The Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) has spawned many new ways for businesses to collect and utilize data. The prevalence of inexpensive computer processors and wireless networks has made it possible to connect virtually any physical object to the Internet. This enables tracking, monitoring, and remote controlling possibilities that are just beginning to be explored.
The Industrial IoT is a subset of the larger IoT that is concerned more with manufacturing, production and large scale implementations than the more consumer-oriented Internet of Things. Here are 6 examples of IIoT solutions that you might not have expected from the intersection of business and organizations with the Internet of Things.
As part of a total ‘smart city’ initiative, the emergence of smart parking systems has the potential to reap benefits for merchants, consumers and city planners. Employing a combination of sensors embedded in the ground and cameras mounted on light poles and other structures, a dynamic map of available parking can be constructed.
Allowing drivers to access this map on their smartphones or vehicle displays will lessen the time searching for parking spaces and may encourage drivers to venture into areas where parking was thought to be at a premium. This can result in more business for local merchants and reduced costs in traffic enforcement. Ancillary benefits for the entire community include reduced air pollution from idling engines as well as reduced tension trying to find parking. The concept can be extended to work in large parking lots at stadiums and malls to ease traffic congestion.
The food production industry is heavily invested in the IIoT. According to sealedair.com, over 1.3 billion tons of food are lost each year by inadequate controls leading to spoilage. Led by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration, global focus has increased on compliance and prevention of problems in the complex food production supply chains.
The introduction of real-time temperature sensors enables companies to monitor and avoid bringing bad food to market. It also leads to improvements in their supply chain management and increased safety to consumers. Key Technology began embedding software into high-speed optical sorters that assist in process control and machine performance. Potato processors are one of the largest customers of this technology.
Sports Analytics and Stadiums
Sports and sporting equipment is a multi-billion dollar industry that encompasses everything from the sale of golf clubs to the amateur player to spectacle of the Super Bowl or World Cup. Analytics have played an important role in sports since computer technology became widespread, and is now taking advantage of the IIoT to delve even deeper into this arena.
The sports world is basically taking a two-pronged approach to using the IoT in its industry. On the one hand, sensors embedded into the clothing and equipment of players can lead to better performance and scouting through extensive data analysis. When the investment in players may reach several million dollars, the ability to fully understand a player’s capabilities can be worth quite a lot.
The other way that organizations are benefitting is from creating smart stadiums that can enhance the fans’ experience. One advancement that every fan can appreciate is mobile point-of-service systems that allow vendors to deliver concessions right to your seat.
Inventory Control Systems and Industrial Robotics
Inventory control systems are a logical home for network attached devices that can relay data to a centralized location. Large warehouses can employ sensors that create automated orders for restocking and up to the minute sales reports to capitalize on market trends.
Robots are becoming more “intelligent” as their sensors, hardware and software continue to improve. This has led to the joining of human and robotic workers to achieve new levels of efficiency. Amazon claims to be able to process orders up to 70% faster by using a combination of human workers and industrial robots.
Healthcare is another multi-billion dollar industry that is achieving benefits from utilizing the possibilities of the IoT. An example is that shown on windriver.com, where their Wind River Titanium Control system is described. This virtualization platform is fully integrated into a network allowing health care providers to virtualize and access medical equipment located throughout a hospital system.
This system will replace the standard monitoring systems of traditional hospitals which require independent and manual monitoring. By turning the new bedside monitors into a single node on the Industrial Internet of Things, medical data can be acted on in real time. In addition to better treatment of current ailments, this type of monitoring and data collection system can be indispensable in suggesting preventative measures and new treatments.
With the world population estimated to reach 10 billion people by the year 2050, agriculture is a prime target for technological improvements. The AGCO company has introduced what it considers to be a breakthrough IoT tool for the agriculture industry, aptly named AgCommand. This tool promises to enable better control of the mechanical aspects of the farming industry by tracking farm machinery.
The tool offers an easy to understand interface suitable for farmers and dealers, and has quickly become a telemetry-enabled health monitor and performance management system. Its at-a-glance screen allows farm machine dealers to be in constant contact with their products and assist farmers in enacting repairs and maintenance when required. Users can track their own equipment to monitor usage, and even assist in the event of theft.
The IIoT in Action
As you can see, the Industrial Internet of Things is growing in importance and may become an integral part of most commercial endeavors in the future. From streamlined production facilities and optimized warehouse functionality to improved healthcare, the IIoT will impact our lives to a greater degree with each passing year. No matter what industry you are involved with, it is in you and your company’s interest to keep an eye on this emerging technology and find a way to use it to your advantage.
How do you think growth of IIoT will impact humanity in the future? Leave a comment with your thoughts in the section below.