According to a new report from consulting firm Bain & Co, big companies plan to double their annual spending on smart, Internet-connected devices like video surveillance cameras and industrial sensors by 2021 to an annual total of $520 billion from $235 billion spent in 2017.
In its previous 2016 survey about IoT spend, Bain projected $450 billion for 2020 which included purchases of devices, software, and related services. The higher forecast shows businesses are increasing their appetite for connected devices alongside growing consumer demand for everything “smart” in their homes including cameras, thermostats, speakers and connected light bulbs.
Connected video surveillance cameras and sensors that measure throughput or alert when parts are wearing out, usually send their information to the cloud for analysis. But newer products are moving the smarts to the edge – meaning that the products themselves will have more powerful compute engines and AI algorithms built-in, making them more independent and cost effective to operate – thus boosting sales.
Not surprisingly, Bain found that not all connected devices have caught on as much as previously expected – primarily due to security concerns, complex integration paths and uncertain ROIs. Many companies hoped that collecting extensive data about their equipment would help with predictive maintenance, reducing costs and streamlining operations. That has been harder to prove-out.
In one example, Bain pointed to elevator manufacturer Schindler working with GE to collect sensor data from 60,000 elevators. But a lack of historical data and problems integrating different data formats made predicting maintenance needs difficult which has caused interest in predictive maintenance use cases to wane.
Interest in remote monitoring, on the other hand, has risen because it tends to be a standalone application with clear customer benefits.
As Bain notes, “the next few years will be critical to the development of IoT markets as leaders continue to make gains and expand their industry-specific offers. Incumbents that fail to move quickly enough to address customers’ needs are likely to get leapfrogged by more nimble competitors. Device makers, in particular, run the risk of seeing software and analytics competitors capture the value of solutions, leaving them to deliver lower-profitability hardware components.”
Removing barriers to adoption is critical – utilizing proven technology and service providers that understand customer pain points and have experience delivering end-to-end, secure, scalable systems is imperative.
The digital revolution is upon us and the food industry is beginning to see the impact. With the help of the internet of things (IoT), food producers, processors, suppliers and retailers are uncovering opportunities to improve their operational efficiencies and drive growth. With 90% of companies investing in big data, AI and IoT, managers have the ability to make critical business decisions that lead to real revenue and margin improvements.
1. Increase Operational Efficiency
Global food loss is a staggering 1.3 billion tons per year which translates to and annual cost of $680B in industrialized nations and $310B in developing countries. Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tons) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons). Besides this being hugely inefficient, it is unsustainable. The food supply chain is beginning to take notice. Some companies are starting to utilize sensors to track temperature, humidity and other parameters throughout the supply chain, increasing food safety and reducing retail shrink. Other IoT technologies and cloud services can be used to store product data and automate food quality reporting.
2. Improved Food Safety
Government regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other similar agencies in industrialized countries, have created a catalyst for global change in the food industry. Focusing on compliance, prevention and the complexities of the global supply chain, regulations have steered the food industry to be more proactive and establish standards for food traceability and safety.
The use of real-time tracking of temperature and humidity can help companies closely monitor food safety data points, ensuring efficient cold chain management. Through this technology, the supply chain can work together to become compliant with local and global regulations. By using automated Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) checklists during production, manufacturing and transporting processes, companies have access to consistent, meaningful data that empower them to implement food safety solutions.
3. Consumers Driving Supply Chain Transparency
Consumers expect transparency from the companies that they buy from — especially in the food industry. Being open about sourcing, ingredients, handling, etc. and having these be traceable along the global supply chain driving consumer trust and loyalty – leading to higher revenues. Although domestic and international regulations can increase the complexity of the global food supply chain, IoT technologies can make it easy for both consumers and companies to track products.
IoT is powerful and can connect the supply chain to real-time product data, creating endless opportunities for the food industry. Companies can reap the benefits by finding and solving inefficiencies in the supply chain, meeting and exceeding food safety regulations, and providing transparency to consumers.
Some Appalling Statistics – IoT and AI can help solve this…
Even if just one-fourth of the food currently lost or wasted globally could be saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people in the world.
In developing countries 40% of losses occur at post-harvest and processing levels while in industrialized countries more than 40% of losses happen at retail and consumer levels.
The food currently lost or wasted in Latin America could feed 300 million people.
The food currently wasted in Europe could feed 200 million people.
The food currently lost in Africa could feed 300 million people.
Kimberly-Clark Professional turned to IBM’s IoT cloud to help facilities managers monitor and manage the condition of restrooms remotely through the introduction of connected devices and an Intelligent Restroom app . The state of a building’s restrooms is critical in how tenants and customers perceive a business. A dirty, unsanitary bathroom can cause customers and tenants to have a lower opinion of the facility – driving down customer satisfaction leading to lower overall revenue. IoT enabled soap dispensers, air fresheners, toilet paper holders and other devices collect data that is sent to the cloud for processing and analysis. Facilities managers can access the data from mobile or desktop devices to monitor the condition of the property’s restrooms – anywhere, anytime. A pilot study of the Intelligent Restroom app showed the number of supplies used by a facility decreased by up to 20 percent with the use of IoT enabled devices and analytics.
Google unveiled a contact lens that monitors glucose levels in tears, a potential reprieve for millions of diabetics who have to jab their finger to draw their own blood as many as 10 times a day. The lens uses a minuscule glucose sensor and a wireless transmitter to help the 382 million diabetics around the world that need need insulin and who keep a close watch of their sugar levels. Read more
Wearables moved from the buzz idea of 2013 into a tangle of clips, bands, badges, brooches, glasses, earpieces and headsets. It’s all too easy to be cynical about the products launched at this annual tech frenzy in the Mojave Desert, but here’s a skeptical case between the tech crowd’s boosterism and the casual scoffing. Let’s step back and try to separate the potential from the hyperbole. Read more
A new project is curating and organizing all of the sundry gadgets that collectively comprise the so-called “Internet of Things”. A new website seeks to catalog all of the world’s Internet-enabled devices. So far, they’ve got more than 2000 listed, and they plan to add more in the months ahead. There are fitness monitors, medical devices, smart home products and all sorts of other gadgets ready for measuring and monitoring everything around us. Read more
The reason we are where we are today, with smart home hubs having 7 radios to provide frequency and protocol interoperability between “all” smart connected devices in your home is because many years ago we started with a small light weight protocol called ZigBee and at some point, it gathered an alliance around it. With multiple constituencies all pulling in different directions, the protocol became unwieldy and too heavy for what it was intended. Then we had Z-Wave and the Z-Wave Alliance, same dilemma although with a smaller number of players influencing the outcome. We also have Bluetooth with the Bluetooth SIG, Insteon, 6LoWPAN and so many others. They all promise the same thing, to be able to tap and control a whole ecosystem of products and devices seamlessly. But, they’ve all failed to garner a huge following across a spectrum of products – thus the consumer is forced to pay more for solutions that promise to play well together with others because interoperability across protocols is non existent – unless you include multiple radios in a single hub.
Here comes Qualcomm to the rescue. Qualcomm’s goal is to offer developers and consumers an experience that works across all platforms, manufacturers and devices. But is this possible? Sure, ad-hoc WiFi can provide the connectivity fabric between all devices, but is that sufficient? Many IoT devices are part of a purposeful solution that doesn’t necessarily adhere to the notion of continuous connectivity and command-and-control from a single interface. Thus, a battery-operated sensor with a 10-year battery life can’t be expected to respond to continuous low-level WiFi beacons – nor should it. In cases like these, it is best to leave the protocol implementation to the manufacturer of the device who has intimate knowledge of functional and customer requirements. AllSeen, of course, does not solve the physical layer protocol dilemma that has precluded IoT to cross the proverbial chasm.
When HTML was first written, it was done so by one man, Tim Berners-Lee, whose mission was to have a markup language that web browsers could use to interpret and compose text, images and other materials into visual web pages. He was not conflicted by a consortium with competing interests nor was there 10+ other protocols in existence promising to deliver the same thing. In AllSeen’s case, fragmentation and competitive forces will prevent it from making great strides for many years to come. It’ll take a lot more than open-source, the Linux Foundation and a few examples to get everyone on board.
It’s fair to say that more people have heard of the “internet of things” than have experienced it. There is breathless press coverage of the phenomenon—always patiently re-explained by tech pundits as the trend by which all of our most mundane possessions will become internet-connected—each time novel, if obscure, inventions make a name off successful Kickstarter campaigns. These are invariably coupled with estimates that the internet of things will be a multi-trillion dollar business.
Consumers have been snapping up connected fitness gadgets such as the Fitbit and the Jawbone this year. Next year, we’ll see this kind of ubiquitous sensor technology extend to the enterprise as part of the “Internet of things,” according to an analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
Marc Gilbert got a horrible surprise from a stranger on his 34th birthday in August. After the celebration had died down, the Houston resident heard an unfamiliar voice coming from his daughter’s room; the person was telling his sleeping 2-year-old, “Wake up, you little slut.” When Gilbert rushed in, he discovered the voice was coming from his baby monitor and that whoever had taken control of it was also able to manipulate the camera. Gilbert immediately unplugged the monitor but not before the hacker had a chance to call him a moron.