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Internet of Things (IoT) and what it means for your business… today!

We have recently delivered a few talks to our local developer community on the subject of Internet of Things (IoT) where we covered IoT architecture, along with some demos of solutions we’ve developed for our customers or we’ve created to test capabilities. The response from the community over the last few months has been, for lack of a better word, overwhelming! What was more surprising was the amount of senior business people joining us in these sessions to get a deeper understanding. We have been inundated with guys wanting us to recommend a solution and wanting to know how to proceed with the subject of developing scenarios that will benefit their business in the future. This is the reason I have interrupted my planned topics of ‘Cloud – Data Security and Compliance’ and will give you an overview of the IoT landscape and how it will affect you and your business now, and in the future. Below are some points to consider:

    1. IoT, not another bullshit IT buzzword I need to know about so I don’t look stupid in front of my peer group!: In the last few months we have had many South African businesses and industry thought-leaders contacting us asking what IoT is and how to leveraged it in their business. IoT certainly is a big ‘buzzword’ in the industry today that is confusing many of the so-called “digitalisation” and “ransformation” textbook only experts (yes you CTO’s and CIO’s), they are likely to throw this term around to show you that they have the upper-hand in the land of IT-what’s-what-current-goings-ons. The truth is that it’s a very simple technology to understand and to implement, moreover, the hyperscale cloud providers are ensuring the ease of connectivity and scalability for us to leverage.
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    3. So what is IoT?: The Internet of Things, or IoT, in its simplest form (no matter what the “experts” are telling you), is the ability to aggregate multiple sensory devices and port their telemetry onto a single data stream that can be analysed in a scalable platform, giving you proactive/real-time insight on any given business scenario (yes, textbooky sounding stuff I made up… but you bought it, yes!). It really is simple!
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    5. How can I leverage IoT in my industry? If you haven’t thought of how you can leverage IoT in your business, absolutely stop reading this now and Google: “top ten places to retire in 2018”… If not, and you are grappling with the idea of how you can leverage IoT to ensure you are ahead of the curve, read on… There are a multitude of sensors and devises on the market that have real-world practical uses for your current environments. For example, today I was at the Fujitsu World Tour in Johannesburg and was blown away by the high-standard of sensors and solutions they have developed for all verticals in this field.
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    7. How do I implement an IoT solution today, who’s ready?: There are a few technology companies and cloud providers that are ready to accept your IoT device telemetry and data, ensure security, sort and categorise, analyse the telemetry using Big Data and analytic tools, and then finally and most importantly, visualise the outputs for an informed view – all from one platform. The beauty of the hyperscale Cloud providers is that it’s ready to cater for you requirements now, will gracefully scale with your needs. You can start out small (play it safe) and scale out to infinite proportions when you are ready (and don’t forget, scale down as you don’t need too).
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    9. Who’s got the right advise?: Many of the large traditional South African IT solution providers that I’ve dealt with are still grappling with the idea of what IoT and Cloud really means for them and for their customers, it’s also not part of their traditional revenue streams and their actions are more reactionary than revolutionary. What really grates me though is that they use this term as a marketing buzzword to draw attention to themselves, when in fact, they don’t actually have a clue (don’t believe me, ask your IT partner to demonstrate their capabilities and show you locally completed projects in the IoT space). You want my advice?… there are lots of the smaller guys implementing this bleeding edge technology in real-world scenarios, ask them!

 

The main objective of this article is to highlight the multiple practical scenarios available for your business that you need to start thinking about today. The second area of consideration is do select a ready and scalable cloud platform that has all the tools in one place. The third is to get a partner who actually knows what they’re talking about. My advice, if your current service provider can’t demonstrate their abilities and capabilities today (and I predict that they can’t)… look to the smaller guys for advice, find the guys that are already doing this as part of their day-to-day activities and can launch your business into digital future…now!

Article written by Christian Hagner – Head of Cloud Services for Siatik

NOTE: Look out for my next article on Cloud Security and Compliance.

List of potential applications for IoT for your consideration, by industry, that you can do now:

Medical:

  • Drone technology to deliver medical supplies to remote regions
  • Equipment monitoring
  • Patient monitoring, like monitoring and analysing patients to identify issues e.g. a patient falling or having a seizure (one of our members actually built this)
  • Measure patient vital signs and alert if conditions change

Retail:

  • Scan facial expressions to detect sentiment of customers for given product interacted with
  • Map client movements in and around your store to ensure maximum exposure to selected items
  • Categorise your customers according to age, gender and emotional state to display targeted marketing information
  • Measure interaction activities to display relative marketing information
  • Measure storage or display environments to measure availability of stock, optimal pressure, temperature and light conditions for items
  • Smart delivery via drone technology
  • Asset tracking

Manufacturing:

  • Monitor production lines with sensors that detect the speed of given production line
  • Flag potential threats to production lines like liquid flow metering, abnormal high-pressure, temperature and energy consumption
  • Workshop conditions like proximity warnings, pressure, temperature and air conditions
  • Monitor video feed to detect possible issues
  • Asset tracking

Mining:

  • Track vehicle poisoning via GPS, identify potential dangerous situations
  • Working conditions like fire, proximity warnings, pressure, temperature and air conditions
  • Zone restriction violations
  • Asset tracking
  • Identify hazardous working conditions
  • Use drones to quickly get to an area to assess the situation

Oil and Gas:

  • Detect abnormal flow, temperature and pressure conditions
  • Detect hazardous situations caused by leaks

Sports and Leisure:

  • Drones to view areas to assess situations
  • Measure attendance
  • Measure crowd congregation and identify potential hot-spots
  • Measure crowd sentiment
  • Track the conditions of the athletes to measure heart-rate, temperature and location

 Farming and Agriculture:

  • Measure soil mineral composition
  • Measure soil humidity levels
  • Rain sensors to ensure effective use of scares water resources
  • Weather predictions to regulate watering cycles

Bla bla ba, I could go on for ages… The only thing that limits you is the length and breadth of your imagination (and the sensitivity of available sensors), the tech is ready!

Christian Hagner
Head of Cloud Services – Siatik

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