, such as the prenatal diagnosis of birth defects.


In an industry that has long been struggling to remain profitable, the IoT has contributed significantly toward innovating farming methods. In fact, agricultural challenges from population growth and climate change have made it one of the first industries to utilize the IoT.

The integration of wireless sensors with mobile apps and cloud platforms now helps in the collection of vital information related to environmental conditions such as temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed, pest infestation, and soil humus or nutrient content. These can be used to improve and automate farming techniques, make informed decisions, and minimize risk and waste. For example, farmers can now detect which areas have been fertilized, whether the land is too dry, and predict yield.


The U.S. manufacturing sector has been adversely impacted by offshoring. But with help from the IoT and the cost savings that result, we are now seeing a growing trend reshoring.

Indeed, the IoT in the manufacturing sector is such a special case that it has its own name:  the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). By networking machinery, sensors, and control systems together, IIoT intelligent systems enable rapid manufacturing of new products, dynamic response to product demands, and real-time optimization of manufacturing production and supply chain networks.

One basic example of IIoT innovation is predictive maintenance, which is applicable to existing assets and management systems. The objective, which is achieved rather easily, is a reduction in unexpected downtime and an increase in productivity. Another example is the role of industrial big data analytics, which will transform collected data into actionable information that can be used to optimize processes.

Today and Tomorrow

As the IoT explodes to 30 billion connected devices in 2020, we’ll see tremendous innovation in many other fields as well – environmental monitoring, waterways, energy management, smart cities, and more. For more information about the IoT and practical advice on how to harness its power, Cisco and SAS are hosting an upcoming webinar on February 15th, Cisco and SAS working together in the IoT EcosystemPlease register at the link above to learn about some solutions that can be leveraged to optimize your IoT strategy and environment.