IoT integration: here’s everything you need to know

IoT integration guide

The number of connected IoT devices is projected to nearly double within the next 7 years.

This explosive growth is sure to influence how organizations operate in all kinds of ways, whether it’s related to security, risk management, customer service, and so on. And while the applications of the internet of things are seemingly endless, organizations should prioritize how they leverage it.

To that end, organizations should look to implement IoT integrations. 

We’ll explain why that’s the case and how you can implement IoT integration by walking through some examples. But to start, let’s align on the definitions of both IoT and IoT integration.

What is IoT?

It’s either a sensor that monitors its environment and sends data or a physical object that performs an action based on a certain event taking place. Regardless of whether data is received or sent, it’s communicated over the internet.

What is IoT integration?

It’s the process of connecting sensors and objects with one another and with your applications and databases. Once connected, you can implement end-to-end automations that help you make full use of your equipment.

Related: The definition of business process integration

Examples of IoT integration

Let’s bring this definition to life by walking through some examples.

1. Prevent windmills from overheating

Left unattended, a windmill’s generator can overheat and, eventually, explode and cause fires.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, you can use sensors inside a windmill that monitor the generator and send temperature readings once per second to an IoT hub, or a computer that resides close to the windmills. The computer consolidates the data and then streams it to a consolidated data store (or a time-series database). That data is then added to an analytics or BI tool, where employees can run queries, uncover insights, and monitor the temperatures of the windmills’ generators.

Since relying on people to monitor and analyze the windmills’ temperatures at all hours is expensive, difficult, and unpleasant, you can lean on automation for support. For example, you can build an automation where if a generator were to reach a certain temperature, an IoT switch would temporarily turn it off.

An image of an IoT switch turning off an overheated windmill

Related: 3 chatbot automation examples

2. Replace oil pumps proactively 

Oil companies should identify when certain pumps need to be replaced well before they’re unfit for use. Otherwise, these organizations could be dealing with unused oil wells for extended periods of time.

To help oil companies identify the ones that are reaching their expiration, they can put sensors in the pumps that monitor certain health signals, such as the speed at which a pump is rotating. 

Once these signals reveal that a pump is near the end of its use, you can trigger an automation where a work order is automatically created for replacing it. 

An image of a new work order getting created for an oil pump that is nearing the end of its use

3. Identify failing POS devices 

Similar to our previous example, organizations that manufacture and sell point-of-sale, or POS, devices (e.g. Toast) can use sensors to determine when a device needs to be replaced. Only in this case, they’d make the judgment based on the increasing number of times that a credit card needs to be swiped in order to process a sale.

Once the error rate reaches a certain threshold, you can trigger an automation that creates an order for a POS device and initiates other steps for shipping out the device to that business. In addition, along with the device, you can include a note that explains why your client is receiving a replacement. 

An image of an order for a POS device to replace one that's no longer working well

Note: While the three examples above are powerful IoT integration use cases, an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) solution is better at handling the last two. Reason being, an iPaaS solution isn’t well-suited to stream high volumes of data, but it can trigger and streamline workflows across your applications effectively.

Related: 5 application integration use cases

Benefits of IoT integration

Here are just some of the benefits of implementing IoT integration:

Lower costs

By using sensors to monitor equipment, you can manage the equipment in ways that maximize uptime and prevent under-performance. 

For instance, in our oil pump example, IoT integration can save you from not being able to pump oil from an oil well for several days; instead, you’re able to replace pumps proactively, which might take just a few hours. This difference, when applied across all the wells your organization uses, can amount to millions of dollars in cost savings per year.

Related: The top benefits of intelligent automation

Reduce risks

IoT integration can help your team identify potential risks in real-time and move swiftly in minimizing them. 

Our windmill use case exemplifies the risk that exists without IoT integration: overheated generators can cause fires that not only lead the windmills and the surrounding equipment to burn down but can also harm your employees.

Delight clients

Using IoT integration, your team can deliver unexpected experiences that satisfy clients and ensure they keep using your equipment effectively.

Our use case around replacing POS devices proves this point: giving clients a new POS device before they even need it shows how committed you are to supporting their business and ensuring they get full use out of your product.

Enable employees

Forcing your team to constantly monitor data and decide on the actions they take from it can be extremely time-intensive. Moreover, your employees are forced to spend less time on the business-critical, strategic work they likely enjoy more and are better suited to perform.

IoT integration can take some of the load off your employees, as it lets you build trigger-based automations that work off of sensor data and that only call for human intervention when necessary (e.g., mailing out a POS device to a client).

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Ready to implement IoT integrations?

Workato, the leader in enterprise automation, lets you implement end-to-end automations that work across your IoT devices, applications, and databases. 

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About the author
Jon Gitlin Content Strategist @ Workato
Jon Gitlin is the Managing Editor of The Connector, where you can get the latest news on Workato and uncover tips, examples, and frameworks for implementing powerful integrations and automations. In his free time, he loves to run outside, watch soccer ( matches, and explore local restaurants.