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After years of evangelization waiting for the promises of the Internet of Things (IoT) to come true it seems that we are finally close to reaching the trough of disillusionment phase, we begin to forget all the hype generated so far and focus on reality. A harsh reality that involves selling IoT and not continue selling smoke anymore

THE TIME TO SELL IoT IS NOW

The sale of IoT is perhaps more complex than the sale of other disruptive technologies such as Big Data, Cloud or AI and maybe as complex as Blockchain today.  In the article “ Welcome to the first “Selling IoT” Master Class!” I commented how it should be  the evolution of M2M Vendors for sell IoT and how should be the evolution of IT Technology Vendors for sell IoT. However, many of these companies still have difficulty in forming and finding good sellers of IoT

The truth is that nowadays it does not make any sense to sell IoT as a technology. Enterprise buyers only want to buy solutions that provide measurable business outcomes while, in the other side, many IoT Vendors only want to sell their portfolio of products and services that have been categorized under the umbrella of IoT, either as quickly as possible or at the lowest possible cost.

During last 5 years, I have been analysing how IoT companies sell their products and services. Some of my customers (Start-ups, Device vendors, Telco Operators, Platform vendors, Distributors, Industry Applications, System Integrators) requested me to create IoT sales material to train their sales team about how to sell their IoT solutions and services. And sometimes I also helped Head Hunters or customers searching for IoT sales experts

Based on this varied experience I have launched this year a new service: “IoT Sales Workshops” to help companies train their internal teams in how to sell IoT. Here are some of the lessons I learned

  • There is a time for act as an IoT Sales generalist and a time for act as an IoT Specialist.
  • You need to adapt the IoT storytelling based on your audience.
  • Being an IoT expert is not synonymous with being successful in selling IoT.
  • You need to show how companies can get more out of IoT by solving a specific business problem.
  • Make it easy for the customer to see the benefits of your IoT product or IoT service and what is the value you are adding.
  • Given the complexity and specialization of IoT by vertical, explain companies the need to focus more closely at business cases, on their IoT business model as well as the ROI over three to four years before jumping into technology.
  • You need to be patient because IoT selling is not easy and takes time align strategy and business needs with the IoT products and services you are selling.
  • Build a strong ecosystem and make easy the customer the adoption of end to end IoT solution collaborating with your partners.
  • Train your IoT Business and Technical experts to get better at telling stories. Design a new marketing and sales communications playbook. Keep it simple. Build your narrative from the foundation up – one idea at a time.
  • If you want an IoT sales expert you need to pay for it (not expect miracles from external sales agents working on commission base).
  • IoT Sales is a full-time job. You will not have time to other enterprise activities.
  • Selling IoT to large enterprises is a teamwork process.
  • Be Persistent. Do not expect big deals soon.
  • Be Passionate, Be Ambitious, Be Disruptive to sell IoT.

Summary

I do not consider myself an IoT sales expert. And of course, neither a superman of sales. In fact, I have shied away from classifying myself in the role of a pure salesperson even though over time I have given a weight and value to this work that once seemed derogatory to me.

Sell IoT is not easy. In a few years we will have forgotten of the word IoT and we will be selling new hypes, but in the mean time you need to be prepared for disillusionment moments, long sales cycles and a lot of work with sometimes poor results. However, I do not know if will be 2020, suddenly if you persevere you probably will be awarded as the best IoT sales expert and you finally will earn a lot of money.

Be Persistent, Be Passionate, Be Ambitious, Be Disruptive to sell IoT

 

Thanks for your Likes and Shares

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IoT Tech Expo was unique in that provided opportunities to connect with leaders at the intersection of internet-of-things(IoT), artificial intelligence(AI) and blockchain.  Speakers showcased discussed their projects and many vendors shared their expertise.  Presentations and panelists discussed real-world implementations from John Deere, Porsche, Pfizer, Harley Davidson just to name a few.  The conference itself covered a lot of ground: there were entire speaker tracks for IoT Developers, Connected Industry, Connected Transportation, AI Analytics for IoT, AI in the Enterprise, Blockchain for the Enterprise, Blockchain for Enterprise, Cryptofinance & ICO Strategies, Blockchain for Business, and Blockchain development. This article shares some the key take-aways and interesting anecdotes from IoT implementations we collected from the show.
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The Dynamics of ODMs and OEMs

I've seen a lot of different thoughts about "original equipment manufacturers" and "original design manufacturers" recently, so I figured I'd offer my observations from my time working in Shenzhen for my IoT company.

Backstory: we’re partnered with Qualcomm to cloud enable bluetooth mesh technology across myriad US, Asian, and European based companies, primarily for lighting and smart home products in consumer/commercial markets. I spent about 6 months in Shenzhen and Hong Kong during 2017 putting together the supply chain partnerships.

From what I’ve experienced, “brand,” i.e. the companies we’re familiar with as consumers, and Original Equipment Manufacturer “OEM” are used interchangeably, while Original Design Manufacturer “ODM” refers to the “factory.”

In most of my interactions, there is a tight albeit painful relationship between the OEM and ODM in consumer electronics because cooperation between multiple vendors is often required to get a product to market, especially in IoT. Typically, the most differentiated intellectual property (IP) is in the hands of the OEM (brand)— industrial design, software, firmware, and it’s in their best interests to obfuscate as much as possible throughout the supply chain to make it harder to replicate the technology, which everyone assumes will happen. And it does. This is especially true during the rise of the IoT, where connectivity challenges plague both sides of the pond, and clever solutions are the 11th hour superpower everyone is fighting to find first to use as leverage in the supply chain. 

There is another class of manufacturers— not sure the technical name, but we call them “module makers” — companies that specialize in the design and production of drop-in PCB modules for various connectivity chipsets to make them easier to productize. An example would be ITON, who provides chips for several of GE’s products to the prime ODM (such as Leedarson or Eastfield) who is responsible for final assembly (note: many ODMs are also module makers— they keep chips in house to maximize control and profits).

Both ODMs and module makers participate in a process of product innovation that presupposes the market. Chipmakers (and other tech vendors) like Qualcomm send their reps out to the factories to demo new silicon technology in the form of a “reference design” in a bid to get the ODM to create a module or product based on that chipset that answers to a trend they’ve noticed from their OEM/brand customers. In this way, the ODM bears the R&D cost as a bet for business, but doing so gives them a chance to retain the right to get a royalty on every module sold. Ask an ODM to hand over any firmware they've made and they’ll tell you with their sweet puppy dog eyes “eat my shorts” because it’s how they keep you from just taking everything to another vendor.

For brands like Home Depot (or more generally companies less interested in designing hardware) these ODMs are essential because they are flexible enough to develop a catalog of partially developed products on speculation— whatever successfully sells up the food chain at Home Depot, they make real (note: the “make real” part is where a lot hits the fan because this stuff is hard to scale).

The OEM-ODM-module maker ecosystem creates a sort of “it takes a village to make a product” atmosphere, but with grumpy uncles, annoying neighbors, and meddling kids abounding. There's a constant sense of quiet espionage on both sides, although that tends to get better if you develop a direct relationship with your mfg partners. Western business has evolved to sustain trust with purely transactional relationships-- this is way less true in places like China. Go to lunch with them and take them to dinner a few times, invite them to Macau, get them drunk and having fun with you. These relationships are insurance policies on getting screwed. Further, having boots on the ground near your manufacturing is practically a requirement nowadays if you want to have any hope of your supply chain operating smoothly. 

In the case of a brand like Apple, who meticulously defines and controls every little detail of their product and supply chain works with an Electronic Manufacturing Services company “EMS” like Foxconn who primarily invest only in building other designs precisely to specification.

So OEM v. EMS: OEM: “build this for me, exactly like this, and don’t ask too many questions, or I’ll eat your children.” 

EMS: ;)

The ODM/OEM relationship is a bit shakier: 

OEM: “build this for me, and pretty please do your best not to use lead paint or explode my users.” 

ODM: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

All that said, many companies I’ve encountered are chimeric— companies that usually do business as an EMS could also be caught as an ODM if the opportunity is right. I’ve wracked my brain over how to approach meetings with ODMs that also have an OEM/brand side to the company. The ODM side is a potential partner while the OEM side is a potential customer— in the already confusing world of IoT this can be quite the rollercoaster.

I could be off, but the cash value of the above has navigated me through hella lots of conversations from ivory tower to where the dog food gets made. It is a truly global and complex web of associations, across cultural, language, political, and social boundaries. Read “Poorly Made in China” and “Barbarians at the Gate” to see the differences in East vs. West strategies for business success, which I see as orthogonal values of Replication and Dominance.

If you’re interested, here’s a great article by a Shenzhen based supply chain expert: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/3-types-partners-product-managers-can-use-development-changtsong-lin/

 

Thanks for reading! Our company is expert at IoT integrations, and we thrive on building ecosystems of partners with positive feedback loops on new services and revenue streams. Kindred spririts, please reach out to me at [email protected] 

 

Best, 

 Preston

COO @ Droplit

https://droplit.io

[email protected]

 

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A field guide describing the 5 approaches to industrial IoT platform development and how to know which approach is the right one for your enterprise based on your goals, requirements, constraints, and where you are today in your digital transformation journey.
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The Internet of Things is revolutionizing the retail industry, coming in it with the improved shopping experience, automated business processes, enhanced digital marketing, and optimized inventory and supply chain management.

Providing retailers with various advantages, IoT technology also enables them to boost sales and increase customer loyalty. Oracle discovered that when applying RFID tags, retail companies can achieve 99% inventory accuracy, a 50% reduction in out-of-stocks, and a 70% reduction in shrinkage.

 

The global IoT retail market is predicted to grow from $14 billion in 2015 to $36 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 20%. In its report about the Internet of Things, Verizon found that retailers believe in the IoT potential and have a positive attitude towards adopting IoT in their work:

 

  • 77% of retailers said that IoT solutions help improve the customer experience;
  • 89% of companies said they got the understanding of customer shopping habits, needs, and preferences thanks to using IoT solutions.

 

Promising to innovate and transform the retail industry, IoT solutions are becoming widely introduced for solving a wide range of issues. Here I’ve listed the main use cases describing how IoT is applied by retailers and what benefits they do receive.

 

IoT applications in Retail

 

Beacon alerts & in-store navigation

 

Customer interactions are a key success factor in all business. Through beacons, retailers can easily reach the user audience, increase customer loyalty, and raise profit. Beacons are IoT Bluetooth-enabled devices that use low-energy Bluetooth connections to automatically send push notifications directly to user smartphones once they appear in the operating area.

As beacons are small, they can be attached to almost any place, for instance, walls and counters. In the retail industry, beacons are mainly used for customer in-store navigation, sending push notifications, and collecting customer data.

In connection with mobile applications, retailers can motivate customers to make more purchases by notifying them about discounts and special offerings when they enter the coverage zone, generally near a certain shop. Also, in large shopping centers, beacons are irreplaceable for navigating customer and showing them the best routes to the place they need.

 

Customer data

 

Customer data plays a key role in any business dealing with customers. Retail companies do need to know their audience in order to make them make purchases and increase profit while delivering an amazing personalized experience. Satisfied customers are returning clients.)

IoT solutions suit great for collecting customer data, including the determination of customer buying habits, needs, preferences, favorite routes in the shopping center, and the most popular goods as well.  

By sending all these data to the analytical system, where it’s processed and analyzed, retailers can find out what they should improve. In some cases, for example, it will be better to change the placement of shelves or clothes. Also, with the audience understanding retailers can launch successful marketing campaigns and provide personalization.

 

Personalized shopping experience

 

Traditionally, customer relationships were built on the basis of face-to-face communications. For now, personalized experience takes the center stage and significantly impacts consumer purchasing decisions.

To boost sales and retain customers, retail companies are adopting IoT solutions to deliver the best shopping experience possible. By using beacons, mobile apps, push notifications, and customer analytics, retailers get the ability to understand the needs and preferences of their customers and ensure successful targeting when creating advertising campaigns.

 

Supply chain management

 

Like in many other sectors, supply chain management takes an important part in the retail too. Retailers integrate IoT solutions for load tracking, driver activity monitoring, tracing the delivery process, transportation management, as well as viewing load/driver location in real time. This way, the Internet of Things can enable a transparent supply chain management and help achieve “just-in-time” delivery much easier.

 

Optimized asset management

 

IoT applications are widely used for asset tracking and management. Using RFID tags, mobile apps, and other technologies for inventory tracking, retail companies can accomplish up to 100% inventory accuracy, minimize unexpected out-of-stocks, enable end-to-end store inventory management, and increase sales margins by up to 10% as a result.

What’s more, IoT solutions provide retailers with the ability to track the assortment of goods, analyze product popularity, and check out the information about goods any time they need, including their availability in the store, brand name, price, and description.

 

As you see, there are many useful IoT applications in the retail industry. With the use of additional devices and technologies, improvements in sensors, enhanced connectivity and machine learning tools, retailers automate operations, optimize various processes, reduce costs, and deliver the personalized experience.

 

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As demand for location services in all areas of the Internet of Things (IoT) grows, so too has the requirement for precision location. For many applications, especially those that need to scale to cover large areas, providing ”proximity zone” types of location is simply not accurate enough. That means the old way of determining location—primarily using Bluetooth beacons—is no longer sufficient.

Bluetooth beacons have been the go-to solution for determining location for years, but they have three limiting factors:

  • Beacons only work with smartphones, not tags, which limits how they can be used
  • They are able to locate objects in best case within 3-4 meters, which is fine for determining a general location, but is not refined enough to meet the requirements for many of today’s applications
  • Beacons are battery-operated, which impacts their ability to deliver real-time location; frequent transmissions drain the device’s battery, meaning frequent replacements are necessary

The shortcoming of beacons and other location technologies that rely on smartphones has spawned an industry shift to a more network-centric approach, with the intelligence moving to the receiver antenna and a centralized software application, rather than the intelligence residing in a smartphone app. That, in turn, has launched the development of a wide range of active, low-cost Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) tags with long battery life and possible on-board sensors.

Another shift occurring is a change in how signals from these tags are measured to determine location. The traditional method—using signal strength to estimate location—does not take into consideration how the signal will be impacted by its environment.  While a weak signal could indicate an object is far away from a beacon, it’s also possible a physical object, such as a concrete pillar or wall, is impacting the signal. 

Two new approaches are emerging for BLE angle estimation. The first is based on the signal’s Angle of Arrival (AoA)—the precise direction the device is from the receiver antenna arrays. With AoA, multiple antennas are used within the same devices to measure the signal. This allows the antenna to locate a tag or smartphone with accuracy of 10 to 20 centimeters, not meters.

The second approach considers the signal’s Angle of Departure (AoD). In this approach, the location intelligence is moved back to the mobile devices. The AoD approach works like "indoor GPS," where the fixed infrastructure devices (aka Locators) are only broadcasting and are not aware of the receiving devices, similarly to how a GPS Satellite works. This means the capability to locate an unlimited amount of devices, and no privacy issues. 

As the use cases for indoor location services continue to grow, with every industry from manufacturing and logistics to healthcare and retail, to law enforcement and beyond clamoring for more precision, new approaches beyond Bluetooth beacons need to be considered. The AoA and AoD methodologies are quickly gaining momentum as the next generation of location technology.

Guest post by Antti Kainulainen is CTO & cofounder of Quuppa. Before Quuppa, he was with Nokia Research Center (NRC) during 2005-2012, where he was the lead engineer in several projects related to indoor positioning. He also took part in the standardization work of the Bluetooth Wireless technology. Antti received his M.Sc. degree in technology from Helsinki University of Technology in 2007. He has 16 granted patents and 22 pending patent applications. More at www.quuppa.com

 

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"One day I'm in my cubicle, Steve shows up with someone I've never met before. He asks me, 'Guy, what do you think of this company Knoware?'. I said, 'Well Steve, it is a mediocre company, mediocre product, lot of drilling practises, doesn't make full use of graphics, just basic mediocrity, nothing that strategic for us.' He says to me, 'I want you to meet the CEO of Knoware.' So that's what was like working for Steve Jobs. ‘You always have to be on the ball.

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. The flow of information has also changed the way we live in today’s world.

Your mark on the world begins…

Every morning when we read a newspaper having out so much information we came to know the latest happening in the world (of course in details), yeah you are right even the internet edition also. This is just a very basic example of IoT. All our Railways, Air and even sea networks are connected with the help of IoT. We can take the example of banking. It is very easy to transact any amount of money from part of the world to other with help of e-commerce. We can purchase anything online with help of debit and credit cards. This has made our lives more and more simple. People are working on the internet without really having to go outside to their workplace. IoT has changed the whole scenario. Companies can share technologies online. Even the doctors can guide the other doctors while operating on a patient with the help of Information Technology. A whole new world is coming our way. Technology is allowing us to reimagine our future transportation system. Advances in connected automation, navigation, communication, robotics, and smart cities—coupled with a surge in transportation-related data—will dramatically change how we travel and deliver goods and services. Automation in the field of transportation is everywhere. Have we as humans become an afterthought? We order service on our smartphones, we manoeuvre around in increasingly automated vehicles, we ride in driverless transport, and we will increasingly find ourselves sharing our highways and byways with drones and other unmanned craft.

1) SaaS & Bring Your Own Device

Global movements such as BYOD and SaaS, where consumerisation of IT and mobility are drastically changing the capabilities of employees and their expectations of a workspace. Building your own apps is the ideal way to mitigate the risk of BYOD and SaaS. An organisation can provide those that only allow the user to access what they need. The enter-prise’s concern is the data; the employee’s concern is the device. In the IT security world, we care about both. Now that most of the organizations started adopting BYOD in some form, it is not just their personal iPads and laptops that users are bringing into the office, they are also using the consumer apps available in their personal device for work purpose which leads to the next wave in mobility. In the very near future BYOD won’t be a ‘trend’ but a norm no one would think twice about.

2) The Emergence of Big Data

 "Big data" alluringly holds out the promise of competitive advantages to companies that can use it to unlock secrets about customers, website usage and other key elements of their business operations. Big Data now stream from daily life: from phones and credit cards and televisions and computers; from the infrastructure of cities; from sensor-equipped buildings, trains, buses, planes, bridges, and factories. It's estimated that 43 trillion gigabytes of new data will be created by the year 2020. 

3) Cloud computing: How it's transforming the role of IT

Market conditions require significant change and many organizations are using this driver as an opportunity to simplify their applications and data through rationalization and technology innovations such as Cloud Computing. Cloud is defined as any cloud service where consumers are able to access software applications over the internet. The applications are hosted in “the cloud” and can be used for a wide range of tasks for both individuals and organisations. Google, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr are all examples of SaaS, with users able to access the services via any internet enabled device. Cloud is also the fastest growing because it keeps pace with emerging and future business models than on-premise systems, the majority of which were designed for business models of the past.

The next step, moving towards virtual workspaces, can make organisations far more agile but only if those responsible for the IT (and in effect, the productivity) of the employees understand the relationship employees have with their devices and how these change throughout the day based on their personal preference – be it a smartphone for the train, a tablet device for a client meeting or a laptop for remote working at home.

4) Millions of sensitive IT services exposed to the Internet

All the more the Internet is becoming more and more important for nearly everybody as it is one of the newest and most forward-looking media and surely "the" medium of the future. These advances—in fields such as robotics, A.I., computing, synthetic biology, 3D printing, medicine, and nanomaterials—are making it possible for small teams to do what was once possible only for governments and large corporations: solve the grand challenges in education, water, food, shelter, health, and security. Technology is, today, moving faster than ever. Advances that took decades, sometime centuries, such as the development of telephones, airplanes, and the first computers, now happen in years.

The macro trends that have changed the playing field in the past 10 years have been cloud, mobility, Big Data, and social networking. An even bigger trend ahead will be the Internet of Things that will extend information technology into every aspect of our lives. IT has become more agile and responsive to the needs of the business. While cloud was considered hype just a few years ago, the cloud in its many forms, private, public, hybrid, is transforming IT into a service model. IT leaders who embraced these changes have been able to do more with less and have proven their strategic value.

According to Steve, the iPhone was originally a tablet project. Partway through the R&D process, he said, “Hmm, we can make a phone out of this.” After the launch, many people rewrote history and said that the purpose of the iPhone was to reinvent the future of telephony.

Today, technology is, moving faster than ever. The ubiquity of network connectivity and the proliferation of smart devices (such as sensors, signs, phones, tablets, lights, and drones) have created platforms upon which every enterprise can innovate. Since the past few years we have also seen countless innovations that improve our daily lives. From Internet technology to finance to genetics and beyond - we have seen technologies such as mobile, social media, smartphones, big data, predictive analytics, and cloud, among others are fundamentally different than the preceding IT-based technologies. And advances in science and technology have changed the way we communicate, our thought processes, exchange views, understand the way we relate to one another and think about what it means to be a real Innovative change maker. Perhaps one day you too can be a part of reinventing something which is new, timely, relevant and useful.

 

Best Regards,

Raj Kosaraju

 

Raj Kosaraju specializes on Cloud Computing, Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence, Supply Chain Management, Big Data & IoT.

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What is a smart city? The answer depends on who you ask. Solutions providers will tell you it’s smart parking, smart lighting or anything to do with technology. City officials may tell you it’s about conducting city business online, such as searching records or applying for permits. City residents may tell you it’s the ease of getting around, or about crime reduction. Everyone is right. A smart city, built properly, will have different value for different stakeholders. They may not think of their city as a “smart”city. They know it only as a place they want to live in, work in, and be a part of. To build this type of city, you have to first build the smart city ecosystem.

 

A smart city is built on technology, but focused on outcomes

A scan of the various smart city definitions found that technology is a common element. For example, TechTarget defines a smart city as “a municipality that uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare”. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) envisions a smart city as one that brings together technology, government and society to enable the following characteristics: a smart economy, smart mobility, a smart environment, smart people, smart living, smart governance.

But what does a smart city really do? Our scan of smart city projects worldwide showed that initiatives fell into one or more smart city “outcomes” (Figure One).

Figure One. Smart city projects are aligned to one of seven outcomes.

 

As a starting point, we define a smart city is one that uses technology extensively to achieve key outcomes for its various stakeholders, including residents, businesses, municipal organizations and visitors.

 

The smart city ecosystem framework

Figure Two shows our framework for a smart city ecosystem. A vibrant and sustainable city is an ecosystem comprised of people, organizations and businesses, policies, laws and processes integrated together to create the desired outcomes shown in Figure One. This city is adaptive, responsive and always relevant to all those who live, work in and visit the city. A smart city integrates technology to accelerate, facilitate, and transform this ecosystem.

Figure Two. The smart city ecosystem framework.

 

Four types of value creators

There are four types of value creators in the smart city ecosystem. They create and consume value around one of the outcomes listed in Figure One.

When people think of a smart city, they automatically think of services provided by municipal and quasi-government agencies, such as smart parking, smart water management, smart lighting, and so on. In fact, there are three other value providers and users that co-exist in the smart city – businesses and organizations, communities, and residents.

Businesses and organizations may create services that use and create information to create outcomes for its stakeholders. Some examples of “smart” businesses include Uber and Lyft for personal mobility, NextDoor for information sharing, and Waze/Google for traffic and commute planning.

Communities are miniature smart cities, but with very localized needs. Some examples of potential smart communities include university campuses, office parks, airports, cargo ports, multi-dwelling unit (MDU) or apartment complexes, housing developments/neighborhoods, business districts and even individual “smart” buildings. They have needs for smart services that may be tailored specifically for their stakeholders.

Residents or individual citizens are also smart services providers in the smart city. A resident living near a dangerous street intersection can point a camera at the intersection and stream that information live to traffic planners and police. Residents place air quality measurement sensors on their properties to monitor pollution and pollen levels during certain times of the year, and make that information available to other community members. Residents can choose to make these smart services temporary or permanent, and free or fee based.

 

The Smart City is built on layers

A smart city is an ecosystem comprised of multiple “capability layers”. While technology is a critical enabler, it is just one of many foundational capabilities that every smart city must have. No one capability is more important than the rest. Each capabilities plays a different role in the smart city. These capabilities must integrate and coordinate with each other to carry out its mission.

 

Value layer. This is the most visible layer for city residents, businesses, visitors, workers, students, tourists and others. This layer is the catalog of smart city services or “use cases”, centered around the outcomes (Figure One), and offered by value creators and consumed by the city stakeholders.

Innovation layer. To stay relevant, value creators in the smart city must continuously innovate and update its services for its stakeholders. Smart cities proactively facilitate this through a variety of innovation programs, including labs, innovation zones, training, ideation workshops, skills development and partnerships with universities and businesses.

Governance, management and operations layer. The smart city creates disruption and results in digital transformation of existing processes and services. Smart city management models must integrate a new ecosystem of value creators and innovators. They must plan, support and monetize new business models, processes and services. They must upgrade their existing infrastructure and management processes to support “smart” services. Finally, they must measure the performance of the city with a new set of metrics.

Policy, processes, and public-private partnerships, and financing layer. The smart city doesn’t just magically appear one day. An entirely new set of engagement models, rules, financing sources, and partners are required to build, operate and maintain the smart city. Cities must develop a new set of “smart” competencies in order to get and stay in the “smart city game”.

Information and data layer. The lifeblood of the smart city is information. The smart city must facilitate this in several ways, including open data initiatives, data marketplaces, analytics services, and monetization policies. Equally important, they must have programs that encourage data sharing and privacy policies to protect what and how data is gathered.

Connectivity, accessibility and security layer. People, things and systems are interconnected in the smart city. The ability to seamlessly connect all three, manage and verify who and what is connected and shared, while protecting the information and users is crucial. The highest priorities for smart cities are to provide a seamless layer of trusted connections.

Smart city technology infrastructure layer. Most people automatically think of technology when talking about smart cities. The smart city technology infrastructure must scale beyond the traditional municipal users and support a new class of value creators, and city/user stakeholders.

 

Leveraging the smart city ecosystem framework

The smart city is a complex ecosystem of people, processes, policies, technology and other enablers working together to deliver a set of outcomes. The smart city is not “owned” exclusively by the city. Other value creators are also involved, sometimes working in collaboration and sometimes by themselves. Successful and sustainable smart cities take a programmatic approach to engage its stakeholders across the ecosystem.

Our research has found that many cities are not taking an ecosystem approach to smart city projects. This is due in part to smart city projects being managed by the Information Technology (IT) organization where their charter is on systems development and deployment. In contrast, more experienced smart cities manage their smart city programs through internal cross functional “Transformation” or “Innovation” organizations.

Regardless of where cities are in their smart city journey, they must get ahead of the “curve” with smart city projects. They begin by thinking in terms of building the broader ecosystem in order to create a sustainable and scalable smart city. Key next steps include:

  1. Understand the smart city ecosystem framework and tailor it to the realities of their specific city. Incorporate this model into the development of their smart city vision, strategy and execution plans.
  2. Relative to the smart city ecosystem framework, identify current capabilities and gaps across the various layers. Understand what is needed to support the four types of value creators.
  3. Evaluate existing and new smart city projects and initiatives against the ecosystem framework. Use this framework to identify what is missing from the project plans and what is needed to make the projects fully successful.
  4. Prioritize and develop competencies across the various ecosystem layers. A smart city requires new skills and competencies. Augment existing capabilities through strategic partnerships and contracting with service providers, as required.

 

About:

Benson Chan is an innovation catalyst at Strategy of Things, helping companies transform the Internet of Things into the Innovation of Things through its innovation laboratory, research analyst, consulting and acceleration (execution) services. He has over 25 years of scaling innovative businesses and bringing innovations to market for Fortune 500 and start-up companies. Benson shares his deep experiences in strategy, business development, marketing, product management, engineering and operations management to help IoTCentral readers address strategic and practical IoT issues.

This post was co-authored with Renil Paramel, an IoT Innovation Catalyst, Strategist and Senior Partner at Strategy of Things.

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The predicted growth of the IoT market in manufacturing is unprecedented. At the moment, Markets and Markets researchers predict it to reach $13.49 billion by 2020. Just to give you some perspective, in 2015 the value of this market was estimated at $4.11 billion. The main IoT technology applications in manufacturing revolve around enhancing connectivity and automation. The main goal of this tech is to maximize the efficiency of the manufacturing process while minimizing its costs. The benefits of utilizing digital solutions in this industry are a great motivation for the developers as seeing what has already been achieved prompts them to see how far they can push these solutions.

The most important benefits, no doubt responsible for such a tremendous growth of the IoT manufacturing industry, include:

Boost in Work Efficiency

 

Constant improvement of the manufacturing operation is one of the main goals for any industrial business owner. Implementing IoT technology on any level of the manufacturing allows to:

  • Automate the production process, or some of its steps
  • Pre-test new ideas and designs (using a combination of advanced modeling and testing solutions)
  • Analyze the production process and identify its strengths and weaknesses
  • Save time and money for the business by increasing the efficiency of both the production line and employees
  • Monitor the manufacturing business performance at all times, analyze the data, and use this information for accurate predictions

Steady Improvements in Performance

 

The most important benefit of the contemporary IoT solutions is their ability to improve constantly by simply ‘doing their job’. The AI that governs them is usually programmed to process data collected during the manufacturing process and optimizing that process based on it.

As the system is regulated by the AI developed specifically for it, the efficiency and accuracy of these changes and advancements are greater than any settings set by man. However, making manual adjustments is possible and this will add another layer to the machine’s betterment. The intuitive operation systems of today will memorize the most effective patterns in the production process and find a multitude of ways to achieve or even improve those results. They will do this with utmost accuracy and speed. Utilizing these particular solutions can make even a small manufacturing business into a big player on its market.

Creating the Perfect Environment for Innovation

 

Manufacturing facilities reigned by IoT technology are extremely flexible. This means that the business owner is able to integrate new solutions quickly and boost the production process’ efficiency right away.

Most importantly, implementing this technology allows to step away from the traditional linear production process. This, in turn, leads to the creation of more efficient singular production cycles organized into a cohesive system that can adjust to the change in manufacturing demand immediately. Such a scheme allows for the most efficient use of resources.

This kind of ‘cluster’ manufacturing also enables the owner to monitor the entire system more easily. One can determine where an issue occurs and have other sectors pick up the slack if possible. In any case, this scheme allows making quick and more accurate fixes for any problems.

Allowing for Predictive Maintenance

 

Predictive maintenance is a very efficient method of cutting the manufacturing costs. It is exactly what the name states, a maintenance based on predictions. It’s a step up from preventative maintenance as it’s more effectively targeted.

Predictive analytics drive this solution and allow you to maximize the equipment output while minimizing the costs for its maintenance. Note that using such technology also helps you save money you would have lost due to the manufacturing process stopping.

The IoT for the manufacturing industry develops extremely fast with dozens of solutions released for any kind of business. Embracing this technology now can not only give one an edge over the competition. With the high popularity rate of this tech, not using any of these solutions is sure to marginalize the business.

Adam Flamberg is a consultant at DO Supply.

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Two years back when my employer asked me to take over the role of an IoT project manager, my first reaction to that was “Why me”? It was quite an obvious response you get when ask a mechanical engineer to jump into the IT world and to start dealing with terminologies like data protocols, cloud, database, microservices and so on. There are then two ways to handle this kind situation: Either you quit or to take the challenge. I (luckily) went for the second option. 

The major issue which the companies, pursuing digital transformation around the globe, facing is the lack of expertise. You cannot fire 50% of your existing staff just because they cannot program or cannot describe a cloud. On the other hand, the market (still) lack some comprehensive training or courses which can help the individuals with no IT background to undergo the transition from non-IT to basic-IoT and finally to advance IoT. To sum up, it comes down to two issues: Companies want to pursue digital transformation, but they lack expertise, and the existing staff is not capable of filling this gap. 

Let’s not consider the worst case scenario (though they exist) in which firms fire thousands of their once loyal employees and outsource the development projects to IT service provides. There is another way out in which employees take the initiative in their hand and start teaching themselves IoT in an easy and at the same time productive manner. Here are my three (proven) tips in this regards to fellow non-IT colleagues. 

Tip 1: Learn something new and narrate it to your spouse: 

Try explaining to your wife what the terms cloud, gateway, data protocol, digital twin etc. means. Do this in a way that you can map it onto his or her daily routine. For instance explain your spouse the concept behind the smart home or an intelligence dishwasher which calculates the number of cycles executed, amount of water, load and so on. This dishwasher speaks a unique language which is called MQTT which allows him to talk to the internet which in turn using some analytics try to make this dishwasher intelligent. 

If you are lucky enough then your spouse has almost nothing to do with the topic of IoT. That makes the task more challenging but will have a better outcome. This since you have to break down every buzzword into a simplified form to make the explanation quite easy. The more and more in-depth you explain, better you will get with the topics of IoT. 

Tip 2: Write a blog on IoT or related topics: 

That’s one of the reasons I am here. I wrote my first blog in 2017 on RAMI 4.0 topic. The idea here was not to get people’s attention but to gain an insight on the subject. You cannot write an article on a topic before doing intense research on it. I was finding it difficult to understand the concept behind RAMI 4.0, so I decided to write on it. The best thing about these kinds of blogs is that they result in some discussion which in turn enriches your knowledge about the topic. 

Here again, I would like to the point that you are not writing to impress someone but to make yourself and other non-IT individuals understand the concept behind a particular IoT topic. Last but not the least, keep the article and the content as simple as possible as Steve House said: “The simpler you can make the things the richer the experience becomes”. 

Tip 3: Buy yourself a single board computer and start experimenting

I am not marketing raspberry pi or any other single board computer here, but these devices are small wonder box which can show you the way to a “self-developed” IoT use case. What you need is a small programmable computer or an IoT device which you can customize depending on the type of use case you want to try. I decided for pi 3 since they are lots of literature and videos available on the net explaining IoT projects with Pi. The next step is to get a demo version of a cloud service provider of your choice and visit the tutorial page. You do not have to be an IT expert to try some of the use cases mentioned there. The examples cited there are described a simplified way and is like putting LEGO blocks together. I used the Microsoft Azure platform and tutorial to program a use case which sends an alarm /e-mail notification in case of temperature higher than 25 degrees C. 

The step by step description of the use case can be found at Azure tutorial (docs.microsoft). If you follow these carefully then your solution would look something like this:

                                                              Dashboard Azure IoT

 

                                                Code running on Raspberry Pi 3

 

Here for instance, if the temperature is above 25 degrees C, the signal is set to “true” and is transferred to your IoT hub within Azure using service bus. There the logic –App takes this information, process it and trigger the notification (G-mail-send email 2 function) to my Gmail.

                                                                                     Logic App

 

                                                                         Trigger view in Logic App

 

The screenshot below shows the number of incoming requests (from Pi to IoT Hub) as well as the outgoing messages at one particular run.

 

                                                                        Incoming requests vs outgoing messages

 

                                                                                Email-notification

I did not program even a single line here. So what’s holding you back? Start writing a blog or grab yourself an IoT device and start experimenting.

 

 

 

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The world is flooded with digital innovation and technologies like IoT, 5G wireless network & embedded AI continues to increase the pace of change. At present millions of apps are coming online to monitor, measure, process, analyze, react to seemingly storm of endless data making the growth of IoT explosive as well as impressive. Now we all are aware regarding the fact that the internet of Things heavily relies on cloud technology not only to store large amounts of data collected from sensors but also process it.

What is Fog computing?

In simple words, Fog computing is a system-level horizontal architecture that distributes resources and services of computing, storage, control and networking anywhere along the continuum from Cloud to Things. It can be summarized as:

Horizontal architecture- Support multiple industry verticals and application domains, delivering intelligence and services to users and business

Cloud-to-thing continuum of services- Enable services and applications to be distributed closer to Things, and anywhere along the continuum between Cloud and Things

System-level- Extend from the Things, over the network edges, through the Cloud, and across multiple protocol layers – not just radio systems, not just a specific protocol layer, not just at one part of an end-to-end system, but a system spanning between the Things and the Cloud

Its key benefits include:

  • Ultra-low latency
  • Business agility
  • Added security
  • Real-time analytics
  • Reduced costs
  • Less bandwidth and network load

Have you ever wondered how fog architecture leverages and extends edge capabilities? Here’s the answer

Compute Distribution and Load Balancing- Many edge architecture employs a strategy of placing servers, apps or small clouds at the edge. Fog simply provides a broader system-level architecture that also incorporates tools for distributing, orchestrating, managing and securing resources and services across networks. This provides a great balance of sophisticated computation, networking and storage capabilities and support for heterogeneous environments on any node (e.g., CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, and DSPs for computing).

Hierarchical networking- Edge is often optimized for a single type of network resource at the network edges, such as edge gateways, routers, switches, or licensed spectrum wireless networks. Fog supports a physical and logical network hierarchy of multiple levels of cooperating nodes, supporting distributed applications. Fog nodes extend the edge with support for north-south, east-west and diagonal connectivity, including interfaces between edge and cloud. This could include, for example, analytics algorithms distributed up and down a hierarchy of nodes, or massively parallel applications that concurrently run on large peer groups of processors or highly distributed storage systems.

Universal Orchestration & Management- Edge orchestration and management are sometimes derived from specific legacy vertical practices, such as mobile network orchestration managed by the carrier. In these situations, the edge may deliver cloud capabilities but without orchestration for connecting edge nodes. Fog orchestration and management is intended to be more universal, modern, and automated. Fog orchestration enables resource pooling and permits interactions and collaborations between fog nodes at the same layer and at different layers in the hierarchy, which helps performance, fault tolerance, load distribution and load balancing. Fog network management considers a life-cycle management through a distributed service orchestration layer in each fog node. The fog architecture essentially validates IT (information technology), OT (operational technology) and CT (communications technology) approach.

Modular Architecture with Multiple Access Modes- Edge deployments are typically based on gateways with fixed functionality. Edge architectures favor one specific access network, such as either wireless or wireline. Fog has a highly modular hardware and software architecture, permitting every fog node to be equipped with exactly the resources its applications need, that can be dynamically configured. Fog embraces both the licensed and unlicensed wireless spectrum, as well as copper and fiber wireline modes.

Reliability and resiliency- Fog architectures are inherently reliable, supporting many fault tolerance, network resiliency, and fully autonomous emergency operation scenarios. If an edge device goes down, the services it supports will often fail.

Security and privacy- Vertical application-specific and multi-vendor nature edge may offer uneven security protection. Whereas fog, on the other hand, requires every fog node to include a high-assurance implementation of its Trusted Computing Base using secure hardware or hardware-supported security mechanisms and a mandatory mission-critical class protection of communication and computation security mechanisms and a mandatory mission-critical class protection of communication and computation security.

Virtualization Support- Fog supports virtualization and uses enterprise and web-scale models. This provides hardware virtualization at each node level and allows loads to be moved from one node to an adjacent node if the node is down or overloaded. Edge computing looks at virtualization mainly from the perspective of distributing computing resources in a local manner per server.

 

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I think so.  

If you run a manufacturing factory, you have just a handful of variables that let you cut costs. Chief among them is energy use. Energy conservation saves money obviously, but turning off one switch at a time compared to controlling thousands, that would be interesting.

A lot of efforts are taken to save energy historically, for instance, use of motion sensitive bulbs, limited time use of air conditioners, or cutting the number of shifts and functioning hours is another way to save energy costs. But those actions require productivity/OEE boosting focus of the facility rather than effect energy conservation. Energy conservation is a byproduct of those efforts.

Adding IoT on the other hand, can enable direct energy savings for the smart factory of today.

Many experts recommend IoT-based real time monitoring systems to bring optimum use of energy. But the issue is more nuanced than that. Sure, real time monitoring helps you track energy consumption, but that might not lead directly to energy conservation. For that, the realtime energy monitoring should lead to better predictions of energy usage and guide to implement right load level energy equipment.

The 2 components of electrical energy billing

Let us take an example of electrical energy. Usually, electrical energy billing has two components:  Demand charge and runtime/consumption related charges. Demand load is usually the peak load provided by the electricity service providers from the power grid. This usually has a hard and fast limit. Crossing it will prompt penalties of around 20 times the usual rates.

To avoid this, there are usually two options: Reduce the total load required by the machinery. Or ensure that the threshold limit is never reached.

The problem of motors

One of the major sources of electricity usage in the plant are the electrical motors and HVAC systems. They consume a large chunk of the power. A motor is considered under-loaded when it is in the range where efficiency drops significantly with the decreasing load. Most electric motors are designed to run at 50% to 100% of rated load. Maximum efficiency is usually near 75%. Below the 50% rated load, the efficiency tends to lower dramatically.

In many cases, operating motors are either overloaded resulting in overheating or under-loaded, working at most at 40% of their capacity. That causes huge spikes in energy consumption. Oversized motors have a higher initial cost and are very expensive to repair and maintain. Undersized motors don't perform well and prompt higher losses than properly sized electric motors. Same goes with air conditioners if their tonnage and room size or room dynamics aren’t suitable, it leads to higher energy consumption.

Addressing a Wide Range of Energy Consumers:
Apart from regular electrical consumption of motors and HVAC, IoT can address a wider energy sources and resources, including: 

  • Air compressors, the source of air across plant.
  • Boilers, serving as the main source of steam used across plants.
  • Backup generators - an alternative electricity source in case of failure of the primary.
  • Fuel, including diesel, coal, wood, solar, and batteries that are used to run above systems

How the Industrial IoT can help

In the pre-IoT era, the traditional energy management system would collect a sample of energy usage at an interval. The traditional EMS is good to get energy consumption data, but it does not help you with alerts in case of spikes, curating usage pattern, predicting the seasonal demand, or suggesting appropriate configuration. Pre-IoT era, the motor load test was a lengthy and cumbersome affair. Engineers used slip tests and electrical tests with a digital stroboscope. They had to spend hours with the equipment to obtain samples. Even then, the data collected was only a sample, and not real time. With the IoT in place, the analyses can occur on real time data from the motor. That makes the analysis quick, painless and more accurate. IoT brings realtime alerts, ability to predict energy demand, usage patterns and ways to optimize energy consumption.

With the right IoT platform, you can recommend the proper sizing needed for motors. That saves money on the original investment. IoT-based conditional monitoring ensures the motor never reaches its threshold limit. That means the motor lasts longer and suffers fewer failures.

The IoT-based monitoring system gives early warnings of electric motor vibration/temperature problems. Condition monitoring saves time from unplanned production outages. And the unnecessary stress of carrying out urgent repairs can be avoided.

Additionally, a properly designed IoT system can not only track the energy consumptions at distribution points throughout a smart factory, but with the help of smart meters, they can track energy consumption right from its source to all the way consumption point. Moreover it can help predict leakages or voltage drops at nodes if any.

The ultimate goal of the smart factory is a generating a real-time energy audit that traditional Energy Monitoring Systems (EMS) cannot provide.  IoT enabled energy monitoring can solve a lot of issues that are core to hindering a plant from real energy conservation efforts. That not only saves money but paves the way for true implementation of Industry 4.0. If you run a factory and are looking to cut energy costs, then IoT is worth a closer look.

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Counterfeiting is a major concern for brands. Companies lose billions of dollars in revenue and consumers also suffer the consequences in situations where they are unable to verify themselves or their ownership over products.

“The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates the annual value of international trade in all counterfeit goods at $200 billion.”

Imports of counterfeit and pirated goods are worth nearly half a trillion dollars a year or around 2.5% of global imports, with US, Italian and French brands hit the hardest and many of the proceeds going to organised crime, according to a new report by the OECD and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office.

So How Did HP Use The Concept of the Internet of Things to Combat Counterfeiting?

HP’s Tamper Evident Label and Security Label initiatives are a step towards enhancing its brand protection that customers can rely on.

Let’s take a look at how HP introduced a four-step method to easily authenticate products such as ink and toners.

  • To authenticate whether a product is a genuine HP product, customers can use their smartphones and scan the QR code placed on the HP Security Label on the packaging.
  • The QR code redirects to an online verification site checking the authentication number on the label against its online database which maintains records of the product down to the serial level.
  • If the IDs match the user is informed they have purchased a genuine HP registered product or offered a way to report a counterfeit in case the authentication fails.

 By providing its customers with easy to use, online and mobile validation processes, HP can ensure the sale of authentic products. HP is continuously working towards providing secure business solutions to its customers. HP anti-counterfeit is a great example of how brands are employing technical innovations based on the concept of ‘Internet of Products’.

“Counterfeit HP cartridges are predominantly refilled or remanufactured print cartridges packed in unauthorized or fake reproductions of HP packaging, that can’t compare to genuine HP cartridges. At HP, we are constantly striving to protect you from counterfeiters with new security measures.”

Being able to maintain a digital record of a product on an individual serial level enables HP customers to scan the physical counterpart of the product, pick the authentication code off the label and use the internet to run a check against the digital record.

This creates an authentication method which is tougher for counterfeiters to replicate.  Easing the product verification process and enabling customers to authenticate products via mobile devices, HP has successfully managed to deter fake products in the market and further strengthen its brand security/image.  

These technology-led initiatives which are capable of connecting the digital counterparts of physical products with their real-time values and status are redefining retail and product surveillance. HP has successfully built an anti-counterfeiting process based the concept of “internet of things” and as a result, other brands are also eagerly moving towards implementing internet of products led initiatives.

Such Internet of products enabled solutions are helping brands explore the possibilities that lie beyond the status-quo of usual product management.

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Consumers today are knowledge seekers who want to know exactly where their food comes from. Brands are going the distance to provide consumers with such traceable and transparent information. Let's look at how one such Italian brand uses the #internetofproducts to take customers on a #digital journey. #IOP #InternetofThings #ConsumerTransparency #SafetyforFood #Technology #Retail #Qliktag
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From smart devices and home automation systems to smart cars and smart buildings, the Internet of Things brings important innovations in our life. In the next years, IoT solutions will continue to take the center stage in the tech environment.

With huge investment in this technology, the global IoT spending is expected to reach $1.29 trillion by 2020 and $1.4 trillion by 2021 (IDC report).

For now, manufacturing industry is still the main investor in the Internet of Things. According to recent surveys, 66% of manufacturers say that the use of IoT solutions is essential for staying competitive and resolving various issues.


 

Smart factories

 

Capgemini research reported that smart factories are going to add $500 billion to $1.5 trillion in value added to the global economy in 5 years. By now, 56% of manufacturing companies have already invested $100M in smart factory initiatives.

Today the creation of smart factories with the Internet of Things is gaining momentum and so far, only 6% of manufacturers can be designated to “Digital Masters”, an advanced stage in digitizing various production operations with a strong foundation of smart management, process automation, and employee skills.

Analysts expect smart factories to revolutionize the industry by providing a 7X increase in overall productivity by 2022. Among the most interesting findings, Capgemini reports smart factories will be able to speed up on-time delivery of finished products by 13 times, with the enhancement of quality indicators at more than 12 times the rate of improvement since 1990.

Also, Capital Expense & inventory costs will be rationalized 12 times and material, logistics and transportation costs are predicted to be optimized at 11 times the rate of improvement since 1990.

On the graphic below you can see a comparison of manufacturer’s annual gains since 1990 versus expected annual gains referred to smart factory technologies in the next 5 years.

 

Besides the Internet of Things, contributing technologies to smart factories also involve Big Data Analytics, machine learning, advanced robotics, and 3D printing, while cloud computing platforms unify all of these technologies together, leading to more rapid smart factory adaptation and bringing revolution in the industry.

 

IoT use cases in manufacturing

 

With smart connections of multiple devices, equipment, and production processes, manufacturers get such benefits as minimized human intervention, remote machinery maintenance, employee safety, production automation, and reduced operational costs.

 

The main IoT applications include:

 

  • Production flow monitoring - leads to flow optimization, minimize waste, and reduced labor and operational costs.
  • Remote equipment monitoring & management - Results in saved energy and reduced costs. Predictive analytics allows repairs and replacements to be automatically ordered even before something breaks.
  • Condition-based maintenance notifications - enables to successfully maintain machinery health and increase throughput.
  • Supply chain management

    with the help of vehicle and asset tracking, you improve the efficiency of manufacturing and supply chain operations.

     

     

 

There is a plenty of other successful IoT use cases in manufacturing: equipment predictive maintenance, vehicle and asset tracking, temperature/energy conservation/air quality control, facility management, smart ventilation, production flow monitoring, and smart radiation monitoring and measurement.

By integrating a smart factory initiative, you can connect all production stages, accelerate production, enhance various management processes, ensure working safety, reduce operational costs, and improve the entire company performance.

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