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6 Major Ways Business IoT is Changing Our World

When computers were born, they could only know and do things that we told them. They were basically brains without sense. However, this limitation was overcome in the twenty-first century, when the Internet of Things (IoT) began sensing or inputting data without human interaction.

It was quickly apparent that companies in all fields were benefiting from this new business IoT, and would continue to do so. Business IoT devices have and will continue to save time and money for our business and personal lives.

Perhaps Kevin Ashton said it best,

If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things - using data they gathered without any help from us - we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss, and cost. We would know when things need replacing, repairing, or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best.”

There are expected to be over 25 billion devices connected by the end of 2021 and over 50 billion devices by the end of 2030.

Here are 6 areas where IoT will continue to change our world in 2021 and beyond…

1. Manufacturing

Most businesses are familiar with IoT. It is simply the networking of devices. However, IIoT or Industrial IoT is related to businesses instead of consumers. Industrial IOT (IIOT) focuses on the manufacturing industry. The term IIoT comes from two basic technologies, traditional IoT and Industry 4.0.

What is Industry 4.0?

There have been three basic industrial revolutions. The first was the steam engine, the second was the assembly line, and the third was the speed of computers. Today there is a fourth revolution that is taking place and it is called Industry 4.0. The simplest definition of Industry 4.0 would be making all manufacturing equipment digitalized or smart.

Some of the big benefits of IIoT are …

Intelligent products

These are products that are in a sense, self-aware. They have the ability to share information about their health, location, and usage levels. This in turn helps companies improve product quality and customer service.

Intelligent factories

Because business cycles have been getting shorter, it has become increasingly important that companies can get their products to the market as quickly as possible. These smart, digitalized facilities make it possible to customize products efficiently and at scale.

Intelligent assets

With intelligent assets, technicians are able to track location in real-time and monitor performance. This real time location data helps anticipate downtime and predict maintenance.

Not only has IIoT already changed manufacturing capabilities, but it has also begun to change business and pricing models. Instead of buying or selling high-value equipment, companies are beginning to lease them through service-based models. Think of a piece of equipment as both a product and a service. Essentially, the owner will be able to monitor the product and periodically provide repairs and upgrades to keep the customer operating most efficiently.

2. Travel

The travel industry has been very fast to adopt IoT. Airlines, especially, are one of the most competitive industries in the world. Due to the vast amount of investment necessary to get the planes off the ground, margins remain low, so using IOT to reduce costs helps the bottom-line.

Anything that has the potential to reduces costs while prioritizing the safety of the passengers will get adopted very quickly. Other aspects and people involved with the industry can benefit as well. Here are some ways that IoT will continue to contribute to the travel industry.

Automated check-ins

Over booking passengers is a risk that many airlines have to take. However, with IoT, passengers can automatically be allocated a seat immediately after booking the flight. The customer can choose meal service, in-flight entertainment, early boarding, and other services, even using preferences from previous flights. Not only does this save airlines the time and manpower of assigning seats, but creates a better customer experience.

Baggage tracking

One of the most common customer complaints that airlines face is the loss of baggage. Once again, IoT is stepping in as the solution. With RFID tags, both airlines and customers can instantly determine where pieces of luggage are, and get the bags to the customer more quickly.

Customer satisfaction and safety

Not only do customers have better experiences surrounding their actual flight, but they are also more comfortable before and after time spent at the airport. Hotel safety and satisfaction are very important to weary travelers who do not want to deal with long lines and registration errors. IoT will be able to send room keys to cell phones, provide wake-up calls, room service, laundry service and other necessities with very little human interaction.

IoT can also help with the safety and comfort for hospitality workers at the airport, restaurants, hotels and shops. Devices with emergency buttons can be worn by workers who can quickly summon assistance when necessary. Restaurant managers can better track food deliveries, and airport shops can keep accurate records on merchandise.

All of these possibilities are dedicated to better serving travelers, who will come back again when they receive quality, personalized service.

Maintenance operations

One of the most important aspects of the airline industry is the airplanes themselves. For example, Boeing 878’s have interconnected networks that are cable of generating data in real-time. This helps airlines service defective parts, and even know what is wrong with the plane before it even lands, saving time for maintenance and repair.

The ability to send out alerts to multiple offices/departments is another way I0T can help the travel industry. Using this amazing tool to keep travel running safely, effectively and efficiently for everyone is the main concern of the travel industry.

3. Utilities Management

Utilities have been another important industry to adopt business IoT solutions. Interconnected data helps utility companies face challenges such as aging infrastructure, worker turnover, and regulations. Here are some ways that IoT is is already collecting and sharing data in real-time.

Conservation

One of the most important aspects of water management is knowing how much water is coming in, and how much water is going out. Many utility companies have sensors suspended in ponds and water tanks that show them current water levels. These sensors can send data at regular intervals to monitor daily consumption. In addition, these sensors can alert water operators of any leakage in the system.

For electric and gas utilities, business intelligence IoT sensors that monitor and conserve energy help eliminate waste and reduce costs. Utility companies are using mobile RTLS systems such as the AirFinder SuperTag to track valuable assets and provide real-time monitoring that can be used for forecasting

Water quality

A big topic in recent regulation is the quality of water that is being consumed. IoT is already measuring and analyzing things like bacteria, chlorine, and conductivity. Real-time data helps operators determine quality and pinpoint problem areas for action.

Waste overflows

In tangent with water quality is waste overflows. According to the American Civil Engineers, the quality of drinking water in the US is at a D+. Even though the standard in the US is higher than the average country, there is significant room for improvement. Many regulators attribute the low score to waste overflows that stem from sewer blockages. Business IoT has the ability to predict waste overflows by pinpointing problem areas.

Business IoT for utilities is not only helping companies monitor quality and activity, but it is also reducing response times by alerting water operators exactly where the leakage or damage is occurring. This means fewer maintenance costs and happier residents. According to IDC estimates, reducing water losses could generate $2.9 billion and provide water to an additional 90 million residents.

4. Connected Energy

One of the biggest topics in the world today is the consumption of energy. More specifically, the transition to clean energy. Estimates of worldwide energy consumption are expected to grow 40% over the next 25 years. Here are some ways that IoT helps manage energy consumption while becoming more efficient.

Intelligent energy

One way that energy consumption is being managed is through smart systems. IoT has the ability to connect complex infrastructure and monitor usage patterns. This in turn can pinpoint inefficiencies and reduce waste. One example would be street or houselights. Why waste energy when no one is using the light? Utility companies can adopt business intelligence IoT that can sense movement and turn on the lights when needed. They can even sense natural light and adjust accordingly.

Convenience

Utility companies can also work with consumers to provide them with the convenience of controlling energy consumption such as lighting and air conditioning while away from the house. Homeowners can monitor their house through mobile devices. This not only can reduce energy consumption, but also energy bills.

Oil consumption

A big topic concerning energy is the oil and gas industry. With real time location data, the equipment used in the oil industry can be monitored and replaced when needed. In addition, IoT helps minimize risks with oil drilling, pipeline leakage, health, and safety of the crew. One of the biggest ways IoT is being utilized is with cargo tracking. Connectivity on the ocean is important and IoT networks are the key.

Renewable Energy

IoT is also improving renewable energy sources such as solar panels, wind turbines, hydropower, and geothermal power. With business-to-business IoT, companies can be supported with real-time monitoring of power grids. As the renewable sector has grown and will continue to grow, IoT networks can grow to scale.

5. Connected Healthcare

Due to a lack of standardization and security protocols, the healthcare industry has historically been a cautious adopter of IoT. However, as the world population continues to grow, healthcare faculties and professionals have found IoT to be a much-needed asset. Here are some ways IoT technology is continuing to benefit the healthcare industry.

Simultaneous reporting and monitoring

Many times, the difference between life and death is the response rate. IoT has been able to enable higher response rates with real-time asset tracking and monitoring. Smart medical devices are able to monitor things like heart failure, diabetes, and asthma attacks. Not only that, but the data collected from people can be stored in the cloud and then used for reporting to medical professionals, close family, and even insurance companies.

Tracking and assistance

Reporting and monitoring are important, but it is also important to know where the alert is coming from. Sometimes knowing what is wrong and where the individual is, is not enough. That’s why some medical devices can give people advice and even suggest which medical prescriptions to take. From critical alerts to tracking assets, see how hospitals and healthcare systems are using RTLS solutions for location, safety and compliance.

Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR)

One of the biggest time-savers in the healthcare industry has been the digitalization and centralization of patient records. Healthcare professionals from different departments and facilities are now able to see a well-organized medical history. Also, new wearable devices can automatically update medical history, which makes it easier to give an accurate diagnosis.

The applications for the healthcare industry are endless. However, one of the more significant challenges is keeping up with HIPPA protocols and keeping personal information safe and secure. The other challenge is an overload of data. With 24-7 monitoring, data needs to be aggregated into accurate information.

6. Retail

Although most retailers see IoT solutions as the future direction of the industry, there is a lack of agreement on how the technology should properly be applied. That said, almost half of the industry has found one way or another to implement IoT. Here are three ways the IoT solutions are improving the retail business.

Customer experience

For years, retailers have had to peruse entire segments of their target markets. However, new technology has opened the door for the Internet of Me. Retailers can now send personalized offers and discounts to shoppers’ mobile devices from beacons throughout the store. And that’s not all. Customers can now experience real-time updates on product location and availability. They can browse inventory and find products based on previous purchases.

Supply chain

One of the biggest pain points to retailers is when a product goes out of stock. With IoT that problem can be mitigated through inventory tracking. When a certain product is beginning to run low, the retailer can be notified. Some systems can even order products while alerting the retailer. In addition, inventory tracking allows retail workers to more accurately inform customers when the product will be back in stock.

New revenue streams

With smart technology making its way into customer homes, retailers have been able to increase their insight into customer behavior. This allows for an omni-channel shopping experience that allows consumers to shop when and how they want.

Although IoT is helping retailers improve customer experience and increase revenue, the massive amount of data coming in is proving to be a big challenge. Retailers are good at commercial business, but they do not have the technical ability to sort through the data and capitalize on all of its value.

Retailers are having to manage the data by hiring experts or third parties. Link Labs offers solutions that make the data useful for forecasting and operating a business with maximized cost efficiency and customer experience.

A Partner in Business IoT

As the number of business IoT devices expands, the right partner in business IoT is essential. Here at Link Labs, RTLS solutions for both indoor and outdoor tracking is our small way of lending a hand to the world of B2B IoT.

If you’re ready to get started, contact us today.

Written by Glenn Schatz

Glenn is the Vice President of Business Development at Link Labs. He is in charge of generating new business, interacting with distributors, sales reps, partners, and customers, and answering any technical questions that arise to ensure that the engineers can spend their time developing technology.

Before Link Labs, Glenn worked at the Department of Energy bringing energy efficiency to main street businesses, and was also a co-founder of ECORE Ventures, a cleantech project development company. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, where he eventually went back to teach Energy Policy as a military officer and civilian professor. Prior to his return to USNA, he was a submarine officer stationed in Virginia on a guided missile sub.

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