The Internet of Things is for Everyone
Many companies or institutions are not yet aware of how IoT will play out in their business. It sometimes seems that the IoT is reserved for shiny new startups.
As I write about digital transformation there are several trends and patterns I come across again and again. One of them is most definitely the Internet of Things (IoT), which has the technology world abuzz.
However, many companies or institutions are not yet aware of how IoT would play out in their business. It sometimes seems that the IoT is reserved for shiny new startups.
And no wonder as the poster child for IoT is Nest, the maker of a smart thermostat that has been acquired by Google. However, at its very core, Nest only added a chip and network connectivity to an existing sensor. They coupled that with software and were able to create an advanced consumer product.
So let’s look at a more traditional industry. ThyssenKrupp Elevator is one of the world’s leading elevator manufacturers, maintaining more than 1.1 million elevators worldwide. The company connected its elevators to the cloud and gathers data from its sensors and systems and transforming that data into valuable business intelligence. This drove dramatic improvement in operational efficiency and enabled it to do something its competitors do not: offer predictive and even preemptive maintenance.
Let’s go even more low-tech – dairies. A German dairy farm is using sensor tags to monitor the health of its 240 cows. Sensors monitor the activity and health of cows and instead of stepping into the barn each morning, the farmer first sits down to check his PC for any alerts. I’m glad that projects like this and ThyssenKrupp are running on Microsoft Azure and other Microsoft technologies.
It takes just two examples show how any traditional industry can use the IoT to improve its products and serve customers better. This is what companies should be thinking when considering digital transformation. The potential value that can be captured is immense and should not be left to competitors. For example, insurance companies could start equipping customer cars with sensors and reward drivers for safe driving. Toothpaste makers could rewards users, who wash their teeth often by relying on sensors in toothbrushes.
One of my favorite ideas is using IoT in healthcare. For example, there is the potential to create a remote patient-monitoring system. The system can connect to smartphones and devices such as blood pressure and glucose meters in patients’ homes, and integrates the data with an existing analytics program used in hospitals and clinics to monitor patients and their health.
Another example of improved operational efficiency is the Henry Mayo hospital connected 175 thin-client devices and its physicians’ own devices to existing datacenters and systems. Doctors log in once at the start of their shift, then use a badge to tap into the system at thin-client devices located throughout the hospital. That cuts re-login time by 95%. With one tap, clinicians gain secure access to patient records and other data within six seconds.
Of course there is also the ability to connect hospital devices for monitoring health to centralized systems so nurses do not have to manually enter data on paper forms, which would cut the possibility of an error and improve operational efficiency. Internet of Things in hospitals is simply an amazing opportunity to no longer rely on paper-based processes and use automated systems that communicate among each other to create better healthcare outcomes.
Internet of Things is therefore an immense opportunity for everyone: hungry new startups, traditional companies looking to add value and institutions that are looking to overhaul their business and serve their customers better. And this is just one of the main trends that are shaping the revolution that we call digital transformation.
Find out more on the future of Technology at our DLUK - Trends Briefing on the 24th September 2015