Gartner forecasts that 6.4 billion objects will be connected in 2016 and 21 billion in 20201. These connected things will revolutionise our daily lives, whether in the personal or the professional sphere. In France, there are already a host of applications for the general public, and some have also been developed for businesses. IoT2 indeed today offers considerable scope for the improvement of business performance and cost optimisation.
IoT : a data source to be exploited in order to perform better
The first thing that IoT offers is the possibility of communicating information that is vital to the management of a company’s ecosystem.
For example, in the industrial sector, it is possible to monitor in real time the performance and status of machines thanks to connected sensors. Another possible application is the placement of RFID3labelson pallets in warehouses, thereby contributing to reduced costs and storage expenses.
Manitowoc, an American distributor of lifting equipment, has developed a system of connected sensors for monitoring its cranes. These tools make it possible to manage and inspect the equipment remotely using feedback from indicators: locations and positions of the cranes, operating diagnostics, activity reports4, etc.
In the field of healthcare, IoT enables the remote, real-time monitoring of patient health by equipping patients with connected bracelets. Doctors can monitor indicators such as heart rate and temperature. People on a course of treatment can also receive notifications to remind them to take their medication. In this way, this technology provides doctors with a means of optimising the time spent per patient, and thus to prioritise at-risk patients. Furthermore, this frees up hospital beds and optimises the schedules of medical staff.
Geolocation of objects and people
Today, geolocation is one of the fundamental usages of IoT.
In retail, sensors can be used for tracking the customer path through stores. Placed on shopping trolleys, they transmit data about shopping habits and make it possible to evaluate the time spent in each section and the flow-through ratio, as an aid for the marketing strategy.
In the industrial sector, geolocation provides significant logistical aid, in particular by means of activity trackers. By optimising itineraries, power consumption and vehicle fuel consumption can be reduced. Sensors can send data vital to machine maintenance and protect companies against the risks of theft and crime.
The Smart City: the ultimate application of the Internet of Things
Optimising the transport, motorway, maritime or air transport networks is a problem that towns and cities and local authorities attempt to address. This technology provides them with an answer for connecting and optimising flows of vehicles and people. There are many potential benefits: regulating traffic flows; improving safety and alerting users in the event of problems; supervising vehicle maintenance; etc. « Smart » cities ascribe precisely to this logic of itinerary optimisation. Another possible benefit is to improve the urban transport services, for example by informing users of traffic conditions or available parking spots.
€12 billion already spent
IoT is a subject that is becoming increasingly important in all sectors of activity. Indeed, no less than €12 billion was spent in 2015 in France by companies on this technology5. Moreover, in 2014, 20% had already made the decision to invest in IoT6. These numbers are sure to grow in the years to come, since these new technologies do indeed offer the possibility of addressing different types of needs: safety, equipment maintenance, remote inspection, time savings and cost management. The sectors of industry, healthcare and transport are indeed those that have generated the most revenue in recent years7 out of IoT.
To get on the innovation and continuous improvement bandwagon, companies are now aware that they need to invest and place their trust in this type of solution.
1 Gartner Institute
2 Internet of Things
3 Radio Frequency Identification