5 Industries which will set the direction for IoT
IoT — ‘Internet of Things’ — we may have heard of this term many a times and maybe each time in a different context. The rise of IoT is evident across every aspect of our daily lives, from controlling home security with a smartphone to the way we shop. As per McKinsey, by 2025, IoT will have a total economic impact of $3.9 trillion to 11.1 trillion a year. In very simple language, IoT means machines talking to machines.
Let’s look at how IoT may change the business processes across various industry sectors.
1. Transport Sector/Logistics
• Autonomous ships can soon be a reality. Imagine unmanned ships carrying ton of cargoes, using multiple sensors to avoid stormy weather, human errors and thereby, increasing safety. Such ships of the future can also optimize routes to reach multiple destinations in the shortest possible time.
• BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, believes a move to crewless ships could deliver new savings in the $86 billion a year seaborne iron ore market, emulating the shift of autonomous trucks and trains. Even Rio Tinto, Australian mining company, has shown interest in transitioning towards autonomous ships.
• Driverless Trucks/cars/trains are already a reality. Rio Tinto has 69 fleets of driverless trucks which can run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without a driver who needs restroom breaks or lunch breaks. Industry insiders estimate each driverless truck can save around 500 work hours a year. A lot of advanced stage experiments are being conducted for driverless cars. You may soon be able to book a taxi driven by a machine.
2. Sports Industry
IoT has entered the sporting world in a big way. Levi’s Stadium at California, United States is one of the many examples of IoT in action. During any event, all 6000+ volunteers are connected through a mobile app for real time instructions and directions. As soon as a ticket is scanned at the gate, the volunteers standing to guide the spectators towards the stands receive a notification. Digital screens at stairs/pathways, reflect the direction a ticket holder needs to go.
In the meantime, the spectators can share live updates using the innovative interfaces and live event content on their smartphones and tablets, enabled by companies like Google, Facebook, Intel etc.
For transportation, people are increasingly using companies like Uber which can offer smartphone friendly apps that enable fans while still in the stadium to order a ride at the click of a button and have it conveniently waiting for them outside the stadium. Gone are the days, when you stood around ages waiting to hail a cab down. With apps like Uber you know exactly the cost upfront, there are no nasty surprises or shuffling for cash in your pocket and they even offer cab-sharing options during the booking process. Who knew life could be so hassle-free eh?
3. Hotel Industry
IoT can re-define the entire customer experience. Let’s imagine you have booked the hotel with an app and you get the following experience —
• As soon as you land at your destination, you receive a message from the hotel app informing you of your airport pick-up which is waiting for you at arrivals
• You are very tired and want to catch a few winks before you head off to work or on your sightseeing itinerary. With the app you adjust the room’s air conditioner and ordered food to be delivered to your room once you reach hotel.
• When you reach the hotel, you receive a digital key in your app with directions to your room.
• You enter the elevator and a digital screen has a warm welcome message with your name.
• You access your room with the digital key or better still, your smartphone communicates with the door panel sensing you are in close proximity to your room, and the door unlocks automatically for you. The room temperature is already maintained.
• If you are a regular client of the hotel, the app can provide you with personalized recommendations and your favorite show could be already tuned in on the TV, or your favorite book maybe placed on the side table by the hotel staff for you. In the meantime, you your food gets delivered to the room
• After your meal , you decide to sleep for a couple of hours and the room lights get dimmed automatically
• You start getting ready to go out and the connected mirrors shows you useful information on the weather .
For hotel management, IoT can not only help to enhance guest experience but also to cut down maintenance cost. Example — sensors in the air conditioning unit can automatically send information to a technician before the actual break down or can schedule regular maintenance service checks when required.
4. Retail Industry
IoT is transforming the retail industry on many different levels . According to IDC, IoT use in retail outlets will grow from $6 billion in 2013 to an estimated$27.5 billion in 2018. Let us see a few examples of how retail industry may undergo transformation-
• Beacon devices are already in use where the consumer gets a messages on available discounts as soon as he enters the shop.
• IoT enabled mirrors can enable consumers to try on anything virtually. Information can be transmitted on consumer mobile devices and he/she can even order later
• Smart shelves in stores can keep check on inventory and automatically send notification to the warehouse once items need replenishment
• Consider a chip embedded in the item you bought . Once the product like let’s say a pint of milk is running low , a notification is sent to the grocery store and it can either keep the inventory ready or better still, item is delivered directly to your house.
• Salesforce’s Einstein technology has the capability to scan a picture to calculate the available inventory in stores. For example, Coca Cola has millions and millions of refrigerators at stores around the world. Till date, inventory is calculated manually. Now retailer can take a picture of refrigerator and Einstein will scan it for inventory and notify the warehouse accordingly. On the other side, retailer will get information on exact delivery date. Einstein can also suggest the products which are expected to sell more and indicate products which may not be in demand.
This sector has one of the highest potential uses of IoT and makes the future of IoT look more and more promising.
• Harley Davidson’s York plant is making use of sensors for all its assets. Everything is connected and every step in the process is tracked. Sensors provide all the information about the functioning of the machines and predict failures or schedule maintenance in advance . Harley can now build one bike in just 86 seconds!
• Next generation products will avoid damages by taking corrective actions and replenishment of individual parts will take place automatically
• Smart machines in factories will control their own usage. They will order supplies as per demand and also plan the most efficient way to run by coordinating with other machines in the factory.
• Smart machines can predict their maintenance and hence reduce downtime
• Employees will get all the live information on the activities at the manufacturing site on their mobile device and they need not be available onsite at all times.
There are some of the few limitless possibilities of IoT in today’s world and how it can re-shape the future of different sectors. In the articles to follow we will deep dive into the details of IoT and try to answer the following questions-
1. IoT Definition and IoT Architecture which can be applicable across industries
2. How (or in what ways) can we monetize information from IoT? Key challenges in implementing IoT
3. What are the different IoT platforms available in the market today?