The Business Case for IOT

Shiv Gupta, Co-Founder & Director, IESoft Technologies IESoft Technologies has offices in Hyderabad, UAE, and Bahrain, and is one of the leading product development and software services companies in the world.

There has been a buzz around IOT in recent times which is only comparable to the buzz around the internet about 2 decades ago. And rightly so. The impact IOT can potentially have on industry, and life itself, will be pro found and the opportunity through the journey as well as the outcome is amazing! The question is not any more why IOT is important, but how IOT can be applied successfully to yield business and social value.

The business case for IOT
IOT is applicable in several domains and this is not a comprehensive list. It's just a summary of the highest propensity deployments which we are coming across.

Industry 4.0 - IT - OT Integration
Industrial IOT is enabling the 4th industrial revolution. As factories are getting digitised, operational systems can be integrated with information technology systems, so that the innovations in technologies such as insights, AI, Machine learning, and even simply, digital interfaces can be applied to manufacturing and supply chain management flows. This convergence of the Information Technology(IT)world and the Operational Technology(OT)world are yielding cost savings, efficiencies and innovation, and this will only increase in the years to come. Whether it is legacy sensors, SCADA and PLC net works, or it is newer sensors talking standards such as MQTT, connecting them up in a real time manner allows for preventive managment, demand management and production insights. The key is real time integration many a times information which is hours or days, or even minutes old is not good enough. Having the ability to integrate this real time device information, from fab to textiles to food processing, with decisioning systems, visibility systems and analytics systems bring in transparency, monitoring, very significant efficiency and cost savings.

Smart Mobility - Track and Trace
Smart Mobility is also another area where IOT is having a big impact. From fleet management systems to preventive maintenance, vehicles, machinery and even assets such as hospital beds are being tracked and traced. Visibility is the obvious benefit, but there is more to smart mobility. But there is more to it.

Further more,a smartphone can be viewed as a “super sensor” with quote a few other sensors, a cam era, and data connectivity. Apps at scale architecturally are no different to IOT solutions and can be treated similarly both form an implementation as well as from a business benefits perspective.

Smart Energy
Energy is another key area where IOT is getting adopted quickly with a huge impact. In India, the biggest challenge in the field of energy is distribution. Increasing the efficiency of distribution, whether it is the transmission lines,or smart meters, or an overall smart grid, IOT can provide visibility and real time troubleshooting and preventive maintenance capabilities.

Smart Living
Smart Living is often used as an umbrella term for smart homes, smart education, smart entertainment et al. This is the consumer set of use cases for IOT. There are lots of investments from giants in this area, be it Google or Amazon, Apple or Samsung - who have launched smart home solutions frameworks and continue to invest. Telecom operators already have presence in homes via internet, television set top boxes and can expand into smart home solutions. Device and appliance manufacturers are already working towards IOT enabling appliances, from refrigerators to washing machines to smart home locks. Remember Jini from Sun? The reason for the invention of Java? Jini didn’t take off back then, but IOT is progressing to fulfill the requirements.

Healthcare,Security, Governance and others
There is a long list of other areas where IOT is
benefiting, including healthcare, security, governance, and others. From asset management, to medical equipment measurement to wearables, healthcare would be completely transformed with IOT. Security such as smart locks, video surveillance, and digital footprints will be revolutionary. All this will translate to better governance, with data being analysed and better citizen services rolled out. AI and Machine learning need data streams to be effective and this data comes from sensors, CCT- Vs, devices etc. For example, AI and Machine learning algorithms could identify the abnormal, and predict threats. The same principles apply to healthcare imaging.

Smart Cities - Better Living
Smart City initiatives have been underway now for years and some cities lead by example in using IOT to improve the life of residents. Consider Singapore, where there are multiple smart city initiatives, from connected buses where each bus is GPS linked and bus stops and commuter apps can get real time arrival time, number of seats etc. There is a One service app which is a single app to report problems for public infrastructure across departments. There is a smart parking app, a one map app and many more. Smart buildings with sensor data being used for preventive maintenance of electricity, plumbing, lifts etc, and smart elderly care where homes of a few elderly as a pilot have been equipped with sensors for real time health, environment and movement monitoring are another couple of initiatives.

By 2020 in Singapore, all vehicles will be equipped with a smart device with GPS capabilities so that toll charging can be dynamic and congestion based depending on traffic conditions on time of day, day of week, with no need for any toll gantries!

All the above area realised by deploying and connecting various sensors, some more sophisticated than others and analysing the information in a smart way and acting on it. In many cities, like Singapore and Hong Kong, a smart lamppost system is also in various stages of deployment, where lampposts become connected senor hubs, weaving an IOT Matrix together. To complete the puzzle is a citi wide,or state/nationwide core “Data River” over which this IOT event data flows. This river carries the data to various systems, or data lakes in multiple departments and ministries, who put it to good, real time, relevant use. So as new sensors or new core systems get conceptualized, they leverage the core Data River expansion becomes easy and natural. The possibilities are limitless!

IOT and Fintech
Event Fintech is seeing benefits of innovative use cases. Early IOT experiments include tracking assets under loan and managing risk. This could include assets from vehicles to livestock or machinery. Whether it’s about tracking vehicles, such as goods transport vehicles or the running or machinery under loan, banks can monitor how the assets under loan are being utilized, which provides key inputs to the health of the credit.

At scale, data from multiple assets can be put through AI and Machine Learning models, with increasingly better prediction and management of risk and exposure. It’s early days for IOT and Fintech, but it’s a matter of time IOT leads to innovations in collaboration with fintech.

Realizing IOT - IOT Matrix
As it is apparent with the above discussion, IOT is not just a tool or even a solution play. Adopting IOT successfully ends up being an ecosystem play, which includes an end to end IOT platform, pluggable APIs to input sensor or human GUI data, and insights and analytics, as well as command and control business logic to realize the benefits.

To realize IOT successfully, an “IOT Matrix” approach, which is having a multi layered end to end solution, with the ability to plug and plan into ecosystems is a good approach.

Understanding the IOT Matrix
Understanding the IOT “Matrix”
The Components Sensors
The IOT Event River
The Digital Twin
Device Management
The end to end view - The IOT Plat form
Key Considerations in IOT
Scalability - IOT at India Scale
End to End Command and Control
Applying AI and ML to IOT.