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Internet of Things: 5 Real-World Reasons It's Not Going Away

  • The Internet of Things is here to stay. That means a major transformation for many things, including the data center market, technologies, customers, and sales and marketing models -- not to mention the vast amount of revenue that will be generated by IoT product and service providers, which are projected to exceed $300 billion in 2020, according to Gartner. That will include an estimated 26 billion installed units -- such as devices, sensors, and many categories of connected things that don't even exist yet. And if that doesn’t convince you, IDC forecasts that the worldwide market for IoT solutions will grow from $655.8 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020.

    A lot of the talk revolves around futuristic claims that are easy to ignore. But, in fact, enterprises are implementing IoT projects today. Top enterprise use cases include connected cars, fleet management, remote asset management, building automation, building energy management, smart metering, connected healthcare solutions, connected retail store management, and smart warehousing.

    In general, most enterprises adopt IoT applications not for pie-in-the-sky ideas but in pursuit of the perennial goal of saving costs. For example, they may want to reduce the use of electricity or gasoline, reduce the chance of theft or other criminal activity, or reduce the probability of factory equipment failure.

    However, some enterprises are using IoT to develop new services. Construction companies are using IoT to launch collision-avoidance services to reduce accidents and injuries at sites, automotive manufacturers are embedding connectivity in their products so cars notify their drivers when it’s time for tune-ups, and medical device manufacturers are launching new healthcare services with connected products.

    You may be using IoT in your enterprise sooner than you think. Here we detail some of the practical ways IoT is growing today.

    (Image: monsitj/iStockphoto)

    Joyce Chutchian is editor and content strategist at JCF Communications. She has more than 20 years of experience in the information technology industry as an editor, managing editor, and writer.


  • Old MacDonald had a farm: E-I-E-IoT

    When you think of the agriculture and farming industry, the Internet of Things is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Think again. An IoT case study by PTC and Blue Hill Research identifies OnFarm Systems, an agricultural industry startup, which created a new way to proactively manage agricultural businesses and farms. The company uses a SaaS-based model to transform businesses services.

    Traditionally, the farming and agricultural industry works with data that is based on many variables, which contribute to production yield and, ultimately, costs. Farming is known for operating on a reactive basis, relying on optimal growing conditions based on weather patterns, soil conditions and even the Farmers Almanac. We needed to move farming to the 21st century, said Lance Donny, CEO and founder of OnFarm, as quoted in a PTC's case study. And so they did.

    IoT sensors help farmers control irrigation levels and increase crop yield by capturing field data on large farms. The SaaS model allows IoT devices in an agricultural setting to connect and access simple Web-based dashboards and analytics. An IoT development platform and ecosystem allows agricultural businesses to utilize smart applications to transform the agricultural business.

    The result? A partnership with IBM and the University of Georgia has allowed farmers to implement a high-value irrigation system that allows the farmers to control irrigation levels and maximize crop yield. OnFarm predicts they will save 50 billion gallons of water a year in Georgia's Front River Basin.

    (Image: Josef Mohyla/iStockphoto)

  • IoT's the Real Thing

    Being a top worldwide beverage brand for far more than a century is a feat in itself. But in todays world of technology, even monolith businesses like Coca-Cola Enterprises must change things up in order to stay ahead of the competition. Coca-Cola has done just that by deploying SAP and CSC services to create a VoIP-based system for 3,000 employees in more than 100 facilities that handle more than 7.5 million orders per year, according to CSC. Voice recognition and VoIP, as well as and automated inventory, shipping and support have replaced its manual keyboard operations -- and the results are more than refreshing.

    Coca-Cola Enterprises updated distribution process that saves more than $2 million in capital costs; employee productivity increased by 10%; and automated supply chain and logistics have an outbound order accuracy of 99.8%. As noted in a Wall St. Journal blog, Coca-Cola can also obtain all kinds of customer demographics from its connected vending machines -- data such as where, when and how customers are purchasing their products, which allows for more targeted marketing. IoT is The Real Thing.

    (Image: Juanmonino/iStockphoto)

  • Driving the information highway -- literally

    Tesla. This car is synonymous with The Internet of Things. Or maybe its better described as The Thing of the Internet. This is a fully electric, battery-charged automobile that seamlessly integrates mobile technology, the Internet, and custom applications to deliver not only an incredibly fast, smooth, pollution-free ride with precise handling (among many other features), but can also take the wheel itself. Yes, the latest Model S Tesla has autopilot functionality and a 4G cell connection (which Tesla pays for). The car can follow the moves of a car on the road in front of it, detect lines in the road, and also detect cars in blind spots. So if you maneuver to shift to the left lane, the Tesla wont move left if there is a car in your blind spot.

    But wait, theres more. As the MITCNC blog notes, the Tesla has its own API and an app framework that allows developers to build apps to run in the car. Acceleration sensors and built-in security features (in case someone tries to hack the intricate IoT configuration) are constantly updated, thanks to Teslas automatic software updates every two to four weeks. No need to go to the repair shop, for the repair shop comes to you.

    Have we lost you yet? If so, the built-in geopositioning app will help you find your way -- perhaps right over to Teslas Supercharger stations, which can be easily identified on the cars ever-present 17-inch touchscreen. Grab a cup of free coffee while your Tesla is charging at a Supercharger station. You can check your phone to see when the battery is finished charging. Once its charged, just go. In 2.8 seconds, you can be driving 60 MPH to your next destination.

    (Image: Taina Sohlman/iStockphoto)

  • Taylor Swifts 1989 tour: Back to the future?

    If you were one of the lucky ticket holders of Taylor Swifts 1989 concert tour, you probably found yourself with an extra accessory to glam up your TS T-shirt: Each audience member received a wristband that changed color with each song, synced perfectly to the music. Created by PixMob, whose motto for the patented technology is Invisible light controlling visible light, the effects are created by a light board that uses infrared transmitters to sync the wristbands to a specific shows music, lighting, and movement of people in the crowd.

    The result was a seamless, exciting experience for concert-goers, who not only got to see an incredible concert, but also were integral part of the IoT-enabled show, with glowing wristbands magically flashing and changing color on cue. My, everything has changed.

    (Image: zhangguifu/iStockphoto)

  • Is there a doctor in the house?

    When youve got a medical issue that requires regular doctor visits and monitoring, or if youre expecting a baby, you have frequent doctors office visits. But what if you are too sick to go to the doctor, or cant arrange for a ride, or dont have time to make an appointment? Just call the Internet of Things.

    Kaiser Permanente, the largest integrated healthcare provider in the U.S., is exploring ways to care for its patients anywhere, anytime (usually in their homes), via a connected monitoring system based on Microsoft Azure Internet of Things services. Systems integrator Cognizant is working with Kaiser Permanente to create the monitoring system prototype that connects people to doctors and hospitals to devices such as smartphones.

    Patients can get their blood pressure or glucose levels monitored from the convenience of their own home, and Kaiser Permanente can integrate the data with various analytics programs and clinics. The secure, IoT-based system will allow hospitals, healthcare personnel and medical devices to remotely access patient data via smartphones, so that patients can stay put if there is no medical emergency. Using a secure cloud system, information is sent via smartphones and integrated with a data analytics and visualization program to provide a real-time view of a patients health status. An added benefit is that reduced patient visits improves efficiency for medical staff.

    (Image: Asian Alphan/iStockphoto)