The second industrial revolution is here with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and it has started to create a profound effect on various businesses and business patterns. IoT is changing the way work and businesses are done from the government to utilities, from logistics and transports, from manufacturing to retail. Let us explore the example of use cases of five vertically different organizations who are going through a radical transformation due to IoT technologies.
All over the world “smart city initiatives” are transforming municipal life. According to Mr Tim Herbert, Senior vice president of a non-profit trade association CompTIA, the municipal heads and the political leaders have started thinking more creatively about various people-friendly uses of technologies that are integrated to bring different aspects or services of the city in a unified platform. The best thing about this is that both common people and the decision maker are able to make a better decision more quickly because of better and real-time data streams.
A few instances of smart city initiatives are:
Water management– every year Houston was losing approximately 15 billion gallons of filtered water (it is about 15 percent of its water) due to lack of maintenance. Now the municipal management has implanted sensors and intelligent pump control systems which will allow it to better regulate the water flow and identify maintenance issues all most at a real-time speed. More smart solutions like this could be applied to measuring water quality, controlling the irrigation system, measuring the storm water runoff, flooding and household water management.
Conservation of Energy – The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has recently declared that they are going to implement their new Real Time Energy Management program (RTEM). The program employs sensors, smart meters and big data analytics to enhance the energy usage of commercial buildings.
Transportation – the winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge Columbus will use its $40 million prizes partially on marshalling electric self-driving shuttles which will operate in connection with a new rapid transit centre. It will let better vehicle to vehicle data trade and communication with other transport infrastructure including traffic signals.
Public safety – the capital of Denmark Copenhagen has reinstalled smart energy-efficient LED lights in more than fifty percent of their street which is connected with city’s network. This smart lights can automatically adjust their brightness based on the availability of daylight or moonlight or when they sense the presence of walkers or cyclists.
The traditional power distribution system, as well as pattern of energy utilities of U.S, are going to change with the deployment of IoT.
Along with the big power plant and high voltage transmission lines now there are community solar power, wind farms, micro grids, battery storage and these are to be connected to the existing grid system. To link up a transaction between the producers and the buyers could be using block chain technology needs IoT.
NYPA, The New York State Power Authority is the largest public power organization in the U.S. it has 16 power generating facilities of its own and is supplies 15 to 20 percent of the daily electricity of New York State. NYPA has now connected its power generating machines to analytics software through sensors. This program which is running at their Central Smart Operations centre in White Plains is able to provide a predictive alarm for possible power failures with precision weeks before these happen.
IoT is also revolutionizing agriculture industry. Innovative projects called “Freight Farms” of Boston makes fully mechanised “farms in a box” which is built inside a 40ftX8ftX9.5ft shipping containers. Freight Farms use The Connected Product Management platform of LogMeIn’s Xively (CPM) to build an agricultural unit of growing leafy vegetables inside those containers. By using sensors and connected technologies these farms in a box environment could be controlled so that herbs and leafy greens could grow on schedule and the yield of every week could be predicted. They hope that this will completely change the scenario of agriculture from “when it’s going to rain or when the rain stops” to a completely automated environment and predictable output.
The data generated through this process is also helping others to increase their yield.
Healthcare is also witnessing changes in its business models. A Swedish medical company called Aerocrine makes medical devices that help doctors to diagnose and treat patients with asthma. Two devices Aerocrine makes Niox Mino and Niox Vero are similar to that breathalyser with which police measure blood alcohol level, but these two devices produced by Aerocrine can also measure the precise amount of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) which is an important biological indicator of airway inflammation. The exact amount of FeNO in the blood of a patient helps the doctor to understand asthma is the cause of the patient’s illness, it can also determine the steroid responsiveness.
Every Niox Mino device of Aeromarine’s is connected to computers and they are now using Microsoft Azure Cloud Services to collect telemetry data from these connected devices and then send the data for analysis.
These data permit the company to observe whether devices are operating within their normal parameters – in specific weather condition, for e.g. at a very high or low level of humidity and it sends an alarm to the customer care team.
IoT has also ushered in a new era in the sector of consumer packaged goods (CPG). The famous British beverage company Diageo, who makes Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky is now using smart bottles for their prime Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky.
These smart bottles have a printed sensor tag produced with the OpenSense technology of Thinfilm Electronics. It is able to detect the sealed and opened condition of the bottle. OpenSense uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology of smartphones’ which allow Diageo to communicate with consumers in a personalized manner.
The personalized communication ranges from guiding consumers to decide on which bottle of whisky to buy and how to best enjoy the product.