Everything is coming online in the now economy – even windmills. Currently, 15 billion devices, from windmills to brainwave monitors, are connected to the internet, and this already-impressive total is expected to at least triple in the next 5 years. As a result, companies have been seeking simple yet effective ways to make use of the massive amounts of data from these connected devices.

Until recently, connected windmills might have seemed like something to tilt at – mirroring Don Quixote’s fear of the long-armed “giants,” companies may have felt some anxiety about how they could make use of data from connected devices. Fortunately, Salesforce has now turned connected devices into realistic business opportunities with the Salesforce IoT Cloud.

It’s time to connect with anything

Built on the flexible Salesforce platform, the Salesforce IoT Cloud enables companies to connect with data from any device, sensor, website, or Salesforce interaction; empowers people to decide what data is most significant; and can use that information to tailor customer interactions. The IoT Cloud is made possible in part by a new data processing technology called Thunder that leverages the power of Heroku to analyze large amounts of data at scale – a critical component of working with huge numbers of connected devices.

The Salesforce IoT Cloud enables many companies to enter the IoT, and manage the data to inform decisions that will ultimately craft a better customer experience. Yet as more and more devices continue to come online, managing the big data of the IoT is only half the story. Before you can manage the data, you need an easy way to connect these new devices to the IoT Cloud, quickly. That’s where digital connectivity platforms and API management can come in. By providing fast, simple connections between the Salesforce IoT Cloud and the billions of new devices, sensors, and websites coming in the IoT, a connectivity platform helps take the IoT to the next level.

Making connections a reality

Anyone who attended Dreamforce got to see the IoT in action at the Salesforce Connected Product Showcase, where Jitterbit powered a connected windmill (pictured right). When the windmill experienced an operational issue such as the engine overheating, it instantly sent a signal back to Salesforce using a realtime API powered by the Jitterbit platform. This allowed Salesforce to automatically dispatch a technician to inspect and fix the windmill.

It’s easy to see how this connected device is vastly more useful than a windmill that just breaks without alerting anyone. Now, imagine this technology applied all over a wind farm with nearly 5000 windmills, like Altamont Pass Wind Farm east of San Francisco. You can see how quickly it pays off to connect to Salesforce to monitor, manage, and improve performance of each device – especially as devices multiply.

Jitterbit has been working with the IoT for over a year. In addition to wiring windmills, Jitterbit customer Club Auto, Canada’s version of AAA, succeed in the IoT arena by connecting smart vehicles directly to Salesforce. Using Jitterbit and Salesforce, Club Auto can automatically identify and diagnose roadside issues, dispatch roadside assistance to members, and show members how far away help is in real time on a map on their smartphone or Apple Watch. With this connection, Club Auto is seeking to be the “Uber of roadside assistance.” This reduces the fear and uncertainty inherent in a breakdown and helps Club Auto members get real value out of their membership, while also giving Club Auto partner technicians a head start in diagnosing and resolving issues using data directly from the vehicle itself.

We were thrilled when Salesforce asked us to power the Dreamforce IoT windmill, and it’s been even more exciting to help our customers achieve similar connected experiences in the real world. APIs are the key to the success of connected devices, and the ability to quickly create and manage these APIs without the need for code is what will make the Salesforce IoT Cloud achieve thunderous results.

Salesforce and partners are now well positioned to connect devices that will feed more data into the IoT Cloud. And the more information that comes into the cloud, the better decisions that Salesforce users can make, and the more successful customers can become.

Next steps for the IoT

Salesforce IoT Cloud is a key that has unlocked the door to the Internet of Things for thousands of companies. Organizations can now stop tilting at windmills, and start connecting them. IoT Cloud now provides a solid foundation for a future of success in the IoT, but there is still a lot to learn about the best ways to leverage data from connected devices, and a lot of devices to experiment with connecting.

In the words of Don Quixote, “Thou hast seen nothing yet.” We’re excited for our next IoT adventure, and appreciate Salesforce’s leadership in helping make it possible.

Learn more about how Salesforce IoT Cloud connects to your customers with this blog post.