Can the IoT eliminate human error?

Human error is the primary reason behind data and security breaches, as well as mistakes in the manufacturing and healthcare industries. Cyber Security Trend cited a 2016 report by JBBakerHostetler, which discussed human error as the leading cause of security incidents at 37%, followed by phishing/malware at 25%, and external theft of a device at 22%. In fact, an estimated $62.4 million a year is said to go down the drain because of human error.

Hacking is also partly brought about by human error. General infrastructure mistakes by using flimsy security measures, such as using unsecure passwords for online accounts, can easily be exploited by hackers to steal private data.

Somewhat ironically, some are now pegging the Internet of Things (IoT) as the solution to eliminate or at least minimize the chances of human error.

DZone explains that algorithms can be used to automatically handle many of the tasks previously performed by humans, who are more likely to commit errors as opposed to machines. For instance, exhaustion can lead to human employees committing all sorts of mistakes, including typographical errors and inputting data incorrectly, issues that can be eliminated through automation. Proper programming and coding can prevent these mistakes from happening repeatedly, for the simple reason that machines do not get tired and are not prone to carelessness. Provided that they are programmed properly, software can do the work seamlessly and (more importantly) consistently.

graphic for blog postSupply Chain Quarterly states that the Internet of Things is able to capture data to provide to the supply chain and affiliated logistics managers the information they need to optimize their systems and processes. Information Age added that the constant increase of the number of people connected to the Internet compels companies to improve their cybersecurity to prevent hackers from breaking into their system. This is in line with Sven Schrecker’s Smart Industry blog post, where he stated that security is one of the characteristics that ensures the trustworthiness of the IoT.

In instances where the IoT cannot mitigate human error, it can be used to monitor operations to enable people to supervise instances where mistakes could happen. An example of this is the Fleetmatics LogBook app that provides real-time logs for drivers in line with the recent ELD mandate in the United States. This app enables vehicle owners or operational staff to monitor each vehicle in their fleet, including identifying possible system errors, so that they can be duly corrected. While the technology may not prevent accidents from happening, it can provide mechanics information on why the accident happened, so they can make corrections to reduce the likelihood of repeated mishaps.  

That being said, while technology can minimize human error, human input cannot be totally eliminated from the picture. In fact, Harvard Business Review argues that people can actually make the IoT smarter. Humans can translate generated data to create efficient processes, and to make informed decisions. For instance, ambulance staff can decipher traffic-related information to give the drivers the best route to get to an emergency patient.

The bottom line is the IoT—and technology in general—is a handy tool that can be used to improve systems and processes. However, the end users continue to be human beings who have the ultimate power to make use of these tools to maximize opportunities.

From TechReports with JB