Back in 2015, the US government-owned passenger train service, Amtrack, revealed that 20% of trains on its Northeast Corridor railway ran late. Amtrack solved the problem by commission Siemens to deploy 900 connected sensors to monitor equipment along the line and on the trains themselves.
The resulting data streams allowed Amtrak to spot potential problems before they developed. One year later, delays were down by a third. This is an example of how Internet of Things (IoT) is being applied in commercial scenarios to solve real problems.
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) predicts that by 2020, companies will be spending around US$310 billion annually on IoT, with manufacturing, energy and transportation industries accounting for much of the spend.
Applications of IoT will include areas such as predicting when machines will need maintenance; micromanaging energy usage in real-time; directing smart irrigation systems to water crops only when needed; and tracking the exact location of individual items in a large warehouse.
The applications of IoT today are concentrated around areas of efficiency and productivity. Future applications have yet to be defined.
The Deloitte report, IIoT Innovation Report 2018, postulates that IoT could have “a big impact on our everyday lives. Already many home devices, such as coffee makers, refrigerators and even juicers, are connected. These innovations could someday allow your alarm clock to notify your coffee maker to start brewing coffee when you wake up; your refrigerator to automatically re-ordered milk when you run out; and your car to text your boss when heavy traffic will make you late for work. It could also allow police to detect when a crime has occurred and respond much faster, or allow remote detection of when an elderly person falls and needs help.
In an exclusive with FureIoT, Google Hong Kong managing director, Leonie Valentine, discusses the growing influence of IoT across many industry sectors and business disciplines.