How the IoT Will Help Improve Workflow Automation
Most of us have heard of the “internet of things,” or IoT. The high-level view is that the IoT is made up of billions of physical devices throughout the world that are connected to the internet and that collect and share data.
Elements of the IoT range from coffee makers to airplane parts, and the result is a gradual merging of the digital world with the physical world. “Smart” thermostats in homes are an early example of IoT elements, and today there are even children’s toys that can be considered IoT devices.
Their potential lies in taking care of tasks that humans would otherwise have to do. For example, your smart thermostat at home “knows” that everyone leaves the house by 8 a.m., so the thermostat can be adjusted at that time to minimize the use of the heating and AC system while the house is empty. Likewise, it “knows” that the kids get home from school at 3:30, and gets the temperature to the correct setting before that time. Think of the many ways the IoT could improve automated workflows!
Smart Sensors and Workflow Triggers
Suppose your workplace has a server room that must be tightly temperature controlled. People may go in and out of it on occasion, but usually, no one is in there. Suppose the temperature in the room goes out of the optimal range, and it’s hours before someone goes into the server room, realizes it’s way too warm and notifies building maintenance. Damage could have already been done by that time.
By contrast, a smart sensor in the server room could closely monitor the temperature and when it goes out of range, the sensor could trigger an automated workflow that immediately notifies maintenance, so someone can be sent to check out the issue before it escalates.
No, You Don’t Need Robots
The IoT doesn’t necessarily have to do with robotic automation, though eventually that may be a bigger factor in automated workflows. Right now – today – IoT elements can be put to work triggering workflows when necessary so that people’s time is used optimally. A smart GPS unit in a fleet vehicle can, for instance, monitor mileage and automatically schedule the vehicle for maintenance without the driver or fleet manager having to regularly check vehicle mileage. The potential is great for a reduction in human error!
Integration Is the Main Challenge
Automated workflows have been around a long time, and currently, the main challenge for putting the IoT to work in these workflows is integrating IoT elements with workflow software. Rest assured, however, that these challenges are being addressed, so companies like yours can make automated workflows that are as sleek and efficient as possible.
The ultimate result will be that your greatest asset – your people – will be freed up from more routine, repetitive, or administrative work so they can put their energy toward core business goals and do what they do best, whether that’s engineering, designing graphics, teaching children, or processing insurance claims.
PerfectForms is workflow software that has helped automate workflows for businesses of all sizes, all around the world. With its user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface, PerfectForms allows workflow users to create the exact workflows they need without having to bring in programmers. If you’re interested in automating workflows and freeing your people up to focus on more important core business activities, we invite you to check out some of our many case studies.