The Internet of Things (IoT) involves the billions of physical devices that can now be connected to the internet, gathering and distributing data. Due to recent developments in technology and the lowering cost of processors and wireless networks, almost anything can be granted digital intelligence and become part of the IoT.
From aeroplane engines to light bulbs, even entire smart cities, these objects can now interact through the internet without needing a human being to operate. It is a real consolidation of the digital and physical worlds.
The opportunities that surround the development of IoT is bringing a lot of enthusiasm to those who can envision a world in which it is an integral part of their day-to-day lives.
Users need to see real value in IoT Solutions
However, there are still plenty of potential users who are unsure of the value that IoT can bring to their lives. No matter how much analysts continue to speak and write of its capability, the fact is that there are too few real-life case studies of the technology. Instead, the internet is saturated with studies of its potential for operational savings, but there needs to be more.
If IoT is ever going to reach its full potential, then a more thorough job must be done to persuade users of its business value.
Here are two examples of real value that IoT solutions can bring.
1. Enhanced public transport reliability
Just like in many big cities, the train and metro system in Oslo, Norway faces daily pressure from its riders (numbering in the thousands) to ensure that it operates efficiently and on time.
In order to stay on top of the state of each of the trains, the network owner, Sporveien, decided to invest in IoT to guarantee that they can monitor and predict any potential issues with the train. Before investing in an IoT solution, this data was spread over 11 systems and required human input.
Before the IoT solution, there were many issues with the way the data was gathered. For example, upon receiving an error message related to a mechanical problem, the driver would have to report the issue to the operations control center and then proceed to take the train to the workshop to be fixed. At the workshop, the maintenance team would have to spend too much time and energy diagnosing what the problem was before being able to fix it.
This inevitably caused severe delays and complications for the train and metro system, and would be a red flag for a business consulting service.
By investing in an IoT solution, the workshop can monitor the performance of the trains and their parts and do regular preventative maintenance, instead of waiting until something goes wrong.
One significant example of the benefits of the IoT solution is related to the sliding train doors. Each door now possesses a miniature computer that measures 15 to 20 different parameters and analyzes changes over time by identifying the wear of different parts (such as the door bearings). To foretell when the bearings were becoming worn was challenging in the past, as they open at different frequencies, based on when passengers open and close them.
Presently, with the IoT solution in place, each door’s computer can sense when their bearings are becoming worn and necessitate a replacement. Without needing a human to monitor, these computers will regularly send data via Wi-Fi on the state of the doors to the workshop.
This ensures that the workshop can replace or fix parts before they fall apart.
2. Added efficiency in the manufacturing sector
Similarly, Jotun, a Norwegian paint manufacturer, is using a system called Hull Performance Solutions to assist its ship customers in maximizing their investment in the paint.
By installing sensors on the hull of a ship, Jotun can observe the drag of the vessel, recognizing performance and foretelling when a repaint is due. Without IoT technology, there would be no way for this firm to gather and analyze so much data. While in the past it would have been unthinkable to oversee a process like this, IoT tech and other future-facing solutions such as manufacturing resource planning software are making it incredibly efficient and bringing real value to business and customer alike.
IoT solutions can transform all of our lives
Beyond the hype, these business examples demonstrate the real value that IoT can bring to both firms and customers. More than merely operational cost savings (which of course is still crucial), IoT can transform the way we all live, work and play.