The real value of IoT applications is much bigger than connected gadgets and smart refrigerators. In many cases, IoT applications are helping companies increase efficiencies, drive down costs, and drive major revenue growth.

But while your mind may go to typical IoT use cases like asset tracking, industrial automation, or IoT in agriculture, I bet you haven’t thought of tracking a rhinoceros. Take a look at that use case and six other IoT examples below.

7 Effective IoT Use Cases (I Bet You Didn't Expect)

1. Inmate Monitoring

Private prison and jail operators are typically reimbursed for inmates who attend rehabilitation programs like GED courses or continuing education. But ensuring that sign-in sheets aren’t being manipulated or altered in any way can be difficult. Using an RFID tracking device (like Airfinder) on inmates allows for more auditable and concrete data to be gathered.

RFID tracking also adds an additional layer of accountability regarding the location of inmates at any given time, including how much time they’re spending inside, outside, at meals, etc. Personnel tracking can often be problematic because of privacy concerns—but in prisons, it’s less of an issue.

2. Rhino Tracking

In South Africa, Symphony Link is being used to track rhinos on game preserves. The game wardens drill a bore into the rhino's horn and insert a GPS-based tracking device, which sends location information wirelessly to a gateway. This allows the game wardens to know where all the rhinos are at all times. If one strays too close to the edge of the preserve—where poaching is more likely—they can dispatch personnel to monitor the rhino in question more closely.

3. First Responder System

If first responders like firefighters, EMS, or police are dispatched to a situation or area where their normal hand-held radios aren’t effective—say, a subway tunnel—IoT devices can help them send short messages to one another. This adds an additional level of safety and security.

4. School Safety System

School safety is an important topic—and the Internet of Things is revolutionizing the possibilities. Recently, Stanley Mechanical Solutions unveiled its Shelter system, which is built in partnership with Link Labs on Semtech’s LoRa™ protocol. It allows teachers and administrators to lock doors around a school with the click of a button. This action also alerts law enforcement. You can read more about the Shelter system in the Wall Street Journal.

5. Municipal Traffic Flow Monitoring

Some municipalities have put IoT applications to work in helping them understand where new parking structures are needed. This is done by looking for the same car (via the driver’s or passenger’s phone Bluetooth advertisement signal) to drive by a certain point multiple times, indicating that they cannot find a parking spot.

6. Skier & Snowboarder Tracking

The IoT has hit the slopes at many ski resorts around the nation. Skier tracking isn’t just used for internal resort metrics—it’s also upsold to skiers who want an added layer of safety or the ability to track their family across the resort.

7. Customer Satisfaction Monitoring 

Have you ever seen a small box sitting near a check-in counter at an airport asking you to rate your experience? It may have three simple buttons you can press: “Great,” “OK,” or “Bad.” Here, the IoT is being used to capture this point-of-use customer sentiment. If more people are going out of their way to press the “bad” button on one shift than another, the airline may want to investigate further.

What other unique and effective IoT use cases or examples have you seen recently? Comment below or tweet us @LinkLabsInc.

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Jennifer Halstead

Written by Jennifer Halstead

Jennifer Halstead, MBA, CPA brings more than 20 years financial industry experience to Link Labs. She began her career in finance within the pharmaceutical industry and has continued in both public accounting and private companies. She passed the CPA exam with the 3rd highest score in the state and completed her MBA with an accounting concentration (summa cum laude). Jennifer has worked with several software companies and has led multiple venture financing, merger and acquisitions deals. She has helped companies expand internationally and has managed the finance department of a startup to 33 consecutive quarters of growth prior to acquisition. After the acquisition, she served as the Controller of Dell Software Group’s Data Protection Division where she managed a portfolio of multiple hardware and software products to scale and achieve over triple-digit growth worldwide in 18 months. Jennifer brings a depth of finance experience to the Link Labs team.

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