Internet of things early adopters share 4 key takeaways

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Getting ready to launch an IoT initiative? Read these insights and advice from early adopters in aviation, transportation, manufacturing and more.

ARI Fleet Management manages 1.2 million things with wheels across North America and Europe, from telephone company trucks to corporate vehicles to railroad maintenance trucks.

The telematics sensors on its rolling stock of vehicles capture data between every three and 30 seconds. "Every two weeks, we get the equivalent of all the data we've accumulated in the last twenty years," says Bill Powell, director of enterprise architecture for the Mt. Laurel, N.J.-based firm.

It's a carousel of information: ARI can tell from its gyroscopic sensors if drivers are jackrabbiting from stops or slamming on their brakes; it can tell from engine sensors that they're letting the engines idle too long.

One of the most intriguing and granular pieces in all these terabytes of data is the one that compares where a gas credit card was used, based on the geocode of the vendor, and where the vehicle was at the time. If the differential is more than 20 feet, an ARI audit can show that someone was fueling an unauthorized vehicle.

As that example shows, the internet of things (IoT) isn't just about sensors and data, it's about using data in context. That makes it an interdisciplinary challenge for IT executives, one that encompasses information technology, operations and business processes.

GE Aviation Internet of Things

GE Aviation captures hundreds of megabytes of data anytime a plane lands. The company has created a data lake to analyze that information, alongside scheduling data, weather data, airport curfews and other resources. These advanced analytics lead to increased performance for its customers, which include United Airlines and Southwest Airlines.

How can organizations develop and launch IoT initiatives that truly transform the business from the ground up? Computerworld spoke to a number of early IoT adopters, entities that have gotten their hands dirty in everything from manufacturing and logistics to smart cities and agriculture. Almost all report bumps along the way, but also say they have either achieved or anticipate significant payoffs from their investment. With IoT at last becoming a force in the enterprise, here are four lessons to heed.

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