Internet of Things: Why IoT is here to stay within the enterprise
By Scott Szymanski
The Internet of Things (IoT) has made a name for itself in the consumer sphere. From fitness trackers like Fitbit to Amazon’s Dash buttons for one-touch product ordering, the average person can tangibly embrace IoT in everyday life. New cars have been outfitted with IoT technologies, such as Apple’s CarPlay, making driving to work a technological affair of “thing” proportions.
But where IoT is really excelling is in the enterprise space. With predictions of 25 billion connected “things” by 2020, there is little surprise that many companies are driving IoT initiatives within their organisations. Here are some of our favourite ways that IoT transforms how “things” work in the enterprise space—from soda machines to heart monitors, see what some of the world’s largest organisations are doing to “thingify” the enterprise world.
Coca-Cola is putting some fizz in the IoT marketplace with more than 30,000 Coca-Cola Freestyle machines deployed around the world. These machines contain more than 100 individual soda brands for customers to mix and match at the drink fountain in thousands of retail outlets. Customers can stick with common soda flavours, such as Coca-Cola or Sprite, or they can concoct their own blends, such as Diet Raspberry Coke, available at no other soda fountain.
These machines communicate wirelessly with one of Coca-Cola’s offices around the United States via the Verizon Wireless cell network. Coca-Cola also uses AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) to centrally monitor and manage Freestyle machines and gain the visibility needed to diagnose malfunctions in the field. When software updates are available, machines receive them over-the-air without requiring an on-site technician. Loaded in small cartridges, soda flavours that are low and need replacement can notify Coca-Cola of this status and automatically be ordered and shipped to retail outlets. Coca-Cola can also wirelessly collect diagnostic information, such as which flavours are used most or if a machine is malfunctioning, to create a better soda experience for customers.
Rolls-Royce is well known for their cars, but what really makes a roar in IoT is its jet engines. Through a process they call “engine health monitoring,” the company uses dozens of sensors on aero engines to monitor temperatures, pressures, speeds, flows and vibrations throughout its mechanical workings. From fan blade speeds to engine oil debris, the Rolls-Royce sensors record crucial information for detecting problems every step of a flight. This process is completely automatic and does not require the pilot’s attention.
Once collected, sensor information is sent in real-time to Rolls-Royce data systems on the ground through a series of wireless connections via satellite or VHF radio signal. Technicians can then analyse the data for worn parts or fluid leaks and notify the airline of maintenance recommendations. This technology can detect when parts need to be replaced or cleaned even before they become real problems, possibly leading to cost savings for Rolls-Royce and the airline, not to mention the countless lives that could be saved by a well-maintained aircraft engine.
While agriculture is rarely considered a technological frontier, companies like John Deere beg to differ. With its Field Connect system, John Deere provides farmers with a measurement tool that captures important information about crop health, while making it easily viewable in the cloud from a computer or mobile device. Farmers can monitor their crops at any time through charts, reports and measurement data in a Web browser. This paints a comprehensive picture of how crop fields are doing.
John Deere Field Connect includes sensors for soil moisture at different depths, air temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, rain levels and more. While each of these measurements are important by themselves, together they create a wealth of data about field conditions and how best to react to inclement weather. These measurements even help farmers plan for freeze protection in cold weather. With the amount of crop data available on a farmer’s computer screen, farming is plowing its way into the high-yield world of innovation.
Preventice, a healthcare company based in Minnesota, is one of the companies keeping the IoT pulse in the healthcare market. The company’s BodyGuardian Heart Monitoring System is a cardiac event monitoring and mobile cardiac telemetry system designed to record important cardiac information throughout the day. Some of the cardiac-related measurements include cardiac rhythm, average heart rate and average respiration rate. These measurements help provide an overall picture of patient cardiac health in real-time within a healthcare facility or at home.
In a device smaller than a typical smartphone, cardiac information is recorded in real-time throughout the day and transferred to a nearby secured mobile device. This device can be used to record symptoms during a health complication, such as chest pain or dizziness. This information is then used by healthcare professionals to learn, analyse and diagnose heart-related health concerns.
More enterprise IoT innovations to come
While smartphones and tablets once defined the mobility space, IoT devices are providing richer and more actionable experiences than ever before. With the power of IoT devices, companies have greater opportunities to address manufacturing concerns, improve patient care and develop a wealth of information that leads to more innovation in the marketplace.
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