- John Deere
From agriculture to retail, the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how companies in many industries do business.
This is more evident than ever at the IoT Solutions World Congress, which kicked off in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday.
Industry experts from all sectors are at the event showcasing how they are using smart systems to better their business.
Here’s a look at six industries being transformed by IoT.
- REUTERS/Johannes Eisele
Agriculture is embracing IoT in a big way.
According to BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, IoT device installations in the agriculture industry are estimated to grow from 30 million in 2015 to 75 million in 2020.
Farmers are collecting data about their crops and livestock in a variety of ways. For example, John Deere has started using sensors in its tractors to connect them to the internet so that farmers can easily access data about their crop yields. By combining those sensors with advanced data analysis, farmers can get a sense for the best times to plant crops and how to optimize their yields.
Connecting the healthcare industry means not only more efficient business, but can mean better service for the patient.
For example, by connecting an MRI machine or other medical devices up to the internet, hospital staff can get alerts for when repairs are needed. This may sound like a small thing, but in a hospital a working piece of medical equipment could mean the difference between life or death.
“If we can use sensor data in these machines and collect data off the machines and the behavior of how that machine is being used…we can fairly accurately predict when it is going to fail,” GE Digital chief experience officer Greg Petroff told Business Insider. “So this lets you choose when to do the repair so that it won’t impact operations of the hospitals,” he said.
Retail may not be the first sector that comes to mind when thinking about digital industry. But even it is beginning to be transformed by IoT.
For example, retailers are beginning to use bluetooth beacons in their stories to better reach their customers. These beacons enable communication with customers’ mobile phones to enable location-based services.
So, for example, once the consumer has linked with the retailers app, they could receive more information about specific products and get personalized discounts.
- Wikimedia Commons
From supply chain logistics to public transit, IoT solutions are being used in transportation to better business in a number of ways.
For example, by connecting shipping vehicles with sensors to monitor temperature, companies can help ensure goods, especially food, arrive in a safe condition.
Sensors and smart software can also be used in a semi-truck or public bus to collect data that can be used to help the driver operate the vehicle in a manner that helps save fuel. What’s more, Intel provides IOT solutions that can be used to monitor how safely a driver is driving and can help predict when fleet vehicles may need repairs in real-time.
In the future, connected infrastructure will also work with connected vehicles to help reduce traffic and prevent accidents.
IoT is also changing the way energy companies do business.
For example, utility companies like PG&E are beginning to use smart meters as an effective IOT solution.
Smart meters are basically electronic devices that keep track of a customer’s energy usage and are able to communicate with the utility company’s central system.
Because of the two-way communication, smart meters give utility companies the necessary data to better predict demand, spot outages, and help the company know when to schedule repairs.
- Reuters/Enrique Marcarian
Manufacturing is perhaps the biggest industry being impacted by IoT.
In fact, BI Intelligence predicts that global manufacturers will invest $70 billion on IoT solutions in 2020, which is up from the $29 billion they spent in 2015.
Manufacturers in all sectors are connecting their factories to be more productive and efficient.
IoT solutions in the space generally includes having sensors placed on equipment in factories so that data can be collected about the performance of the machine and systems. This enables factory operators to not only see when a piece of machinery may need repaired, but it also gives insight on how to make the entire system work more efficiently.
For example, a manufacturer can use IoT solutions to better track assets in the factory and help consolidate control rooms.