The Internet of Things (IoT) has evolved from a mere buzzword to a new reality - one that’s approaching faster and at a larger scale than we thought possible. IDC forecasts worldwide spending on the Internet of Things to reach $772.5 billion in 2018 alone. But IoT is complex and harnessing it is easier said than done. While companies may be aware of IoT, they face the common struggles of understanding the use cases that apply to them, what the market opportunities are, and how to correctly implement it into their overall strategy. When it’s done right though, companies can exploit IoT and reap numerous benefits.
If you’re wondering how to harness the Internet of Things, dive into our latest whitepaper to learn about the market opportunities, use cases and services that will help your company join the IoT revolution and give you a competitive edge.
Here’s a sneak peek of some of the use cases we cover in the whitepaper:
For many IoT solutions, having location as part of the data collection is just as critical as having time associated with each event. Considering that more than 50% of developers actively working on IoT solutions are thinking globally, many devices will require location awareness in order to complete their function and provide rich, contextual data. Whether it’s used in tracking a fleet of assets, allowing secure access to devices in certain locations or predicting machine maintenance across multiple sites, location data can reveal correlations, patterns, trends, opportunities and risks that may not be readily apparent in all IoT use cases. Many industries will rely on the ability to track high-value assets throughout their business processes. Industries directly impacted by IoT and location-based services include:
- Logistics and supply chain
- Oil and gas
The ability to provide a solution that covers both indoor and outdoor environments through the asset’s entire journey while minimizing power consumption will be a critical requirement of IoT location services. For example, let’s say a global logistics data company needed location awareness across partner trucks, planes, ships and trains for optimal delivery route analysis. Companies may expect that putting a dot on a map is fairly straightforward, however there are many challenges to actually realizing this capability. Many people look to GPS as the ultimate solution for providing a location solution. However, as with manufacturers of smartphones have discovered, GPS alone does not necessarily solve the problem. The challenges GPS faces include:
- Power consumption
- Time to first fix
- Indoor signal loss
- Urban canyon multi-path challenges
- Bill of Material chip costs
To overcome these challenges, the company used location services based on patented positioning technology and a comprehensive database of Wi-Fi networks, allowing for precise location in all locations where GNSS/GPS or Cell positioning falls short, such as in dense urban environments. Choosing the right location partner allows companies to focus on their core competencies without having to worry if the location data they’re using is correct or available. Since location services should be flexible enough to adapt to any new use case, evaluate partners’ ability to address your specific location needs.
One of the most important outputs of IoT is data, and lots of it. Collecting and interpreting data from IoT devices is still at a very early stage. McKinsey states, “most of the IoT data collected today are not used at all, and data that are used are not fully exploited. For instance, less than 1% of the data being generated by the 30,000 sensors on an offshore oil rig is currently used to make decisions.” This leaves a significant amount of value capture and creation on the table that could have the potential to fundamentally change your organization’s performance or business model.
Don’t ignore the value of exposing the analytics to business owners and analysts. Data from IoT deployments can often be used for process optimization as well as discovering new business opportunities and models.
Bottom line, even though the size and potential of IoT data is massive, start small with targeted use cases. Share the data with a diverse group of stakeholders, including business owners and analysts, to discover how to create value with IoT data.
Predictive maintenance (the ability to predict equipment failures before they happen), is perhaps the biggest area of opportunity for value creation and capture within IoT. This will be revolutionary for many industries both in cost savings and in productivity. Previously, most asset intensive companies have used manual processes to maintain and repair their assets, using periodic scheduled maintenance as a means to catch failures before they occur. IoT provides a fundamental shift in how organizations think about how they maintain assets by turning potential disasters into minor repairs or inspections.
A company at the forefront of predictive maintenance for industrial assets is Rockwell Automation, who were quoted in Microsoft’s blog Fueling the Oil and Gas Industry with IoT. Rockwell Automation is using Microsoft’s IoT services to extend its business and provide managed monitoring and support for its products in the field. The company has put years of research into developing cloud-based solutions, using software, sensors and devices to predict equipment failures along the supply chain, track its performance in real time, and help refine designs and processes to prevent those failures in the future.
Rockwell has been helping Hilcorp Energy Company, an organization that has oil drilling platforms operating 24 hours a day, year round to pull crude oil from beneath the ocean floor. Hilcorp recently upgraded its pumping equipment, but even small operational problems can have serious consequences. A single pump failing in an offshore rig can cost the company $100,000 to $300,000 per day in lost production. Rockwell Automation has connected the pumps’ electrical variable speed drives to the cloud, so they can be monitored continuously from the company’s command room hundreds of miles away. This connectivity provides real-time information on the equipment’s performance and health — pressure, temperature, flow rates and dozens of other key performance indicators (KPIs). If Hilcorp is able to reduce their production losses from say, 10% to 5% each year using a daily rate of $100,000, that’s an estimated savings of $1.8 million annually. This example brings home the real value in how predictive maintenance will impact a company’s operations and their bottom line.
Want learn more about the various use cases and how to implement IoT into your strategy? Download the whitepaper below: