How the benefits of IoT will require collaboration

IoT and UC integration can make a difference when fast response times are key to your operations

by Scott Koegler

Convergence between smart Internet of Things (IoT) devices and unified communications (UC) systems could bring major improvements to your operations. It’s time to take a look at where integrating the two could change things for the better.

IoT devices appear in a wide variety of products. Some of them, including smartphones, smart watches, and other portable consumer devices, are now commonplace. But the field of devices is expanding rapidly to include inherently connected items (e.g., video surveillance cameras) and other items you wouldn’t think of as connected, such as shipping crates. The ability to collect data streams from this diverse set of things brings new utility to each device because their status can be assessed in near real time. This allows recipients of the data to take action based on the information they receive.

IT needs to consider advanced options to deal with incoming IoT data. For instance, you might consolidate data streams from fleets of devices and deliver the information through existing UC channels. You can combine IoT alerts with automated recommendations for users to take action, but without UC integration those actions require additional steps.

An integrated system can make a difference when fast response times are important. If a sensor on a cargo trailer carrying temperature-sensitive products generates an alert, the time required to find the contact information and location of the truck could delay a repair and endanger the shipment. However, when the alert system is integrated into the UC implementation, the staff monitoring the system can easily see the internal and external temperatures and corresponding remediation advice, quickly locate the truck, and almost instantly respond to the alert by contacting the driver. If the trucking company determines the refrigeration unit needs to be fixed immediately, a dispatcher can direct the driver to the appropriate repair facilities. The system can also transmit instructions and directions to the driver through in-dash navigation and communication systems that are part of the IoT environment.

IT should be reviewing current business practices and operational systems in an effort to bring together the IoT components and back-end facilities to streamline standard operations and problem resolution. A unified communications infrastructure can supply the tools needed to move ahead of the competition.

What IoT components are you deploying, and how are they integrated into operations? Learn more at AT&T IoT and AT&T Unified Communications.