Asset management is one of the original IoT use cases and has proven to bring real value across myriad industries. IoT asset management refers to the tracking and management of individual connected assets via devices and sensors to capture and report information. IoT devices connect assets to a central platform, allowing you to utilize real-time data streams to monitor, track, and manage the lifecycle your assets.

This has been a game-changer for many companies, who previously relied on error-prone and laborious manual procedures. In fact, according to a study from Webisoft, companies utilizing IoT for asset tracking have enjoyed an impressive increase in efficiency, with a 20% decrease in maintenance costs and a 15% increase in overall equipment effectiveness. In other words, IoT has transformed asset management, revolutionizing traditional practices and driving productivity and success.

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With IoT you can track and maintain anything from equipment on the factory floor, raw materials, or finished goods to mobile assets, such as vehicles, throughout their lifecycle.

Connecting your assets with IoT devices and sensors allows you to gather both real-time and historical data on the status, condition, and performance of each asset, as well as automating your processes, reducing operational costs, increasing productivity, enhancing safety and security, and extending the longevity of your assets.

Resource optimization

IoT technology plays a pivotal role in maximizing asset efficiency and minimizing waste. It does this through continuous monitoring and analysis of data, which provides deep insights into asset usage and performance. This gives you a clear understanding of how, when, and where your assets are being used, thus allowing you to have a more informed and strategic allocation of your resources.

In real terms, this means identifying where resources are over or-underutilized, leading to adjustments that can lead to a reduction in operational costs. This kind of fine-tuning of resource distribution ensures that each asset is used to its optimal capacity, avoiding unnecessary costs related to things like energy and maintenance.

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Beyond cost reduction, utilizing IoT can enhance overall productivity by allocating assets in a way that maximizes output and efficiency.

In other words, making the right assets available and functioning at the right time means you can maintain high performance standards.

Real-time data

Real-time data transforms asset management. IoT sensors allow you to receive constant updates on the condition, location, and usage patterns of your assets. This information drives data-driven and informed decisions about everything from maintenance schedules and asset deployment to resource allocation. It also allows predictive maintenance, preventing issues before they escalate and therefore saving you money, time, and manpower.

If we look at Industrial IoT, integrating IoT technology allows manufacturers to analyze and monitor three crucial aspects of their equipment: availability, quality, and performance. This real-time information minimizes losses and downtime.

Predictive maintenance

This is a key application of IoT in asset management. Analyzing data from IoT sensors allows you to use predictive algorithms to estimate when an asset is likely to require maintenance or replacement. When compared to traditional reactive maintenance, your business will become far more efficient and cost-effective, and costly downtimes will be greatly reduced.

This is a significant shift is how a business approaches asset care, with IoT devices generating critical data on everything from temperature and vibration to overall wear and tear, which ultimately gives you a comprehensive view of each asset’s status. In real terms, this means you can detect patterns and irregularities that could indicate potential equipment breakdown or failure. Anticipation potential issues before they escalate into failures allows you to plan and target maintenance intervention, rather than working from a reactive maintenance schedule.

Scalability

IoT technology allows you to adapt seamlessly handle a growing number of assets and the accompanying surge in data without losing performance of efficiency. IoT technology allows you to swiftly adjust your asset management strategy and make considered decisions by utilizing both real-time and historical data. This could involve maintenance scheduling, resource allocation, or performance optimization. The ability to react quickly to market or other business changes means you have the competitive edge over those still mired down in old practices.

Security

IoT technology allows you to track your assets in real time, making it easier to locate and recover stolen or lost assets. Furthermore, IoT devices can provide alerts in the event of unauthorized access or tampering, allow you to take swift action.

Conclusion

Marrying IoT with asset tracking means many industries are being transformed, with new standards for operational efficiency being set. There are myriad benefits to be enjoyed by implementing IoT in asset management, ranging from automation and cost control to enhanced monitoring and improved accuracy.

As IoT technologies evolve, so too will the impact they have on your business, with new opportunities being unlocked. Business is an ever-evolving landscape – and IoT is not just a technology advancement, it’s an inescapable strategic imperative for any business who wants to keep one step ahead of the competition.

If you would like to learn more about how IoT enables asset management, please get in touch. 

IoT and digitalization continue to impact nearly every industry and retail is no different. While retailers have been working with RFID for quite a long time, new and improved IoT technologies are giving retailers the opportunity to improve operations and enhance customer experience, whether that’s in your brick-and-mortar operation or your e-commerce side of things. From reducing inventory error and optimizing supply chains to decreasing labor costs and reducing theft, IoT can benefit both customer and business owner in myriad ways. 

Here are seven ways IoT is enabling and enhancing retail:

In-store data collection

Smart sensors allow retailers to track foot traffic and shopping behavior, which offers a number of benefits. First, understanding traffic flows allows businesses to evolve store layouts and stock placement to data-driven merchandising, as well as pairing products and placing them where they can easily be found by the customer.  Brands also have the opportunity to identify traffic hotspots, allowing them to strategically place promotional material or advertising in spaces where shoppers frequent, creating more awareness with less effort.

Automated checkout

Let’s face it: no one likes to stand in long lines waiting to pay. Long lines not only lead to lost customers in the moment, they can also deter customers from returning to your store. That said, adding more staff to handle the problem isn’t always the optimal solution. While self-checkout has helped ease the problem to an extent, IoT-enabled checkout systems are the real game-changer. An automated checkout system reads tags on each item a customer has put in their basket as they leave the store. So, instead of checking out at the counter with an employee or going through a self-checkout line, the automated checkout system takes note of the items and deducts the cost from the customer’s mobile payment app. The result is quicker purchases, happier customers, and reduced costs for the retailer.

Smart shelves

Inventory management is a time-consuming task, but a vital one in order to make sure that items are not out of stock, misplaced, or stolen. Smart shelves help you track inventory and get an alert whenever stock levels are funning low or when an item is misplaced/placed on a shelf incorrectly. IoT sensors allow you to gather information and data on each product, which not only helps you monitor stock levels, but also detect in-store theft.

Personalized discounts

Loyalty programs and discounts are an ideal way to show appreciation for returning customers while also ensuring their loyalty. IoT sensors placed around a store can distribute loyal discounts to loyalty program members via their smartphones when they stand near discounted products. Additionally, IoT can track items that a customer has been looking at online, sending them a personalized discount when they visit the store. So, instead of offering general discounts on numerous random products, each discount can be tailored to individual customers, maximizing conversion rates.

Optimized store layout

Planning store layout can be tricky, but through the use of IoT data and analytics, a store’s layout can be optimized not just for the retailer, but for the customers too. This not only enhances customer experience, it also increases profitability. Deploying sensors across aisles can help retailers place products in relation to customer behavior, including placing the least in demand products front and center and the most popular ones further to the back. The data gathered also provides insights into customer behavior and shopping preferences.

Food safety monitoring

Food and beverage retailers know that efficient operations are crucial when it comes to offering their customers products that are fit for consumption. Establishing and maintaining an efficient operation, though, can be challenging and one impacted by any number of factors. Anything from an electrical outage to staff error can lead to stock contamination, spoilage, and loss – costing you money. IoT sensors can prevent loss and mitigate human error by monitoring perishable goods in real team. They can automatically log temperatures in prep areas, fridges, freezers, and other equipment, setting thresholds for each sensor and receiving an alert any time a threshold is breached. This helps protect inventory by ensuring food storage areas remain temperature compliant.

Supply chain optimization

Managing customer expectations is crucial in retail and IoT allows retailers to do this through up-to-date insights into inventory availability. Starting in the warehouse, IoT-enabled sensors on product shelves can monitor weight fluctuations that signal when products are running low. This ability to recognize the popularity of particular goods – such as the ones that are flying off the shelves – allows retailers to proactively restock in good time. This is increasingly important as more and more customers move to online shopping – physical inventory isn’t visible, so the ability to know when to restock before someone purchases an item that isn’t available lowers the risk of transactional error. Additionally, warehouses are big and finding a particular product can be like finding a needle in a haystack – deploying sensors in your warehouse leads to greater overall visibility and streamlined processes.

Logistics is complex and involves the coordination of multiple elements. Today, with increasing demand for online deliveries, shorter delivery cycles, growing competition, and shrinking margins enterprises are under more pressure than ever to ensure that their logistics management is streamlined and efficient. Digitalization and the introduction of IoT technologies has allowed the industry to experience a huge increase in efficiency: optimizing processes, staying competitive with market rivals, increasing quality of service, and keeping costs under control.

With IoT, businesses are able to integrate assets within the supply chain into a single system. Data collection and tracking capabilities are providing visibility across the entire value chain to enhance and improve everything from warehouse efficiency to fleet management.

So, why invest in an IoT logistics solution and why integrate connected technology into your operations. Here’s why:

Warehouse & storage

With IoT, you can be aware of every moving part in your warehouse. Connected sensors can keep tight control over your inventory by tracking and analyzing inventory positions and stock levels across your operation. Smart shelves provide inventory information, alerting you when stocks are low, products are displaced, temperatures are unsuitable, when there is theft, etc. Additionally, wearables allow you to track employee health, location, and performance, as well as report collisions and falls, improving safety across your operation. IoT sensors can also track operating conditions of machines and other equipment, allowing for maximum productivity, as well as predictive maintenance – which reduces costs of repairs and keeps downtime to a minimum.

End-to-end product tracking

Transparency is the name of the game when you integrate IoT-technology into logistics. An IoT tracking system allows logistics managers to track any product’s movement from the warehouse to your customer’s doorstep. This establishes transparency, reduces human error (and the resulting pressure on staff), and increases customer satisfaction. Real-time delivery tracking becomes seamless and reduces headaches for everyone because you will be able to tell any customer calling to find out where their delivery is exactly where it is and when it will arrive. This also saves on time for your customer service reps, who can easily pinpoint exactly where a delivery is.

Fleet management

An IoT-based vehicle tracking and management system allows you to easily monitor your fleet. IoT devices provide accurate data so you can save time and money, as well as reduce downtime – and in the end that means better, and more-data driven business decisions.

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Forecasting accuracy

With all that data being generated and analyzed, you will be able to get a very clear picture on everything from how much time it takes to sell a given amount of product and how to optimize deliveries of that product to which vendors have better track records and which distribution centers have higher conversion rates. The result? Much better accuracy when planning operations and predicting outcomes. By moving you to data-based decision making, human error is significantly reduced. And all that automatic data collection means you not only save on manhours that would previously been spent manually collecting data, you can also collect data that would have been difficult or impossible to collect without IoT.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of IoT in your logistics operation, please get in touch..

While drones have long been associated with costly military applications or, on the other end of the spectrum, hobbyist tech gadgets, these days they are increasingly being shaped by practical commercial applications. In recent years, drone usage has broadened across a wide range of industries, being used for everything from delivery, infrastructure and crop monitoring, and mapping to industrial site inspection, emergency response, and security surveillance. And as more and more industries discover the benefits drones bring to their businesses the use cases will continue to grow, with IoT technology bringing cost and operational efficiency.

Drones have been around for a long time, with the concept of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) stretching back to 1849, when Austria attacked Venice using unmanned balloons filled with explosives. But while militaries around the world have largely driven drone technology since then, drones have also moved powerfully into both consumer and commercial spaces.

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When it comes to drones being deployed in the business space, IoT is increasingly a part of the picture. IoT-enabled drones have the ability to perform any number of important tasks, particularly when those tasks are expensive, dangerous, or impossible for humans to carry out.

Logistics

In the US alone, the Delivery Drones Market grew from $40 million to $1 billion between 2012 and 2017, with that number doubling by 2020. By 2026, it is expected to reach $5.6 billion.

Last mile delivery is the most expensive and difficult leg of a package’s journey, making up around 50% of total distribution costs. Drone technology optimizes last mile delivery by transporting packages from nearby warehouses or distribution centers to a specific address.

And unlike traditional delivery vehicles, drones can ‘fly as the crow flies’, allowing them to avoid traffic and or circuitous delivery paths. Drones are also fast, making same day delivery the norm in many areas – and in some cases even making ‘same hour’ delivery a possibility.

This also means there are environmental benefits when drones are used for delivery: the average delivery of a package by truck creates around 1kg of greenhouse gas emissions. Drones, on the other hand, reduce both energy consumption and the release of greenhouse gasses, because they generally run on battery power. If those batteries are charged with green energy, the substantial amount of carbon emitted from commercial and industrial transportation will be significantly reduced.

Beyond deliveries, drones will increase warehouse efficiencies, circling the perimeter of warehouses to conduct safety inspections, while also supporting inspections, preventative maintenance, and the repair of complex machinery within a manufacturing plant. Drones can also be used to speed up pick and put away processes, with lightweight drones being as an alternative to conveyer belts or forklifts for retrieving and putting away orders.

And finally, intelligent drones are crucial where other modes of transport are not viable, such as delivering vital relief and medical supplies to disaster zones or in other emergency situations.

Agriculture

With the global population expected to hit 9.6 billion by 2050, innovative agricultural practices will be vital in order to feed everyone. Smart drone tech will enable the application of precision agriculture techniques, which ensure efficiency of inputs such as water and fertilizer, while maximizing productivity, quality, and yield. Precision agriculture also helps minimize pests, unwanted flooding, and disease. In other words, drones are revolutionizing agriculture and offering major costs savings, enhanced efficiency, and increased profitability.

Drones can carry out comprehensive monitoring of crops and livestock conditions, with the ability to quickly spot problems that might not be apparent from the ground. By quickly surveying wide swaths of farmland, drones can map the property, predict and monitor crop growth, report on crop health, monitor irrigation, and improve spraying accuracy. Just one example would be time-lapse drone photography revealing that a crop is not being properly irrigated.

The ability to collect and analyze data in real time has very tangible outcomes: better crop yield, better use of resources, and data-driven decision making. Additionally, with the ability to identify pests, weeds, diseases and nutritional efficiencies in the early stages, there is a reduced need for harmful pesticides and other chemicals.

You can read more about IoT and Agriculture here.

Industrial applications

Inspection and maintenance of industrial facilities can be both challenging and dangerous. Things like boilers, furnaces, mines, power grids, seaports, oil and gas – these all have areas that can be hard to access and can pose health hazards to workers. Smart drones, though, expedite maintenance and inspections in a much safer way: through the use of sensors and cameras, drones gather data which is then relayed in real time to an inspector, who can then act on that information in a safe and secure way.

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By deploying drones during various phases of a facility’s lifecycle, the data gathered can be used to improve and optimize industrial processes, as well as enhance operational efficiencies. And because of their nearly limitless visibility, drones are uniquely qualified to capture aerial data in real time, enabling rapid and seamless data collection, which in turn fuels informed business processes.

Drones can be used in operations such as oil and gas facilities for security, surveillance, emergency response, and infrastructure inspection. At seaports, operational oversight, port monitoring, traffic control, mapping, and surveying can all be performed by drones. When it comes to mining, drones have a number of applications, such as mine surveying, inventory management, stockpile estimation, and hot spot detection. Additionally, drones can provide detailed information about potential sites before a mining project is begun. Drones can also access high-toxic and/or hard to reach areas and can be a vital tool in emergency response.

Construction

The construction industry is already investing heavily in drones and is one of the main adopters of the technology – and with good reason. Drones provide a birds-eye view of construction sites, machinery, and people, providing crucial information before, during, and after a project, as well as monitor its progress. Drones have access to places that are normally inaccessible or dangerous to inspect, such as roofs, recording and relaying real-time data and reducing accidents while increasing site safety.

Traditional land surveillance methods require a lot of labor, time, and money. Drones, on the other hand, provide valuable information on terrain and land distribution at a fraction of the cost. They do this by having a bird’s eye view of the entire site, inspecting the land with a much higher accuracy than previously possible, with the data collected being used by engineers to measure things like land dimensions and elevation changes.

When it comes to existing structures, 3D models can be created from scans made by drones, which can be helpful when it comes to renovations and retrofitting, as well as for inspections, potentially avoiding disasters such as the recent Surfside condo collapse in Florida. Data can also be converted into building models, allowing clients to have a better understanding of spaces and a view of final outcomes before the construction work even begins.

One of the more common drone applications on construction sites is supervision and progress checkups throughout the lifespan of the building project. Drones monitor progress by overlaying captured images onto building designs and drawings, allowing confirmation – or not – that the project is moving forward according to plan. The images can also be used to identify flaws and help eliminate human error when it comes to quality inspection and supervision.

Post-construction, drones can assess damage following natural disasters such as hurricanes or tornados, identifying the extent of damage and pinpointing which areas need immediate attention. They can also be used to identify victims and guide emergency workers in a safer manner.

Speaking of safety, construction sites can of course be dangerous places. Inspections carried out manually can expose workers to accidents and injury, particularly when heights are involved. Drones remove or reduce risks while also providing a higher level of inspection accuracy.

There are myriad other commercial applications for drones, such as sewer maintenance, insurance, filmmaking, and public safety. The use cases will continue to grow as the technology evolves. When IoT is added into the mix, the possibilities will become nearly endless.

If you would like to learn more about how IoT can enable your business, please get in touch..

IoT plays a crucial role in enhancing smart city applications through real-time monitoring and management of city processes. But with almost two-thirds of the world’s population predicted to be living in urban areas by 2030, one of the biggest challenges cities will face is waste disposal. The world produces 2.01 billion tons of solid waste annually, with the amount of garbage produced by urban dwellers on track to reach 3.40 billion tons by 2050. Waste disposal expenses are on the rise as well, with the World Bank predicting global garbage collection costs to top $375 billion in the next five years. Fortunately, smart city initiatives are driving innovation in the waste management sector. Valued at just under $1.5 billion in 2018, the smart management market is projected to top $5 billion by 2025.

Smart waste management has become an essential part of the smart city ecosystem, with IoT-enabled smart waste sensors enabling cities to optimize waste collection, reduce the number of overflowing bins, and manage resources. The use of IoT in waste management has the potential to reduce unnecessary expenses that are the result of operational inefficiencies in trash collection processes.  The number of smart bins is expected to reach 2.4 million by 2025, and according to Berg Insight, the rapid adoption of smart waste sensors will result in 29.8% growth through 2025.

Smart waste bins rely primarily on cellular networks, which accounted for about three quarters of connected waste collection points in 2020. While existing units can be retrofitted, wireless sensors are increasingly being pre-integrated into waste bins. And it’s not the conventional cellular technologies – 2G/3G/4G – that are driving growth. Instead, it’s LPWA (low-power, wide area) technologies (LTE-M and NB-IoT) that are leading the way. These technologies offer cost and power-efficiency options that leverage existing networks while also having strong built-in security, making them ideal for smart city applications.

There are three critical areas where IoT enables waste management processes.

Route optimization

Traditionally, waste management systems have used a pre-defined route based on historical patterns to schedule garbage collection and recycling point receptacle emptying, whether they were full or not. IoT devices turn this model on its head by using smart trash bins to detect location, temperature, and fill level in real time, and this data is then used to plan optimal collection routes, resulting in an efficient pickup process that saves fuel as well as manpower. Additionally, datahelps with long-term planning, such as where more bins are needed or where the number can be reduced.

The data gathered from smart bins also reduces the number of pissed pickups or the incidence of overflowing trash bins. If a sensor detects that a bin is full, an automatic alert will be sent to waste managers, who can schedule an extra pickup.

Smart recycling

According to a report from the UN, 50 million tons of e-waste is generated every year. And as the number of electronic devices ending up in landfills is increasing all the time, e-waste has been identified as a key aspect in solid waste management. Discarded electronic devices often contain harmful chemicals, such a lithium from a smartphone battery, which can leach into groundwater. At the same time, these devices present an opportunity to reclaim precious and base metals, such as gold and copper, in an efficient way. IoT management systems allow for a digital record to be made of devices and batteries and once the battery dies, the location of phones, IoT sensors and other electronic devices can be activated, with manufacturers or waste managers scheduling a pickup – and even bringing a replacement, long before they ever end up in a landfill.

The ability to embed IoT technologies into receptacles also allows for the use of machine learning, AI, and computer vision that can process the type of material in the container, leading to better sorting and reduced human error, as well as an easier job downstream at recycling centers. Additionally, emerging smart bins are able to identify and sort waste into categories like glass, paper, plastic, and metal, compress it and notify sanitation workers of fill levels of each waste category, enabling a more sustainable society.

Data analysis

Connected devices record the speed at which bins fill up, while also monitoring how often they are emptied, and what they contain. IoT management systems are where all of this comes together and shines. Data unlocks endless possibilities, such as planning better distribution of bins, eliminating incorrect disposal practices, and even reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.  Data analytics can help assess trends to better plan waste management processes, leading to a better allocation of resources and a happier populace. And speaking of that happier populace, a smart city app can give citizens the ability to input on-the-ground information, which can be used both in real time, such as when someone reports a smashed bin or similar, as well as adding that data to data collected from other sources, which can further optimize processes.

If you would like to learn more about how IoT can enable your smart city or business, please get in touch..

Even before Covid-19, charities were struggling to embrace digital technology. The global pandemic, though, has made it abundantly clear that digital technology will be crucial to the sector’s efforts going forward. The impact of Covid on the charity sector has been two-fold: there has been a sharp increase in demand for charitable services such as food banks, support services, and animal charities, while at the same time there has been a notable drop in donations. Covid-19 restrictions have limited face-to-face fundraising or canceled them altogether, while countertop fundraising in shops has also taken a significant hit, due to both Covid restrictions and people being encouraged to pay with card.

The good news is that while the ongoing challenges facing society in the wake of Covid will continue to impact charities, many are seeing the opportunity to take advantage of advances in technology. IoT has made its way into nearly every industry and for the non-profit sector, IoT is enabling charities to offer better services while also changing how they fundraise.  Here’s how:

Cashless donations

A lot of people don’t carry cash anymore, with some countries such as Sweden teetering on the edge of becoming a truly cashless society. While some charities have already adopted wireless card donation terminals, cash-only boxes continue to outnumber those able to take card payments. This is changing, though, with an increasing number of charities, clubs, houses of worship, and others in the non-profit sector adopting wireless donation points.

An IoT-enabled donation box can be either static or mobile – or both – and opens up new and connected ways of fundraising. In fact, in the Netherlands, when WhyDonate introduced connected donation boxes, the charity saw a 200% increase in the average amount of donations in the first months of testing. And with more and more people using mobile wallets, a donor can simply tap their phone or watch against a smart tag or scan a QR code to make a donation. Charities who engage in street corner donations can collect funds from pedestrians simply by having them tap their card or their phone. The data collected from these devices allows charities to build digital profiles of the typical donor, which can assist them in pinpointing their efforts in the future.

Fitness trackers

A lot of charities raise money through organized events, such as sponsored runs or walks. In the old days, if you needed sponsors, you may have solicited friends, family, co-workers, and others. In the wake of Covid, a number of solutions have emerged that allow people to take part in charity runs or walks without congregating in large groups. Apps track a person’s chosen location and money is raised as they make their way along a ‘virtual racetrack’. Because sponsors can follow the progress being made, everyone stays motivated and invested in the outcome. Some solutions include features that allow organizations to create customized milestones and most work as well on a smart phone as they do on a fitness tracker.

Transparency

Nearly three out of four Millennials donate to charity annually and more than half of Gen Z are actively considering a career in non-profits. For the younger generations, it’s no longer good enough to throw a charity ball and watch the money roll in, though. Instead, younger donors want to know where their money is going, and they want to see the results.

IoT allows charities to track results through connected sensors and other smart devices, and with the data that is generated non-profits are able to capture and communicate the impact their work is having with concrete results. If a charity is providing clean water to children in developing nations, sensors in a water well could, for example, collect data indicating everything from maintenance to water usage, showing donors exactly what their donation is supporting.

Virtual giving

After months and months of virtual work meetings, virtual conferences, and virtual life, it’s no surprise that you can now give virtually – and connected devices are making it as easy as asking Alexa what time the next train leaves. According to a survey from National Public Radio (NPR) in the US, 57% of individuals who own a smart assistant have used it to order something, so it’s not a big leap to go from paying for a product to supporting your favorite charity.

Non-profits can also take advantage of smart assistant technology by encouraging behavior that aligns with their mission. If the mission is to reduce food waste, smart assistants can give tips on how to achieve this. Smart assistants can also connect non-profits with both individual donors and companies. The British Heart Foundation already uses smart speakers to take donations using voice recognition through a devices’ IoT-connected microphones.

Digital screens continue to grow in public spaces, giving charities a new way of sharing their message with potential supporters and hopefully soliciting donations.

Virtual reality

Many non-profit organizations have relied on expensive, long-distance trips to show investors where their donations are going. Virtual reality (VR) allows investors to experience projects in far-flung locations without ever leaving home. This not only allows more potential donors to see the work of the charity, it also allows money that would formerly have been used to pay travel expenses to go directly towards serving people.

VR technologies don’t come cheap (yet) but by carefully matching technology with use case, organizations will likely gain stronger support and therefore offset initial costs with long-term relationships with donors.

There are myriad other ways IoT is enabling charity, including connected cameras at rescue stations and using the real-time footage at fundraising events to show people exactly how their money is used.  Brooklyn-based HabitatMap launched AirBean a few years ago – the low-cost, compact sensor measures hyperlocal concentrations of harmful microscopic particles in the air, as well as humidity and temperature. The data is then used to create a global map of air quality, which in turn enhances efforts to reduce pollution. This is just one more example of how the charity sector is evolving with the help of IoT.

If you would like to learn more about how IoT can enable your organization, please get in touch.

While adoption of IoT technologies in the financial sector isn’t as high as in many other industries, this is understandable, given the conservative nature of the business.  But fintech startups, banks, and other financial institutions who are able to see the possibilities that will be enabled by IoT will become the industry leaders of tomorrow.

Nearly every industry is either already digitalizing or making plans to do so, and today it is no different for the banking industry. As more and more customers expect personalized experiences the need for real-time data and analysis is only increasing. In the banking industry, the use of data helps understand buying habits and financial health while also driving new revenue streams and enabling what many of us are already happily enjoying: an entirely digital banking experience.

In the US alone, 81% of consumers already use mobile banking, a number that is even higher in some other regions, such as the Nordics, where the use of online banking services is from 84-95% of the population.  With these kinds of numbers, it’s clear that it’s not a matter of if banking will embrace digital transformation into their operations, but when and how – and it’s IoT that is helping drive this change.

Enhanced banking experience

No matter if the consumer visits a physical branch or does their banking online, IoT technologies are enabling more convenient and personalized experiences. We’ve long seen ATMs at the mall, in grocery stores, along busy shopping streets, etc., ATMs are actually an early prototype of an IoT device, allowing real time transactions while doing away with the need to stand in line at the bank to access accounts, which results in reduced staffing costs.

In order to further improve customer experience while also reducing costs banks are turning to new IoT technologies. Some banks have started using beacons to send customized offers to customers’ smartphones as soon as they enter the bank, while some ATMs have live stream video that allows customers to speak to someone at the bank if additional support is needed. This more customer-centered approach allows banks to serve the needs of specific demographics. Additionally, the data collected can be used to create customer profiles that can be leveraged to assist in improving the customer’s financial health, as well as building trust and loyalty.

Speaking of data…

Customers are increasingly using smart devices to do their banking, and data collected from mobile banking and apps, for example, allows banks to anticipate customer needs and provide advice and solutions that help customers make sound decisions regarding their finances. This creates customer loyalty and in an ideal world increases business. Additionally, financial institutions are using IoT functionality to forecasts future trends and market conditions through data analytics and predictive modeling, and these valuable insights can be used to create new products and services. Data can also be used by key decision-makers to judge the worthiness of different features on apps and where to invest in development.

Smart collaterals

Imagine a scenario where a retail customer or SME can raise short-term financing by offering collateral, such as machinery, cars, or other assets – but without having to head down to the bank to speak with the lender in person.  Enabled digital identity, along with IoT technology, changes the whole process. The request for financing, along with transfer of asset ownership, can be automation and digital and achieved in a matter of seconds, which allows the bank to issue the loan immediately while monitoring the collateral status in real time without the need to take physical custody of it. How? Through connecting assets.  If the borrower defaults on a payment, that car they used as collateral can be remotely disabled until payment is made. Additionally, the state of the collateral can also be monitored.

Tailored insurance

Insurance companies already offer devices that plug into the on-board diagnostic port of cars and send driving behavior back to the company.  While this might not be advantageous to the more adventurous drivers among us, this data does allow insurance companies to offer discounts based on driver behavior, and also allows for tailor-made insurance based on driving habits, the health of the vehicle’s engine, and general wear and tear on it. Additionally, data can give insurance companies critical insights into the likelihood of accidents in certain areas and price policies accordingly.

A word about security

Banks and other financial institutions are, by their very nature, conservative, which tends to make them later stage adopters of technologies. Like healthcare and other mission-critical solutions, a mis-step can have drastic consequences for both individuals and society. For financial institutions, the early focus was on things like video surveillance in order to reduce fraud and improve both customer service and internal training. But as more and more IoT devices are deployed, it is vital that security measures are put in place. Encryption and vulnerability testing are essential in ensuring the secure transfer of data, while regular updates and firmware on network devices must be installed, and proper password hygiene practiced. You can learn more about security in our IoT & Security White Paper.

If you would like to learn more about how IoT can enable your business, please get in touch.

IoT isn’t an entirely new concept for the hospitality industry. Many players have already incorporated IoT into their businesses and are using it to deliver benefits that run from delivering a more seamless customer experience to optimizing energy costs. According to PwC (PriceWaterhouseCooper), 70% of hospitality executives report already having active IoT projects, and they are using IoT to bring efficiencies to both the front of the house and the back of the house.  Here’s how.  

Hyper-personalization

Connected hotel rooms allow guests to control various room features, such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, from their mobile phones or from a tablet provided by the hotel.  Guests can also use their devices to control the television, lights, and other electronics in the room, and all that data that is collected can be used by hoteliers to anticipate guests’ needs and provide a personalized experience.  Each time the guest enters their room, an automated personalized greeting can be sent, while at the same time the room automatically switches to the last saved preference, such as playing music, streaming TV services, adjusting the lighting, or opening the curtains. Additionally, by combining smartphone capabilities with beacon technology and other sensors, even more customized information can be sent to guests, such as capacity information for on-site amenities like the spa or pool, wait times for dining, or recommend suitable events close by.  Additionally, the rise of autonomous delivery robots can automate hotel room service, handling room deliveries quickly, safely, and reliably.

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For repeat visitors, actionable data allows hoteliers to preselect things like a guest’s preferred room location and bed type, along with presenting a welcome tray featuring their preferred snacks or wine. In other words, you can roll out the red carpet for your VIP customers with ease.

Seamless check-in

Instead of waiting at the front desk to get your room key, IoT eliminates the need for elaborate check-ins. With IoT hotels can automatically send a digital key to a guest’s mobile phone shortly before check-in, and this digital key can not only communicate with the door, it can also eliminate the need for checking in at the front desk, because the first time it is used to unlock the guest’s room, they are automatically checked in.

Predictive maintenance

Preventive maintenance has been the standard for hotels, with regular maintenance checks designed to reduce guest complaints and prolong equipment life. With IoT, predictive maintenance allows you to address equipment failures before they happen. Staff are provided with real time information about the operating status of equipment and appliances, with alerts being sent when there are any warning signs of deterioration or unusual performance. For example, connected thermostats and air conditioners can identify equipment issues before there is a full breakdown. Sensors indicating water usage going up in a particular room while no one is inside could indicate a leaky faucet or toilet, while sensors on pipes throughout the building can also identify leaks or other problems. The main benefit is that repairs can be carried out quickly or replacements fitted before the equipment fully stops working, something that is crucial when we’re talking about equipment or appliances that the hotel cannot operate without. It’s also a money saver, as an early repair will cost both less money and use less manpower.

Energy savings

When it comes to energy savings, IoT has some pretty obvious applications, such as monitoring the occupancy of a space to optimize heating/cooling and lighting within an environment, which leads to decreased energy consumption and therefore reduced energy costs. This is important because utility costs represent a massive portion of operational expenditure and electricity costs are going up. And energy savings means you can reach your sustainability goals.

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A connected energy management systems allows you to monitor and manage parameters online, giving you the ability to adjust settings quickly and easily in all or some of your guest rooms – without compromising on guest comfort.

Data can help determine where things like insulation, windows, equipment, etc. need to or can be improved. Integrating different systems, such as elevators, guest room management, workforce, and property, provides logic between different data points, bringing awareness of what is going on across your entire operation, allowing for better planning of energy needs, both in real time and for long term planning.

Asset management

From machines to food trays, IoT technology can help manage assets and inventory in real time, alerting staff to service needs, while also enabling long term planning needs.  Connected asset trackers placed on both indoor and outdoor equipment speed up the process of finding needed machinery and equipment, shortening or eliminating wait times for things like luggage racks. Sensors on room service trays can alert staff when they have been left outside a room for pickup. Smart equipment enables staff to keep tabs on inventory such as towels, dinnerware, or anything else automatically, allowing them to work more productively and efficiently.

Safety & security

Automated smart door locks, where guests are sent a digital key on their smartphone, is one great security feature enabled by IoT. But hotel safety isn’t just about guest room. Equipping a hotel with IoT means the entire site can be protected using customized programs and protocol settings, which, in the event of a security breach, can instantly trigger door locks, emergency lights, and automated alarms sent to authorities. Biometric-based technologies that support facial recognition can be used to streamline check-in, but they can also help detect suspicious behavior and identify people who might cause problems. Non-intrusive connected buttons that are only activated by employees also give staff a way to request assistance.

The future

While IoT is already being implemented in hotels in myriad ways, the future may bring staff-less hotels. While in theory this may make sense due to money saved and revenue boosted, what is more likely is that as IoT in more closely implemented, many services will become automated, with staff being employed for better customer engagement.

If you would like to learn more about how IoT can enable your business, please get in touch.

IoT can’t stop disasters from happening, but it can help identify life-threatening hazards, alert authorities at an early stage, and assist in rescuing those affected, saving lives, resources, and money. Through the use of IoT technologies emergency management and response can be enhanced, and as a result have far better outcomes.

Australian bush fires, Indian monsoons, earthquakes in Japan, Northeasters along the US east coast – most natural disasters are inevitable, but the worrying news is that they are on the rise.  According to a United Nations (UN) report from October 2020, extreme weather events have dominated the disaster landscape in the 21st century, and it can be linked to a rise in climate-related disasters, including extreme weather events.

To put this in perspective, between 2000 and 2019, there were 7 348 major recorded disaster events, which claimed 1.23 million lives and affected an additional 4.2 billion, resulting in nearly $3 trillion in global economic losses. What makes these figures stand out is that they show a sharp increase over the previous twenty years, which saw just over 4 000 disasters which led to roughly $1.6 billion in economic losses and claimed 1.19 million lives.

Floods and storms have seen the most prevalent increase, with floods more than doubling, but there have also been major increases when it comes to drought, wildfires, and extreme temperature events, along with a rise in geo-physical events, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, which have killed more people than any other natural hazard. Add man-made disasters, such as hazardous material spills, infrastructure failures, and explosions, to that pile and it’s obvious that emergency preparedness has to not just improve but become more efficient.

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While we can’t do away with disasters, we can improve both our preparedness and our response through IoT-enabled prediction and early warning systems, along with IoT-enabled response systems.

According to the Global Disaster Preparedness Center, there are four phases of emergency management: Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.

Mitigation
Minimizing the effects of disaster, such as implementing building codes and zoning, vulnerability analyses, public education.

Preparedness
Planning response, including preparedness plans, emergency exercises and training, warning systems.

Response
Minimize hazards created by disaster, such as search and rescue, emergency relief

Recovery
Return the community to normal, through things like temporary housing, grants, medical care, and IoT can be a game changer in a number of ways.

Through the use of, among other things, sensors, robots, and unmanned vehicles, IoT helps minimize risks and improve response by transforming disaster management from reactive to proactive. And the data generated by these devices minimizes the risk of being taken off guard while helping everyone to make more informed decisions. Additionally, enhanced communications systems assist in rescue work. Here’s how:

Mitigation
IoT devices and sensors can collect near-real-time data on things like water levels, volcanic activity, and barometric readings. Sensors can detect wildfires, tornadoes, cloudbursts, volcanic activities, earthquakes, etc. and send early warnings. Additionally, critical infrastructure (or any infrastructure, really) can be protected through predictive maintenance. Hazard mitigation is enabled by using sensors to monitor pollutants and contaminants, including radioactive situations.

Preparation
Emergency preparedness can be enhanced through IoT-enabled response mechanisms, procedures and rehearsals. Real-time data from sensors, cameras, and other connected devices can be embedded into infrastructure, making it possible to monitor conditions in real time, as well as receive vital data both historical and in real time. This data allows city managers to prioritize repairs and employ preventive maintenance. And the connected devices deployed in buildings, bridges, roads, and other infrastructure can also be used to provide alerts and enhance communications. Additionally, through the use of IoT devices, strategic reserves of food, water, clothing, medical equipment, and other vital supplies can be monitored to ensure acceptable levels.

Response
In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, situational awareness is critical to ensuring resources are prioritized in order to have the most impact and help those most in need, but as operations go on, recovery efforts must be repeatedly updated based on changing conditions. Widely deployed IoT technology within a city’s infrastructure, in forest areas, or anywhere else, for that matter, can be re-tasked to identify emergency conditions, people who are trapped, or the status of things like the power grid. First responders need actionable information and IoT can facilitate response planning and actions through the use of sensors to monitor the movement of key personnel, as well as sensors and IoT-enabled cameras on the scene of the incident. Situational awareness and incident management can be achieved through things like smart clothing, which can monitor and report things like a firefighter’s vital signs and on-scene conditions, allowing them to be pulled from the scene if things become too dangerous. First responders can also be equipped with audio and video sensors, or supported by autonomous drones and vehicles, allowing dangerous situations to be monitored and assessed from a safe distance.

Automated IoT systems can send out alerts, news, and other digital resources to keep the public informed in real time. Mobile updates can provide vital information, such as where a tornado has touched down, or provide information of how to keep safe, where to find a safe location, and resources for seeking shelter or life-saving supplies. Connected digital signs, such as at bus stops, on roadways, and in city squares, can also be used to spread critical information quickly. Battery powered IoT devices can enable limited communication services, such as emergency micro-messaging.

Recovery
Disaster recovery efforts and operations can be extremely challenging, placing significant demands on multiple resources, including both local and international emergency response personnel, NGOs, and the military, all of whom must collaborate and share resources and information in order to execute recovery quickly and effectively. IoT devices can help in search and rescues operations, as well as monitor post-disaster conditions and levels of vital resource stockpiles. IoT can continue to be used to disseminate information to the public while normal communications are still being repaired.

If you would like to learn more about how IoT can enable emergency management, please get in touch

LTE-M, the low-power, wide area (LPWA) cellular technology, is specifically designed for IoT. It prioritizes a powerful reach over long distances and scalability for large or growing deployments, allowing the connection of simple devices that transmit low volumes of data over long periods of time with low power consumption. 

These features make LTE-M and other LPWA technologies ideal for any number of use cases, opening up the very real possibility of connecting all kinds of assets through a single, secure, and lasting solution. In other words, LTE-M will lead to massive IoT, empowering organizations to work with increased operational efficiency while gaining greater insights into their entire business.

Logistics

LTE-M is ideal for assets on the move because devices need to operate without a fixed power supply or regular recharging. And due to the extensive coverage it provides, LTE-M allows you to track the location and status of assets such a vehicles or containers while still maintaining an excellent battery life. Any number of things can be tracked and recorded, including fuel consumption, stops and starts, toll fees, route taken, driver behavior, etc. You can track the conditions of the goods, looking at things like humidity, temperature or other container conditions that could have an adverse impact on your assets, which allows you to react sooner, rather than when it might be too late.

Industry/Manufacturing

IoT is already being used to improve the safety and efficiency of industrial production, but monitoring things like petrochemical and waste storage or hazardous fluid tanks can be challenging, due to remoteness and dangerous conditions With LTE-M, low-power, low cost sensors enable monitoring of everything from humidity and temperature to impacts and breakages, enabling better use of manpower, keeping safety standards high, and saving money by catching problems early.

LTE-M Benefits

Wider coverage

LTE-M allows you to operate in extremely challenging locations, such as under manhole covers, in underground pipes or in car parks, basements or other remote areas. It is suitable for both static and mobile use cases.

Lower costs

LTE-M-enabled IoT devices are cost effective to produce, and inexpensive to buy. They also cost less to scale up. Longer battery life means no external power supply is needed, while maintenance costs are reduced due to fewer onsite visits.

Enhanced security & reliability

LTE-M networks are secure and reliable, with carrier grade security. Since LTE-M operates on the licenses spectrum, devices are not subject to radio interference or congestion, a risk that unlicensed LPWA technologies face since there is no control of the radio environment.

Future proof

LTE-M is the standard set by 3GPP (Third Generation Partner Project), and is neither vendor nor operator dependent. Instead, it is supported by multiple providers, as well as hardware manufacturers globally. LTE-M is set to become a part of the 5G standard as it evolves, ensuring it will be supported for a very long time.

Smart Cities

In order for a smart city ecosystem to become a reality, there is going to have to be a mass deployment of IoT devices across everything from car parks to street and traffic lights to buildings, public transport, and other public spaces. This mass deployment will be interconnected, making city life easier to navigate in any number of ways, whether that means knowing where you can find a free parking space or when the next bus will arrive, as well as keeping public areas more secure with real-time monitoring of public spaces. Mass deployment brings new cost requirements in order to make projects feasible, thus its support for low-cost devices makes LTE-M a true enabler for these use cases.

Utilities

LTE-M-enabled devices allow you to monitor remote infrastructure and assets, such as underground pipelines and wind, solar, or thermal generation equipment, as well as smart meters. This will improve efficiencies, allow for predictive maintenance (which in turn leads to cost savings), and provide vital information on things like energy consumption, leading to improved sustainability.

In real terms this could mean monitoring ageing water supply systems, which are prone to leakage and other issues but where challenges are difficult to identify before they become a real problem and cost everyone a lot of money. Sensors detect leaks much more quickly, which allows them to be repaired faster.

LTE-M can also enable use cases where actuators in the field need to be triggered with very low delay, thanks to LTE-M’s very low latency characteristics, especially when compared to other LPWA technologies.

Agriculture/Environment

It’s not easy to change a battery on a cow! Because LTE-M provides the required mobility, reliability, and remote coverage, the tracking and monitoring of livestock such as cattle, as well as wild animals is greatly enhanced.  Out in the field, condition monitoring is simplified, giving you the ability to monitor things like soil quality, weather, temperature, humidity, etc. And governmental agencies and scientists can use LTE-M sensors to analyze water levels, predict flooding, and issue early warnings.

If you would like to learn more about how IoT and LTE-M can enable your business, please get in touch.

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