When the IoT first emerged, businesses adopted a connectivity strategy to incorporate this technology. However, it has since evolved into a business transformation strategy that helps companies make data-driven decisions, improve profitability, reduce costs, boost productivity, and much more.
Today, the IoT is experiencing a period of rapid acceleration across industries. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), IoT spending is forecasted to experience a compound annual growth (CAGR) rate of 13.6% from 2017 to 2022 to reach $1.2 trillion.
IDC also predicts that the consumer market will lead spending growth within this segment globally at a CAGR of 19%. However, it’ll be followed closely by insurance and healthcare providers. The manufacturing and transportation industries are each expected to exceed $150 billion over the same forecasted period.
But how are businesses already benefiting from IoT? Let’s take a look at some real-world examples.
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Amazon Delivers Enhanced “Connected” Shopping Experiences
Amazon transformed the world of e-commerce, and now they are well on their way to take retail to the next level with IoT. In an effort to improve our quality of life, the company introduced a friendly virtual assistant called Alexa a few years ago.
Alexa is now adequately equipped to automate a multitude of tasks from ordering goods online to adjusting the lights and temperature in your room. As Alexa is voice-controlled, customers can access the planet’s largest retailer without ever pushing a button.
This initiative has helped the online retailer grow as shoppers who purchase items with the help of Alexa bought 29% more from Amazon. While Alexa continues to evolve and get smarter, Amazon has also reimagined grocery shopping with the help of the IoT.
With Amazon Go, the company now allows customers to walk into their store, take whatever products they need, and just walk out. In this scenario, this type of shopping experience is made possible by an IoT ecosystem that relies on CCTV cameras, customers’ smartphones (that are connected to Amazon via a dedicated app), deep learning, computer vision, and RFID chips.
So when a customer browses through the isles and picks up products, the system will analyze the whole process and add the items into their virtual cart. When they leave the store, a payment will be processed for the goods they took with them, not for any item that was put back on the shelf.
This highly responsive check-out free shopping experience ensures that you will never have to stand in line again. So what might have been a frustrating Sunday afternoon chore for some has now transformed into a highly efficient and pleasant customer experience.
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Shimane Fujitsu Visualized Factory Processes to Save Time and Money
Enterprise notebooks and tablets manufacturer Shimane Fujitsu recently started leveraging IoT sensor data to optimize operations. This initiative helped operations teams track the location and status of products to simplify prioritization and improve the bottom line.
Shimane Fujitsu manufactures approximately 30 million computers and two million customized devices every year, leveraging a just-in-time manufacturing model. Whenever a product doesn’t meet the company’s high standards, it’s transferred to a rework area to be inspected again.
With the help of data generated by IoT sensors, Shimane Fujitsu was able to resolve production errors that often derailed expedited product shipments. In this scenario, when a product entered a rework area, a sensor would be attached and scanned. This would then generate a product number that would enable the system to track its physical location.
All this information can be accessed by a factory manager through a desktop interface. With the help of IoT, the company was not only able to decrease lead times and shipping costs but also reduce the probability of errors during the inspection process.
State of Michigan’s Department of Transportation Optimized Road Repairs with Real-Time Monitoring
Intersog recently collaborated with the University of Michigan to develop a solution that would help the State of Michigan’s Department of Transportation better monitor their current road conditions. In this scenario, we supported the institution by building a mobile app that would deliver real-time, pertinent data on current road conditions.
We achieved this by leveraging the anti-lock braking systems in the department’s fleet of vehicles to generate real-time data on present road conditions (during their regular commutes). The mobile app boasted features such as comprehensive real-time road conditions and roadway monitoring and GPS locations.
As a result, the Department of Transportation was able to utilize their fleets to engage in real-time road monitoring which enabled repair crews to be deployed rapidly. It also helped improve planning and maintenance cycles while optimizing preventative measures. All this translated into significant cost-savings for the state.
Philips e-Alert for MRI Systems Boosts Quality and Efficiency
The award-winning Philips e-Alert for MRI systems was built to continuously monitor the performance of MRI systems and issue alerts via mobile messaging. This approach empowered health care providers to achieve their goals of enhancing efficiency and the quality of patient care.
Philips e-Alert combines both remote sensor technology and mobile messaging to effectively respond to a potential problem with MRI systems. In this scenario, whenever a condition that could contribute to future downtime is identified, an alert will be issued to instigate proactive action (that can help negate any future unplanned downtime).
This, in turn, helps healthcare organization make the maximum use of their available resources to realize enhanced efficiency and deliver quality care. According to Robert Cascella, CEO Imaging Business Groups at Philips, “our strategic goal is to move from a reactive to a proactive service model that enables continuity in care delivery. We have built the capability to identify a potential problem before it happens. Customers require both optimal clinical performance and predictable cost of ownership – something smart data analytics can provide very effectively.”
Citibank Leverages Beacons to Deliver Safe and Convenient Banking Experiences
Citibank deployed Gimbal’s beacons across select Manhattan branches to allow customers to enter ATM lobbies after hours without using their card. This approach enabled the financial institution to deliver more welcoming banking experiences to their customers.
In this scenario, the bank’s customers used the Bluetooth technology on their mobile devices to transform their smartphone or smartwatch into a virtual key which allowed seamless entry into the ATM lobby after hours.
This approach significantly reduced the amount of time a customer would have to otherwise spend at the ATM during regular business hours. As they didn’t have to use their ATM card to open the door, it also provided peace of mind as they didn’t have to pull out their wallet in a non-secure environment.
However, it didn’t end there, as Citibank was also able to understand their customer traffic better. This also enabled the organization to reevaluate their marketing strategies and only target their customers with relevant offers (to help acquire, cross-sell, or up-sell) when they entered the building.
Identifying these customer traffic patterns has also helped branch managers plan better and add more staff to serve customers based on the entry data.
At present, we are in the infant stage of enterprise IoT. However, when 5G connectivity becomes the norm (in the near future), you can bet that the IoT will enter a period of significant innovation.