The Internet of Things (IoT) is the future and should eventually be game changing. The best definition of the IoT which I have found is the following from A.T.Kearney: “The Internet of Things is a seamless combination of embedded intelligence, ubiquitous connectivity, and deep analytical insights that creates unique and disruptive value for companies, individuals, and societies.”
IHS forecasts that the IoT market will grow from an installed base of 15.4 billion devices in 2015 to 30.7 billion devices in 2020 and 75.4 billion in 2025. Some of the markets which will see the greatest influence include home automation, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, and retail.
IoT and Home Automation Trends
Home automation is already here and will continue to develop. BI Intelligence predicts the number of smart home devices will grow from 83 million in 2015 to 193 million in 2020. Homes are going to become more intelligent, efficient, and cost-effective. Some examples include safety and security, thermostats, sprinklers, lighting, blinds, and entertainment equipment. Imagine a refrigerator that automatically reorders food, lights which turn off automatically when everyone goes to sleep, or smart thermostats integrated with smart blinds to heat and cool the house the most efficient way possible. All of these capabilities save the user time, money, and conserve more energy annually than they would without these systems.
IoT and Healthcare Trends
Healthcare is poised to see the greatest transformation among all industries. Forbes estimates that the IoT healthcare advancements will reach $117 billion by 2020. Wearable technology which is already in the marketplace will reinvent how doctors and patients communicate. Remote patient monitoring can monitor patients anywhere and notify doctors when there is an emergency or just collect routine data. Did you forget to take your medicine today? Your pill bottle will be able to send a reminder to your watch or phone so you don’t forget, or if you are running low, remind you that it’s time to refill your prescription.
The IoT Will Revolutionize the Transportation Industry
The IoT also will affect multiple transportation markets, including personal transportation and commercial transportation. All Tesla cars being produced now have full self-driving hardware. Tesla predicts that the safety level will be substantially greater than that of a human driver. Google has been testing self-driving cars, with only 20 crashes over seven years and millions of miles, and only one of the crashes was found to be the fault of the car. More recently, Apple recommitted to autonomous vehicles and is investing heavily. Not only are intelligent cars expected to be safer, they’re expected to be much more efficient at managing routes as well. The car’s onboard computer will be able to calculate a route based on distance, traffic, traffic light patterns and accidents and re-route dynamically as needed. Within 10 years, you’ll be calling for a driverless vehicle on your phone like you currently do for an Uber driver.
Commercial transportation is set for a major overhaul too. Currently, drivers account for a third of the per-mile costs of operating a truck. The truck’s onboard computer is programmed to keep trucks fixed to optimal speeds and acceleration for maximum fuel efficiency. Additionally, the trucks would have the capability of operating 24/7, whereas drivers are restricted to 11 hours a day and no more than 60 hours a week.
The Future of Manufacturing and Retail Markets
Across manufacturing, the IoT is making its way into products and processes. Leaders in the industry will be able to add significant value to enhance their position in the market through connected products and IoT-enabled services. By 2017, 60% of global manufacturers will use analytics to sense and analyze data from connected products and for the manufacturing and optimization of increasingly complex products. By 2018, the proliferation of advanced, purpose-built, analytic applications aligned with the IoT will result in 15% improvements in supply chain efficiency.
Beacon technology and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) are changing the retail world. Beacons are among the most important new mobile technologies helping real-world merchants win back sales. Big name retailers like Macy’s and Target are using beacons to communicate with consumers while in stores. Beacons connect with smartphone apps to offer coupons, loyalty points, payments and digital marketing programs. Beacon apps also collect powerful in-store activity for retailers. RFID technology uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. Imagine having a true view of 100% of your inventory on hand, including Smart Shelves that will detect low inventory and automatically reorder.
Material Handling Makes Leaps and Bounds Toward the Future
So, what does this mean to you and what are you doing to plan for the future? In the material handling world, telematics is gaining more and more momentum. The Raymond telematics platform (iWAREHOUSE) offers fleet and warehouse optimization, providing a comprehensive suite of solutions that collect and report on vehicle and operator performance and utilization. iWAREHOUSE also provides tools which range from battery monitoring, maintenance management, fleet optimization, labor management and predictive analytics.
What about Automated Guided Vehicles? AGV’s increase efficiency and reduce costs by helping to automate manufacturing or warehouse processes. AGVs are mobile robots that follow magnets or wires in the floor or use vision or lasers to navigate throughout a facility. Lastly, are you familiar with an Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems? An AS/RS can minimize labor costs, improve storage density, improve material organization and tracking, report which supplier’s product came from, and determine the length of time they have been in inventory. At Abel Womack, we’re committed to staying ahead of the curve when it comes to the IoT and the way it can revolutionize our world.
What are you doing to keep up with tomorrow, today? Leave us a comment below.