The Internet of Things (IoT) is at a tipping point. By the end of this year, it is predicted that there will be 26 billion connected devices around the world. In a research report by Forrester, 85% of companies surveyed were either in the process of implementing an IoT solution in their business, or they were planning on doing so in the upcoming months. With a significant focus on innovations in this space at the moment, tracking and implementing it in the work that we do is key to us at Swipe iX. In this post I want to unpack our view on the field, some examples of it in action, and why it’s so much more than just giving you the ability to tweet from your fridge.
The IoT is simply about connecting physical objects in the real world so that they are able to communicate with each other without the need for human intervention. It creates a distributed network of smart devices out in the world, most often with the ability to sense their surroundings and share that intelligence. It’s not necessarily the newest technology, so why the focus on it now? Well it’s becoming much easier to implement thanks to broader shifts in the world of tech, such as the continuing drop in hardware costs and the increasing penetration of mobile connectivity. According to Statistica, the average sensor price will have dropped by roughly two-thirds by 2020 and the rollout of 5G technology means that IoT communication will be able to happen faster while requiring less energy.
The important thing to realise about the IoT is that it’s probably the most effective in applications the public have no idea of. While smart fridges, lightbulbs and even egg trays get media coverage, the mass-market applications for IoT are still quite limited outside of home entertainment and security. In industrial and commercial applications however, they can make a big difference to a business’s bottom line. This happens around three main areas. By giving individual components a measure of smart functionality you are able to:
We’ve drawn on IoT technology in a few of our recent projects. One large-scale application was for the logistics intelligence company MOST. Based out of Sweden, MOST produces a device that monitors location, temperature, light, humidity and shock on a continuous basis. These are used to provide ongoing information about goods in transit and help to address the problem of ensuring that what you pack into a container in one port arrives at the next in the right condition. We came on board to produce a platform to help make sense of this data. You can read more about how we approached this in our case study report.
From global shipping to local boerewors, we have also implemented an IoT solution back home for meat product manufacturer Freddy Hirsch. The company has a sophisticated method for producing sausage casings, and we used sensor technology to make it possible for the machinery to flag when one of the ingredients was running low. This means that it can be replenished as needed, and without humans continually needing to check on them, making the production process more efficient and reducing the cost impact of potential downtime.
Ultimately, IoT solutions offer a powerful way to gather and implement intelligence using objects in the physical world. We see it not so much as a product in itself, but rather a tool we can use to create smarter systems for our clients. Get in touch if you’d like to find out more about how we’re using these technologies in our work, and how we could come on board to create a smart system for your project.