Hold your fire. This is not another blog about the brilliancy of the Internet of Things. I won’t tell you about the number of devices that is already connected to the internet (2 billion) or the forecasts for 2020 (8 billion). With this blog, I intend to flood you with so many great Internet of Things examples that you’ll want to attach sensors to everything you own. Because you should. The IoT is no longer a hype; it has arrived and using it as a tool pays off, no matter which business you’re in. Don’t take my word for it, and let the upcoming success stories do the talking.
Why do people love the Internet of Things?
When you were a kid, you probably dreamt of a future that involved flying cars and a summer home on Mars. None of those dreams came true, as it’s already 2017 and you’re still stuck in traffic jams on your way to work. But since the rise of the Internet of Things, people are starting to believe that their futuristic dreams actually can be turned into reality. All of a sudden, devices all around them come to life, talk to other devices and make different aspects of life easier and more fun. I think this is the reason why the IoT stirs our imagination: it has made us enter a new, digital era in which IT can satisfy our every need. And it’s great news for businesses too, as they can deploy IoT strategies to improve customer intimacy and set themselves apart from the crowd.
If you want to experience the power of the IoT, there’s no need to leave the house. By attaching sensors to your household appliances, you can turn the place you live into a so-called smart home. Switch on the lights with your smartphone, have your iPad tell you that you forgot to turn off the oven and get real time insights into your energy consumption. Track down your keys, remotely water your plants while you’re in the office and get texted when something weird is going on in your basement. From a business perspective, smart homes make happy people, that waste less resources, cause less damage and are loyal customers because you make their life simple.
The impact of the IoT in healthcare is of lifesaving proportions. Caregivers use sensors that are attached to hospital beds and bathrooms to monitor movement so they can take measures when patients fall, trip, or try to escape (which happens more often than you think). Smartphones tell the sick when to take their meds and update them on their sugar level and blood pressure, while reducing the number of doctor visits by offering eHealth tools and apps. For those that are in perfect health, there are apps to track sport activities and monitor biometrics such as heart rate and activity level, so they stay in good shape. From a commercial and financial point of view, this form of innovation helps to improve the quality of care while reducing money and then number of consults, and while keeping people as healthy as possible through self-empowerment.
Not only houses and hospitals are getting smarter, so are entire cities. The most noticeable changes are in public transit, as more and more transport companies now provide real time insights in the whereabouts of buses and trains, the number of available seats, delays, and defects. At the same time, car drivers are being updated on available park space and roadblocks, which improves traffic flows and reduces the impact of exhaust gases on the environment. Speaking of the environment, projects like DontFlushMe reduce pollution by notifying citizens of overflow events, so they don’t flush their toilets and pollute local waterways. Then there are apps that tell when bins need to be emptied or reduce street lighting energy use. And the list goes on.
The examples mentioned above are all very visible to the public. But the Internet of Things examples that have been implemented out of sight of citizens may be even more intriguing. The retail sector has completely changed the way they do business, for example by working with sensors in distribution centers to check stocks. Other sensors help retailers to analyze the way their customers engage with specific products in their shop, so they can optimize their shelving strategies. In manufacturing, sensors installed in equipment update staff members on defects and malfunctions, and help them schedule maintenance only when it’s actually needed. In agriculture, apps tell farmers about weather forecasts and the condition of the soil, so they can remotely control their crops. In construction, sensors provide information on the quality and safety of a structure, which helps avoiding breakdowns and disasters.
If these Internet of Things examples aren’t convincing, I don’t know what is. They prove that the IoT is everywhere and that it brings more insights, comfort, time and cost reduction to all kinds of businesses- both B2C and B2B. Are you afraid your company is not modern enough to make the switch? Then you’re only proving my point that every organization will benefit from the IoT.
To get you started with your IoT journey, I recommend you download the white paper below. In Go Digital! you’ll read what tools you need to make your digital transformation (including your IoT strategy) happen.
Do you have any other cool Internet of Things examples that you want to share? Let us know!