The Internet of Things (IoT) is making progress in quite a few industrial sectors, especially those including energy, manufacturing, supply chain analytics and connected vehicles.
Connected technology is transforming companies by enhancing the competitive edge at the intersection of people, data and intelligent machines. The productivity and efficiency gains garnered from improved operational effectiveness is putting those organizations willing to harness these tools at the forefront of the industry.
There are particular sectors where IoT seems to have found a definitive role, which the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified as the areas that are currently exploiting the IoT to the fullest. Here are eight of them.
There are a host of innovative wearables on the market today. And not only limited to fitness trackers, but the range is expanding to incorporate clothing that monitors respiration rate, football helmets that have impact detection capabilities and smart glasses that enable augmented reality.
These devices generate biometric and environmental data for either feedback or comprise processors allowing smart decisions to be made based on accumulated information. The potential applications in industry are quite substantial, besides the obvious coaching advancements enabled by activity trackers, but firefighters wearing smart glasses can “see” the layout of the building when obstructed with smoke, permitting them to do their jobs in an otherwise impossible environment. The use of wearable technology for recording vital signs also promises to revolutionize the medical profession.
2. Smart homes and buildings
Both residential and commercial buildings can benefit from IoT devices. From an industrial perspective, they can facilitate resource and energy optimization with devices like smart heating systems, refrigerators, connected security cameras, and lighting.
Connected vehicles have the ability to sense, analyze and make decisions based on information gathered from the environment. They can optimize traffic routes or avoid accidents or safety hazards. Additionally, there is the infotainment capability for passenger vehicles allowing users to stream music or provide navigation.
For the motor industry, this is where IoT truly has the edge. IoT-enabled data communication systems allow motor companies to remotely update software and respond to real time mechanical issues. This facilitates preventative maintenance and improves vehicular performance. Another potential platform for the motor industry to exploit is the interconnectivity between IoT devices, allowing more effective logistics management. Perhaps even safer roads are a reality, as connected vehicles awareness of each other and thus result in a smoother flow of traffic, devoid of human error.
IoT in the manufacturing dimension is not a new concept. Many production facilities are already relying on smart sensors and machine learning to make in-line adjustments to the process. The data generated on sites like Online Dimes, and the analytics performed can vastly improve efficiency and quality. Furthermore, the information collected can be used to predict impending machine failures and thus improve machinery performance and longevity with predictive maintenance.
5. Supply chain
IoT devices have been instrumental in revolutionizing supply chain management. Smart sensors and IoT devices enable product identification along the chain and thus aid reducing bottlenecks, improving efficiency and consequently reducing production costs. This dramatically eases the shipping process as well, as environmental data can be accounted for to arrange adequate logistics.
Agriculture is one industry that is profiting considerably from the implementation of IoT devices. The applications include using smart sensors to remotely monitor and control pumps and equipment, as well as environmental monitoring of chemical levels, soil profiles, and air quality. In greenhouses, similar monitors and track and automatically respond to changes in humidity and temperature. These advances allow the changes to be made in real time, raising the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the process.
IoT in healthcare has potentially life-saving capabilities, seeking to improve patient quality of life and enable self-monitoring and management of health. In hospitals themselves, IoT biometric devices can monitor vital signs allowing health professionals to oversee an entire ward at the glance of a tablet screen. This real-time monitoring aggregates data that can be analyzed to provide a holistic view of the patient’s health, as well as identifying trends that may need medical intervention.
Oil and gas companies make use of IoT devices to measure along drilling lines. By measuring, and consequently adapting the speed and pressure of the drilling procedure, these devices serve to optimize the process and cut expenditure.
Smart energy grids are becoming popular and rely on IoT devices to enable communication between the grid and the consumer, optimizing the resources where possible. This not only reduces costs but saves energy and potentially reduces the carbon footprint.
These industries are at the vanguard of IoT development and are adapting their processes to integrate intelligence-driven technology to improve functionality. The success in these sectors is providing a gateway for the progress of IoT into other industries.
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