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Why video surveillance is the perfect launching point for an IoT strategy

Data generated from IoT devices and sensors is exploding, and as we continue to find new ways to connect and use these devices, IT will need different ways to use data to derive value for their organizations.

These IoT sensors are in everything from our smartphones and computers to our washing machines, generating valuable information on customers and use cases. Smart companies are beginning to realize the value of this data, using it to improve their products and internal efficiencies through process and technology optimization.

Companies that develop an IoT strategy are in a better position to directly influence their bottom line because they’re analyzing their data systematically and using it to drive revenue. Yet, many CIOs from these companies feel that an IoT strategy is difficult to develop and implement as they think it will require expensive and complex purchases. In reality, many CIOs can build out an IoT strategy starting with something they likely already have in place: their video surveillance system.

Use video surveillance to drive your IoT strategy

Even companies with an existing video surveillance system don’t think about using it to drive an IoT strategy because they either assume it is too complex or costly, or they think their video surveillance system is merely for safety or compliance. On the contrary, video surveillance is a powerful asset that can deliver more business intelligence and financial returns, which is why CIOs and technology leaders with these systems in place should be considering it as the starting point for their IoT strategy.

Video surveillance creates large volumes of rich data that can be analyzed to deliver value. And using a system already in place saves time, effort and money, and it encourages team participation and ownership in the endeavor because of their familiarity with the system. Companies can use the data generated by video surveillance to uncover insights into employee or customer behavior, revise internal processes or optimize their tech stack performance.

Here are a few real-world scenarios that use video surveillance as the foundation for an IoT strategy.

  • Transit systems: By using video to monitor passenger flow and crowds, transit systems can improve efficiency, lower costs, increase public safety and get travelers where they want to go faster.
  • Retail: Retail centers use video surveillance to drive several objectives, including driving traffic to stores, keeping the customer happy and insulating themselves from lawsuits. Imagine a shopping mall sending targeted coupons through its Wi-Fi to shoppers based on their location within the shopping center. The coupon appears automatically on the customers’ smartphones, increasing traffic to — and sales for — the store while also delighting the customer.
  • Sports stadiums: In a similar vein, many stadiums are beginning to use existing video and sensor infrastructure and Wi-Fi to target fans with promotions based on their location or the time of the game, helping to deliver an extraordinary fan experience and drive revenue with vendors and ticket sales.
  • Parking garages: Combine video surveillance with a license plate recognition system to ensure that only an office building’s tenants are parking in the lot and are not using more than their allotment of spots. Building management can then notify tenants who are using more or less than their allotment and adjust rates automatically.

Three steps to an IoT strategy that deepens insight and drives value

Here are three steps that will help CIOs build an IoT strategy that benefits their businesses:

  1. Keep it simple. Don’t be too ambitious. It can be easy to overthink your IoT strategy and start analyzing everything at once; instead, start with a single device, define a specific goal and determine the data you need to analyze. Once you achieve that goal, move on to another goal and another piece of data, and so on. This can help organizations get into the “IoT mindset,” which makes it easier to move to the next step. For example, a smart city could focus first on improving crosswalks, with the goal of reducing pedestrian road traffic or pedestrian vehicle collisions.
  2. Think about infrastructure in modules, not as a whole. Right now, it’s impossible to know the IoT projects you’ll face over the next three, five or 10 years. Your infrastructure needs to be easy, simple and modular. This removes the pressure to suddenly deploy an overwhelming number of IoT use cases to justify the cost of a large, expensive infrastructure. The point of an IoT strategy is to derive value from data, which will not happen if your first project is overly complex. Define a target, design it using a modular infrastructure and build on it as you grow and evolve.
  3. Use video surveillance as your foundation. The video surveillance system is already in place and generates a lot of data that can be used to uncover meaningful insights for the organization. It’s the perfect data set, with endless possibility for providing greater intelligence to the organization.

Organizations may think they’re not ready to develop an IoT strategy, but they’re more prepared than they think. An IoT strategy can start with a single project and a single goal, which can unlock many different insights that drive the bottom line. Start simple, take short, logical steps and let your strategy grow organically with your organization.

Beginning with a single system can help IT deliver more value to customers and their own organizations. By tapping into their video surveillance system and making it “smarter,” these companies will have a scalable IoT strategy to support more complex and robust IoT projects in the future.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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