From homes to industry, connecting items in the name of efficiency

Thermostats, home appliances, light bulbs, toys and other connected products controlled through smart phones are becoming more and more present in order to facilitate certain everyday tasks. In recent years, these devices have been used in a number of industries for the purpose of decision-making based on the analysis of real-time data. Like CIMA+, many companies have adopted this digital technology, sometimes coupled with learning algorithms, to boost the efficiency of their processes.

The term Internet of Things (IoT) describes “several technologies and research disciplines that enable the Internet to reach out into the real world of physical objects”.[1] Using wireless communication technologies, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or LPWAN (low-power wide-area network), the IoT allows electronic devices to exchange data.

The use of this technology is quite prevalent in the area of logistics, in particular for tracking goods and equipment, and in manufacturing, where it serves to monitor the condition of machinery and automate processes.

For example, consider the Hong Kong Airport, which is one of the global hubs for commercial air transport. It uses electronic RFID (radio frequency identification) devices on baggage to monitor loading and to flag any errors that may occur in real time.

The Rogue Ales brewery in Newport, Oregon, has installed an IoT-based solution for monitoring humidity and temperature levels during transportation of the hops, which is a critical phase in their supply chain. Connected sensors allow for real-time tracking and data collection to ensure the quality of the raw material and manage supply risk.[2]

The Industrial Internet of Things is experiencing explosive growth thanks to “low-cost, low-power wireless components, battery-powered wireless sensors with multi-mile network coverage, mature wireless mesh network protocols and ubiquitous cloud-based platforms”.[3]

These disruptive technologies are revolutionizing processes and productivity. Massive quantities of data can now be transmitted and analyzed, and humans or machines can now make decisions in real-time in order to optimize the allocation of resources thanks to the use of artificial-intelligence based technologies and blockchain databases.

Although the advantages of the IoT are undeniable, there are still challenges involved in integrating this technology, from the risks associated with piracy of connected products to the difficulties that some companies may experience in implementing structured digital transformation without wasting effort and resources. In order for innovation through the integration of digital technologies to be successful, it must be an integral part of the values of an organization, must be supported by all of the players involved and must be applied to all processes.[4]

 

[1] IEEE Computer Society (February 2013). “The Internet of Things: The Next Technological Revolution” [Online] https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=6457383

[2] Intel (2018). “How Rogue Ales makes a great beer from wet hops, clean water and innovation” [Online] https://blogs.intel.com/iot/2018/02/06/how-rogue-ales-makes-a-great-beer-from-wet-hops-clean-water-and-innovation/

[3] ON World (2018). “ON World: 650 Million Industrial Wireless Sensor Network Devices by 2027”. [Online] https://www.prweb.com/releases/on_world_650_million_industrial_wireless_sensor_network_devices_by_2027/prweb15964259.htm

[4] Capgemini (2018). “Digital Supply Chain”. [Online] https://www.capgemini.com/fr-fr/news/digital-supply-chain/

 

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