Connecting things to the internet has become somewhat blasé. Everything from your lightbulb to your garage door opener, coffeemaker, and water filter is online these days. Simply being connected is no longer enough — what matters is how these devices communicate with each other.

Gathering and analyzing useful insights from this massive flood of data is essential to the survival of your business. Stream syndication allows IoT data to be segmented out and resold via subscriptions. If you have access to cash register data at various retail locations, for example, you could give some of that information to teams that repair the devices to help spur proactive maintenance. You could also syndicate data to discern how much register tape has been used so suppliers can send a new shipment before a store runs out.

Smart cities with the right infrastructure can enable access to data through paid subscriptions, allowing businesses operating within their boundaries to gain unique insights. These businesses would have access to traffic patterns, crime reports, bus and train schedules, or any amount of useful municipal data that might help them run more efficiently.

Of course, that stockpile of data is useless if you don’t understand how to use it.

The Importance of Syndicated Data

Data security is vital in the modern age of hackers and cyberattacks. Businesses must protect their data streams to avoid losing customers, or worse, their entire businesses. This is particularly important for IoT data, which security experts agree will be a major target of malware attacks in 2017. Provisioning and syndicating data can provide that increased level of security.

By provisioning data, you’re able to grant and revoke access at a fine-grained level to individual subscribers, segmenting permissions by channel, user, or use group. Each device is assigned a token that lets you grant individual access rights. It also allows you to dig deeper into streaming data to categorize it and provide valuable insight.

Imagine how many hubs and connected devices exist in the modern person’s home, much less a large-scale smart city deployment. By segmenting and syndicating data, you can look through thousands of connected devices to directly see data streamed from your business’s connected lighting systems to determine which features and functionality are vital for the business to pursue.

Retailers are similarly able to harness this power to understand how their employees and customers think. IoT analytics can track customer behavior, streamline marketing, optimize supply chain efficiency, and provide deep analytics into competitors.

This real-time monitoring and execution of functions truly leverages the power of IoT data. Business can cut costs in operations an maintain system resources, as well as gain a much better sense of control over the data streamed and processed through the network. Data analytics are the key to making decisions based on cold facts instead of stumbling around in the dark.

Implementing Syndicated Data in Your Business

This abundance of information is all well and good, but deciphering it and actually implementing it to help your own bottom line are completely different things. By understanding how this information can — and cannot — help your business, you should be able to find ways to realistically provide a return on investment. These four strategies should help get you there:

1. Avoid dumb smart products. Anyone can connect something to the internet and call it “smart.” If getting online was a sign of true intelligence, our kids would be performing brain surgery considering the amount of time they spend on Snapchat and YouTube. Don’t connect devices to the internet and call it a day — find places where real-time IoT data makes your application more valuable to the actual intent of the product.

IoT data streams make devices truly “smart,” and integrating them into automated systems like IFTTT and hubs like Amazon Echo, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, etc., allows them to trigger actions based on real-world actions. Imagine your smart lightbulb knows to turn itself on — at your preferred color and intensity, naturally — based on your weight leaving your smart bed, and your smart coffeemaker has a pot brewed by the time you saunter into the kitchen. Now we’re talking.

2. Work with other players. The scenario above is nice, but you’re unlikely to sell someone the bulb, bed, and coffee maker required. There are a ton of pieces involved in IoT applications, and your product can’t be smart on its own. Use other services to empower those IoT streams to provide even more value. Numerous services and APIs are available to process data streams for any number of situations.

Monitoring services make data aggregation and visualization much more accessible for your live dashboards and charts. They also empower operations teams to monitor activity, sending real-time notifications to the necessary response parties if certain thresholds are met. Work with other IoT services to ensure you’re getting and providing the most value.

3. Divide and conquer. I briefly mentioned the importance of data provisioning earlier, but I’d like to reiterate how critical it is for the success of any organization. Heavy provisioning can ensure your IoT streams are more secure and controlled, similar to a MAC filter on your Wi-Fi router.

When it comes to syndicated data stream, costs can quickly escalate if you’re paying for access you don’t need. Be sure to start small and continue adding streams as the need grows. Data provisioning will only become more important as time passes, so get started on this today.

4. Always be monetizing. We once went by the motto of “always be selling,” but it’s a rather outdated concept these days. Instead, look for ways to monetize the data streams you already have access to. There could be a startup right now that would love nothing more than to sift through the gold mine of data you’re sitting on to help inform its own product or service. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and you’d be wise to remember that.

While the Internet of Things and big data can quickly become overwhelming, take solace in knowing you don’t need to understand exactly how everything works and interacts. You’re still completely free to build the world’s greatest smart recliner without first worrying about how to interface with every other smart home device under the sun. Know your niche, and the rest will follow.

Similarly, you don’t need to be an expert on big data to recognize the value the information you’re already collecting might have to third parties. Protect that data diligently, and learn to harness its power if you want to survive to fight another day.

Ready to jump into IoT yourself? Check out our webinar “Decoding the Internet of Things,” where we discuss the required technologies to get your IoT dream off the ground. Watch it on-demand here.