Why is The Global IoT Market Exploding? It’s Good for Business
The truth is, we’re already surrounded by the Internet of Things (IoT). Who doesn’t know Siri, Alexa, Cortana, or Google Assistant? These IoT enabled virtual assistants answer our questions, but things like wireless earbuds, smartphone controlled air conditioners, and modern home security systems are also IoT powered.
The Internet of Things is essentially a convergence of technologies, including wireless communications, micro-electrical systems, and the Internet. The global IoT market reached 100 billion dollars in revenue in 2017, and forecasts suggest that this figure will grow to around 1.6 trillion by 2025. Compared to 2021, global IoT spending is expected to multiply by over 3.7x by 2025.
Why such explosive growth? Because IoT makes businesses more versatile, more productive, and safer thanks to a greater ability to collect and leverage key data.
How IoT Works Everywhere
The Internet of Things is a continually expanding network of connected devices. These devices share data to increase performance, convenience, and control for end users. Meanwhile, IoT subsystems, such as industrial internet and smart cities, aim to automate factories and streamline urban movement and processes.
Amazon deploys IoT diffusely in its fulfillment, location tracking, environmental sensing, fleet management, and supply & demand balance. By distributing the right devices in the right places, Amazon captures key data that would take forever to be collected manually.
With the help of AI algorithms, Amazon can crunch the data and optimize processes in real time. For instance, if climate situations threaten shipping routes, rerouting can be achieved much faster based on both live and historical data.
Let’s take a look at some other innovative and useful ways different sectors leverage IoT to gain an edge.
Temperature Controlled Trucks
Certain products, such as COVID-19 vaccines, food, and fresh flowers are temperature sensitive. Some refer to this supply chain as the “cold chain”, but it goes beyond simple refrigeration.
Certain carriers must prepare shipments to comply with regulatory standards, avoid spoilage, and ensure timely delivery. Beyond trucks equipped with cold storage, shippers require the right facilities to keep freight at the right temperature prior to loading. And finally, being on-time is more important in the cold chain, especially if the shipment is blood for transfusions or life saving medication.
IoT works in the cold chain primarily at two levels: monitoring temperature end-to-end with connected sensors and tracking shipping routes with GPS monitoring.
Given the wide range of moving parts in a warehouse, there are many ways IoT can improve operations. For example, fork lifts can be equipped with sensors to track routing which can then be optimized. Also, damage detection and control can be monitored to improve maintenance schedules and identify drivers who have a high rate of equipment wear and tear.
One company, ITAMCO, realized a 10% improvement in forklift efficiency by implementing GPS and vehicle mounted smart tablets.
Additionally, warehouse products might be sensor equipped to streamline inventory control, perhaps even bypassing barcode scanning completely. Finally, WiFi networks can facilitate the introduction of robotic vehicles that collect stock to be delivered to shipping areas.
The Smart Gas Station
Filling stations require constant monitoring and equipment maintenance. Self-service stations are commonplace, but what about a fully autonomous gas station? This is already a reality thanks to IoT sensor technology that monitors fuel levels and equipment performance.
BP, in cooperation with Amazon AWS, already has fully autonomous filling stations for trucks. Sensors scattered around the site measure temperature, vibration, light exposure, and other key metrics. A technician wouldn’t be able to spot an internal pump problem until there were actual signs of damage. Meanwhile, a sensor can detect problems early which can avoid more costly breakdown.
Connected Mining Sites
Many mining companies have already started their digital transformation to manage day-to-day operations. For instance:
- Cost optimization & improved productivity - Sensors on equipment to monitor performance and implement predictive maintenance.
- Safety - Monitoring ventilation and toxicity levels inside underground mines with the help of IoT on a real-time basis.
- Crisis & Emergency - Mines face frequent emergencies and a high degree of unpredictability. IoT helps in collecting data to enhance accident prevention and generate emergency protocols.
In one study, Inmarsat's found 65% of mining organizations have fully deployed at least one IoT-enabled project across their sites already.
Shifting gears to the retail sector, we can see how IoT helps improve customer engagement. One example is product beacons or ibeacons. These are tiny hardware sensors that detect smartphones and emit a bluetooth signal.
When you pass a beacon embedded product stand, you get an alert on your phone that tells you about the product (maybe even showing you a cool video). Beacons improve customer personalization and engagement. They can also collect store movement data to analyze foot traffic and in-store hot spots.
Target uses beacons to help shoppers navigate through stores and locate products. The Target app shows a shopper’s real-time location on the store map. Click an item on your shopping list to see its location along with any current promotions for that item.
RFID Fitting Rooms
In Rebecca Minkoff’s fitting rooms, IoT technology — powered by eBay — overlays the mirror (don’t worry, no cameras are involved). RFID tags detect and recognize items brought into the fitting room. This activates product screens that show different item styles, looks, sizes, and colors.
In this example, IoT brings an online experience into the brick and mortar space. This type of tech helped the brand triple expected clothing sales.
What was once a futuristic retail store scenario is now a reality. Amazon Go stores have carts equipped with cameras, sensors, touchpad displays, and even a built in scale to weigh fresh produce. The carts automatically track their contents. The smart screen shows your purchase total or the cost of any particular item. If you remove an item from the cart, it gets deducted from your total.
When you arrive at the store, you scan the cart’s QR code, and it gets linked to your Amazon Prime account. To check out you simply leave the store. Your credit card is charged automatically, and a receipt is sent to you by email.
The IoT industry is booming, and for good reason. The technology can be deployed in any place where data collection might provide an advantage. It’s fast, convenient, and useful. When needed, the assistance of AI algorithms with IoT can lead to major advances in business and operational performance.
At Xerris, we are experts in cloud technology, microservices, machine learning, front end development, Kubernetes, and DevOps. These key technologies enable companies to implement IoT-first solutions. We can help you expand your network of connected devices to boost performance and provide a superior end user experience.