Internet of things in business

Overview the Internet of Things in business

This post is a part of course From beginner to expert in IoT, so if you’re interested, more information you will find inside the link.

 

Internet of things in business each year has a big impact on the economy, therefore I described the main branches of business which can benefit from this concept.

Applications

The main goal of the application is to give access to IoT devices and system.

A smartphone that controls air conditioning or light. The central system in manufacture examining that everything it’s okay with robots that filtering products. Aircraft that sending data from engines to the system to predict next conservation.

If you can control system X via the Internet mostly it’s mean that you dealing with IoT solution. The good thing about this approach is that we can control simultaneously different devices in one place. Each one device can interact together to do simple tasks that you will offer them.

Smart [select your noun]

And here’s come Smart…. projects such as Smart Home, Smart City, Smart Alexa :). Amazon Alexa is a good example, you can interact with her and delegate simple tasks.

Imagine this situation, you are pinning small devices into the socket and this object will take responsibility for everything that it’s plugged into the home network.

This device sends impulses to interact with other devices. Then Alexa comes to action and sending tasks to this small device such as “turn off used devices” because you going to sleep. Or, “setup my favorite music” and then TV, PC starts playing your favorite songs.

Going further, imagine that you have a city that is connected to the system with a monitoring center and each camera gathering information to predict what happen.

Accident? Okay, I predicted with 95% chance that it will happen, send an ambulance. Road-hog? Send the mandate and inform the police. Traffic jams? Send information to autonomous cars so that they can change the route.

Media

But how these devices know what my favorite song or movie??

Probably because you have connected devices with private social accounts such as Facebook, Instagram etc. or just you used this function. Then system learned that is your favorite pieces of information or action.

If you don’t want to send telemetry data, you have options to turn this off, but for me, as a developer (from a technical point of view) it is useful information.

But it’s my privacy, how you dare to collect such kind of information!!

Here’s come the question, you want a product that fits you, or it’s trying to imitate usefulness?

I’m not saying about selling data or exchange them, but about moments when you don’t want to repeat yourself again by saying this same command to the device performs related activities. It just remembered what you wanted.

IoT and media are a powerful combination because collect data about people so you can target specified products that fit into the mindset of people. Even this website collects some data. After the introduction of a GDPR, we need to tell each person what kind of rights has and what kind of data we are using.

It’s a good approach, even Microsoft expanded this mindset to each one country that they have a department, not only EU.

Agriculture

Agriculture has various ways to use IoT. Most of the physical job would be replaced with automation. When we start to think about parts of the farm that robots or AI can replace, it’s a huge part.

Drones can fly around fields and mapping yields. Then they are sending the results to AI bots that analyze this information and decide to move to the field to cut weeds or gather the harvest. Smart devices such as Smart tractors can dig a field to prepare for next plants.

At this same time devices such as locator can monitor animals and find that one has an infection and send alerts to farmers to separate animal or send an alert when one of them will escape.

Most everything can be managed by one application that gathering data and give useful information for farmers in one place. It’s called Remote Monitoring. Exemplary implementation offers Azure IoT Suite and provides information about each one device that is connected to the system. And then we can interact with these devices by commands.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing is a special kind of industry where IoT has a major impact. Most automated robots work on building cars, packing or filtering products.

Works 24/7, they no need food, sleep, but here’s is a big problem. How to predict when devices will break down? Or when to start thinking about conservation this particular device?

Equipping devices with IoT devices with sensors will give you insight into the condition of your devices. Such as oil temperature, pressure or speed one full iteration. We can go even further and create a system that in real-time check production flow and remove invalid products by working together with machines that work on the production.

Here’s come Predictive Maintenance, this is kind of IoT that work with Machine Learning to find useful patterns or alert the system that it bypasses the pattern. Such as solution you can find in the Azure IoT Suite.

Energy management

Electricity management, we can split into two fields. First, management in home or company where we will install IoT sensors. It can detect when it can turn off light and devices because the room is empty.

Another approach is to build own solar systems on the roof and managing by the platform with a connection to smart [choose your own noun] smart thermostat which turns off the high energy-consuming device to prevent blackout or just will optimize usage.

Everything depends on us, do we want to reduce our expenses. Each day energy providers are delivering electricity to our homes or companies. The major problem of energy providers is the effectiveness of this delivery. The Major implication of this is power outages or even blackouts, such as in Poland predictions, saying that blackouts are possibly more than 250 times per year, but on the other hand you have Singapore with 1 time per 100 hundred years.

So, how to deal with it?

Real-time monitoring devices that working with systems that delivering electricity, such as lines, aggregates, transformers, grids or everything that destroys itself. Smart grids additionally will resolve another problem, people, that stealing an electricity. At this moment, probably you have Smart meter in-house. This device keeps you informed and enable more accurate billing.

Another way to think about this concept is a transferring gas and fuel and then smart pipelines and smart pumps will monitor leaks, pressure changes or pump failure by sending data via the internet to a platform that can handle this.

Transportation

Transportation is a special kind of industry because for me everything started here. My project was based on the question, how to connect different devices (cars) together? We only found a problem, okay, but how to connect a car when you don’t know to whom you will connect? It’s secure when I want to transfer data through the no-name car to the internet? Would it corrupt data?

We wanted to somehow provide internet connection in a place where the connection is poor or even doesn’t exist by creating a new network that will expand existing one (LTE, G5 etc.).

Why did we want to do this? Real-time management of cars and fleet. At this moment in cars you have a system that buffering data and when the internet is available it’s trying to reconnect and send results to the server.

It’s problem in TSL(Transport, Shipping, Logistics) industry because you cannot in real-time estimate delivery time. So we decide to match the blockchain and IoT devices together. Blockchain works as a decentralized database that provided a way to create smart contracts in offline mode.

How? At first, we are signing two devices in the blockchain network, when one will lose connection will try to connect to other devices by emitting smart contract to a second device. Then a contract will offer a way to transfer funds from the first device to second and second will offer internet connection for the first device.

In this approach, the device is a client and server simultaneously because each one object in the blockchain has this same right as everyone.

A good example of a system, but centralized is RFID (radio-frequency identification) which will take advantage of IoT in the future. RFID is split up into two “things”, RFID tag and RFID reader. The tag is a small chip that you can place on the product, person, container or whatever you want to mark. The reader will scan for tags and look at which tags are in range. This kind of solution speed up inventories in the biggest outlets where the amount of products is enormous and doing that manually is too slow.

Healthcare

Most of the ideas that I described above fit into Healthcare. RFID for tagging equipment, Predictive Maintenance for assets, AI and robots that will perform operations, smart beds, etc. You can watch the whole system by applications or platform.

We can use Remote Monitoring for the doctor to watch patients in-house by microchips. Aviation and healthcare are the most demanding industries that must have high quality because without that someone can die.

RPA is a process which removes people from repeatable business tasks. I will give you an example.

You have a system where each day new offers occur in email and inside you have specified requirements which client need from the warehouse. Normally you need to open this email, look what the client needs, after that send these requirements to the warehouse, then generate an invoice (or pro forma), next update information and tell the client that system handled his request. After that, you need to tell the financial department about new invoice which added value and of course update system with the new amount of items in it.

Everything can be handled by a robot that it’s implemented for this purpose.

Financial

More interesting is when you have RPA robots in the financial system, this system never mistake, work 24/7. So the most powerful thing about this process is that you can remove Accountants from tasks which are mistake prone. If something is repeatable then the robot can do this same work too.

Additionally, you can add bots that can interact with people on chat to make decisions about creating accounts or find useful information. It’s quite interesting because people prefer to speak with bots rather than with others in some fields. Just a few days ago programmed bot on LinkedIn invited people to friends and tried to interact with people, you know reaction 🙂

Another way to improve the scalability of financial service is blockchain, but blockchain itself isn’t the theme of this post.

Conclusion

IoT has many opportunities where you can implement this concept. I probably didn’t cover the whole subject where you can implement this. I think it’s a good moment to start thinking about where you can add value to the business by finding ways to improve quality, scalability or overall service of product, company or just your life.

Piotr Czech

I am software developer, blogger, mentor, geek, startupper, team leader. I started writing code when I was about 15 years old, creating my first program in C++. I believe that everything can be fixed or changed, by just keep doing small steps each day.

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