The Internet of Things (IoT) is slowly becoming a buzzword that the majority of enterprises are aware of but don't know how to act on. However, the data the IoT can provide is not only all encompassing, but also potentially valuable.

Therefore, working the IoT into wider enterprise infrastructure should be a priority for the majority of progressive, tech-driven businesses. 

"[Enterprises should attempt to establish a] business competency centre that explores how the IoT can create innovative breakthroughs for the organisation's business models, products and services through rapid experimentation," explained Mike Walker, a research director with Gartner.

Adapt from 'thing' to composition

The IoT as an entity is too large to be of value in its own right. The billions of connected devices out there provide a swarm of data, with much of it ultimately having limited enterprise use.

However, businesses should adopt the mentality of learning how specific groups of data can help them, rather than focus on all of the 'things' that provide feedback.

For example, grouping together data collected by location or demographic is highly valuable, and can be poured back into the enterprise's strategic planning and business model.

Specific insights

The IoT holds the power to show companies when and where they are performing well, but the information needs to be understood specifically, rather than just looking at everything and hoping to gain insight on a broad scale.

Furthermore, as Mr Walker points out, the shear amount of data being collected can present legal, regulatory and reputational issues that need to be proactively addressed. This is a further example of why it's important to drill down into insights, rather than adopt a scattergun approach and apply information across the enterprise without investigation or experimentation.

The real-world value of all of the data within the IoT cannot be underplayed. In fact, research from Cisco explained that it will create a staggering US$14.4 trillion in value for enterprises between now and 2022.

Businesses should assess how the IoT can be used to enhance their understanding of themselves and their customers, while bearing in mind that detailed insights are likely to produce the best results going forward.