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How the IoT is changing the world with the help of remote access

RealVNC® Ltd | 20 Sep 2018

IoT factory-1

The Internet of Things (IoT) has arrived, and in the next decade it will revolutionize the world we live in.

The IoT consists of a huge range of devices linked to the internet, returning real time data for diagnostics, maintenance, and planning. These can be cameras, industrial sensors, home appliances, cars, and many other tools.

However, the proliferation of these devices presents challenges for the organizations in areas like maintenance and security. Some of these challenges are of logistical nature. Remote access can help addressing these problems in a number of ways, which we'll discuss in this blog post.

The IoT promises to bring benefits in many areas of commerce and in society as a whole. For example:

  • Smart buildings—enabling smarter energy consumption and optimal facilities planning.
  • Smart agriculture—enabling remote farming and in-situ support.
  • Smart factories—reducing downtime and streamlining interactions between suppliers and customers.
  • Smart business—better tracking of customer flows and greater advertising effectiveness.
  • Smart cities—improved utility and traffic management systems and environmental monitoring.

We’ll see later in this post how a professional remote access solution can help in each of the above scenarios. One consideration that affects them all, however, is security:  without a highly secure remote access solution and defined procedures, your software could expose your IoT devices to even more risk.

The news show us that major hacks, such as the one that hit British Airways, are almost a weekly occurrence. Businesses face major security problems, ranging from external hackers to internal theft and data breaches. To counter these threats, billions of dollars are spent every year deploying technology to reduce risks.

Gartner estimated that over $85 billion was spent on IT security products in 2017 and many experts expect double-digit market growth through 2025. With the current proliferation of IoT devices throughout the world, the importance and cost of security is only likely to grow.

This is how remote access will enable the IoT revolution in the five areas we just mentioned:

1) Smart buildings

Buildings equipped with IoT devices promise smarter monitoring of data such as energy consumption, water usage, environmental statistics, and infrastructure failures. With numerous IoT devices installed throughout a building, sometimes in hard-to-reach locations, a good remote access solution is essential for monitoring and managing the ‘health’ of the building and its occupants.

The ability to connect remotely to a device from anywhere allows you to monitor what is happening in real time and resolve any issues quickly. It also allows you to perform maintenance such as software or firmware upgrades without the need to physically access the devices.

2) Smart agriculture

IoT devices such as sensors are being used in agriculture to monitor soil moisture and nutrient levels, the health of livestock, control the irrigation of crops and the application of fertilizer, and even remotely operate farm machinery. By using remote access, farmers can regularly retrieve the data about their crops and livestock and use it to make decisions that will increase their yields and their profits.

A reputable remote access solution allows workers to perform many of their technical duties remotely, like regular system maintenance, or controlling machinery. When travel is necessary, remote access is a helpful technology that allows off-site employees to stay connected regardless of their physical location, minimizing disruptions, and improving working efficiency.

3) Smart factories

When it comes to maintaining remote computer systems that operate, for example, industrial machinery, you can’t always avoid an on-site service call. However, in some cases it is much more efficient to perform certain maintenance duties remotely, such as monitoring system status, troubleshooting problems, and upgrading software.

Over the years we have seen how companies use remote access software to support distributed computer systems and devices to minimize the time spent on the road between locations and reduce any associated service disruption. This is likely to become even more widespread as the number of smart devices in the workplace increases.

The ability to perform maintenance remotely translates to more efficient customer service, lower maintenance costs, and, most importantly, increased production uptime.

4) Smart business

In the modern world of ‘just in time’ delivery, IoT devices embedded throughout the supply chain can allow consignments of goods to be tracked in real time from supermarket warehouse to shop and from shop to customer, using remote access software. This enables companies to manage all stages of the supply chain and identify and respond to any problems before they can affect the business.

In the retail sector, IoT technology has a role to play in analyzing real time sales of goods, monitoring changes and trends to allow a company to respond more flexibly to rapidly changing demand and tight deadlines.

Remote access to IoT data across multiple retail outlets allows you to build a comprehensive picture of retail activity locally, nationally, or even globally. This information can also be used to assess the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. Changes in consumer behavior and sales can be potentially traced to specific campaigns, leading to more targeted and effective use of advertising budgets. Data accessed remotely across multiple sites can be used for more accurate long-term planning, improving efficiency in all areas of the business

5) Smart cities

The IoT promises to revolutionize life in the modern city with smart utility services using sensors to monitor the flow of energy across the grid, from the power station to consumers.

Remote devices that can enable these advances include communication infrastructure to monitor substation and transmission equipment. By using remote access software to access these devices, utility companies can fine-tune the performance of the energy grid, prevent outages and help restore power quickly if they happen. They can also allow customers to manage their energy usage, even down to the level of individual networked devices.

Other smart city applications include public safety and traffic management, intelligent lighting, and water treatment services. In the smart city, remote access solutions have a role to play in monitoring and maintaining all these systems. Having round-the-clock remote access to information from sensors and cameras can help to reduce traffic congestion, optimize transport networks, and maintain the availability of utilities throughout the city.

And speaking of traffic, remote access also allows employees to work from home on a regular basis, without any loss of productivity. The growing trend for remote working promises to reduce the number of people commuting into towns and cities each day, easing traffic congestion and public transport overcrowding, and reducing pollution.

These are just some of the ways in which remote access can work alongside the IoT to allow the monitoring of smart devices. As more and more of these devices become connected to the internet, the ability to manage them remotely will become increasingly important. Choosing a reputable remote access solution is essential to ensure secure and uninterrupted access to these devices and the valuable data that they deliver.


 4 pillars of remote access


RealVNC® Ltd

Written by RealVNC® Ltd