No shirt, no shoes, no data?

February 2, 2017

The Internet of Things is creating a world where sensors are grabbing data at every turn. From your shoes to your car to your refrigerator… data is being collected on your habits and routines. In the coming years, billions of devices will come online raising a big question—who owns that data?

As a product manufacturer, you can gather a lot of information about how and where your products are being used, and proactively send technicians to fix issues when sensors identify a problem. This data is a gold mine—and many others companies are interested in what this data has to say.

Imagine that your shoe company creates a new pair of running shoes that contain online sensors. The data it collects could have enormous benefits for everyone involved:

  • You as the manufacturer can see how the product is used to target new features in upcoming model releases, and even calculate the amount of time before the average user will be looking for another pair.
  • The end-user syncs the shoes with an online fitness application, tracking data on his workout routines and number of steps.
  • The fitness application company now has the shoe owner’s details, and can specify targeted advertisements to the user based on fitness routines.
  • To receive a health care discount, the shoe owner ties the fitness application to his health insurance premiums. The insurance company can now see how often the person is working out, and how many times they’ve walked to the local fast-food restaurant.

There are countless entities that can benefit from the data being gathered. That’s also why it’s critical to follow certain best practices when it comes to utilizing these sensors to gather information.

Understand what data is being collected

As an end-user, it’s always important to read the contract details on any systems that are collecting your data. While it may be as exciting as watching paint dry, you need to understand what is being collected and if you can get to your data if necessary. As more and more companies are migrating internal applications to the cloud, it’s important to review your service contracts to ensure that you can get to your data, ensure its accuracy and receive it via download should you decide to switch application services. 

Security is critical, especially when thinking about how pieces of the data could be used together. If a hacker could find out my address and that my running shoes are actually sitting down at a pizza buffet 10 miles from my house, there’s a good chance I could be the victim of a burglary.

Data must be protected

Determine what data your products are going to collect, how to communicate this to customers, and what can be shared with partners while also ensuring personal and identifiable information won’t be leaked without permission. It’s also possible to aggregate the data so that trends can be identified while allowing specific users to remain anonymous.

Determining the right information to track is critical. You may already be sitting on a mountain of production and financial data, and throwing in product usage information is going to make decisions even harder. Make sure you’ve thought through your company’s information dashboard to cut through the noise of big data and provide you with analytics that mean the most to you and your company.

Need help cutting through the noise of your mountains of data? Contact us at 800-236-2246 for more information!