The Internet of Things, or IoT, has been around for more than a century – only we didn’t call it that until relatively recently. Previously, terms like “Machine to Machine” (M2M) had been used, or “telematics”. But, let’s face it, IoT is a much more exciting term.
This, apparently, dates from around 1999, but it could be said to have taken shape a little earlier, back in the 1980s. Then, a group of students (who else?) from Carnegie Melon University created a way to get their campus Coca-Cola vending machine to report on its contents through a network in order to save them the trek if the machine was out of supplies.
You can read a little more of this fascinating history, here. What’s interesting is that something that seems inherently trivial has blossomed into something that affects almost every industry.
Since then, the world of IoT has grown at an astounding rate, with some experts predicting the number of connected devices will eclipse 22 billion devices by 2025. As a result, NexRev constantly tracks the IoT market to ensure we take advantage of improvements and innovations that can help our customers optimize their businesses.
As you may know, NexRev’s building/energy management system called Freedom is used to provide a centralized view of connected devices, sensors, meters, and – even – NexRev DrivePak deployments.
This is increasingly important. That’s because one of the many benefits that IoT services and capabilities bring is the ability to aggregate data from multiple sources – bringing it together to deliver a consolidated record. This is hardly new, as we noted, but it’s becoming more relevant, as different sectors seek to leverage the potential this offers for enhancing business performance.
Evidence for this comes from multiple sources – for example, analyst company IoT Analytics recently updated its Global IoT Enterprise Spending Dashboard, and revealed that:
“The enterprise IoT market grew 22.4% to $157.9 billion in 2021”.
“North America was the fastest-growing region in 2021 (+24.1%), and process manufacturing was the fastest-growing segment (+25%)”.
All of which reinforces the view that IoT is now being widely integrated into corporate operational practices and processes, and that it’s starting to become differentiated according to sectors.
And it’s also aligned with other growth trends – including big data analytics. Put simply, the more data you can collect and process, the more insights you can derive – and so you can make better informed decisions, based on objective facts about your business. IoT, which enables the collection of data from remote locations and multiple facilities is a key driver in unlocking the potential of big data in general and, specifically, for driving operational KPIs.
Of course, there are some misunderstandings about IoT in general. We don’t have space to address these here, but let’s focus on one in particular. Cellular IoT has attracted huge attention – here, remote devices are equipped with SIM cards, so they essentially connect to cellular networks and use these to send and receive data. Consequently, IoT has, in the minds of many, become inextricably linked to cellular networks.
Sure, these are increasingly important, but IoT applications and services simply depend on any kind of remote connection – which can be as simple as a LAN connection to the local network. You just need a means to enable data to be sent and received; the medium is not the message here. Cellular networks are just one option among many – yes, future connections are likely to shift to these networks, but we’ve been doing this via different media for many years.
With that in mind, let’s turn to a few characteristics of our IoT offers. Sensors monitor the temperature within a building so that the heating or air-conditioning can be altered when necessary. The sensors use wireless, cellular or fixed networks to share the data they gather into our building/energy management system. Freedom enables enterprises to increase their operating efficiencies while reducing energy consumption.
Freedom acts as the IoT hub and has a number of roles. It:
The use of IoT is key to the effectiveness of Freedom, just as it is increasingly so for many other kinds of remote data collection and for different sectors. In fact, we’ve been doing this for years – and are continually investing in further enhancements.
As we expand our capabilities into managing the energy consumption of facilities, including lighting, HVAC and other devices that use electricity, our use of IoT sensors to gather meaningful and relevant data will continue.
To start the conversation about how you can reduce energy consumption, and do your bit to slow down energy waste, please send a message to:
If you’d like to read our white paper Facts Every Energy Manager Needs to Know or the case study about how DrivePak has helped one of our customers to achieve 26% Energy Reduction with 47% ROI, then please also send an email to