The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming a hotbed for tech teams looking to drive an innovative transformation strategy.
In a nutshell, IoT is a network of “things” that has the ability to share information with each other through sensors, software, and network connectivity. These “things”, are often called smart-devices.
IoT is big business. By 2020, Gartner predicts that there will be 20.8 billion connected things in the world, just under triple the amount of humans on earth.
But what are these “things”? And in what industries will you find them?
To assess this in greater detail TechExec. takes a look at the 5 industries that will be hit the hardest by IoT.
The health sector has the most to benefit from adopting IoT, but thus far, has been one of the most delayed industries to put this into practice.
One of the most significant movements of IoT in transforming the health sector is Patient Generated Data (PGD). PDG allows patients or caregivers to generate, store, and share essential health information. This could include patient-reported outcomes and data collected from medical devices or “wearable” hardware.
This method of data sharing is predicted to increase significantly over the next few years. An article released by Deloitte University Press suggests that “within five years, the majority of clinically relevant data will be collected outside of clinical settings.”
Closer to home, Steven Parrish of Mater Health, explained that this IoT innovation is essential for Australia’s ‘struggling’ healthcare system to become more efficient.
At CXO Disrupt in Brisbane last year, Parrish explored the inevitable changes that IoT will be able to provide through changing the way data can be stored, retrieved, and managed:
“You might not know it, but the IoT can be used to make a difference to your health. It will change the way we approach programs to impact on your health or the potential for health in the future.”
With the emergence of ecommerce and online shopping, traditional retailers have been under threat for the last decade. However, through taking advantage of recent IoT innovations and applying them to their traditional bricks-and-mortar assets, the retail sector has the potential to be completely transformed.
Intersecting real-time analytics with beacon-based technologies is the most popular “thing” for retailers. A good example of this is ShopAdvisor, an app that sends the customer a push notification when they walk past the store that includes deals, current sales, and promotions. Target in the US has also been trialling the technology quite heavily.
There are a number of expected smart applications that will start to make an appearance in this sector such as mirrors that assist with other clothing options and sizes (as showcased by Rebecca Minkoff last year), as well as shopping carts that can direct you to your products that are on your digital shopping list.
On the distribution front, IoT sensors can now be used to order inventory based on real-time purchasing trends.
The only bonafide example of beacon technology being used in Australia comes from the Australian Museum. Other than this, shopfronts have been very slow to the starting gate with Woolworths trialling the technology but yet to roll it out.
Energy & Utilities
This sector has been utilising sensor-based communication for quite some time. For example, Victoria is the local leader in “smart-meters”, which sees companies apply sensors to reading meters to access real-time usage information.
Evolving from the smart meter is the concept of a “smart-grid”. In an ideal world, a smart-grid will provide customers the opportunity to switch between renewable energy and traditional energy supplies.
Speaking on the future of grids, AGL’s head of group strategy and new energy Marc England said:
“We will see a co-existence of the existing grid and disruptive technologies such as batteries, digital meters and solar PV.
“Consumers will increasingly have multiple options to choose from when sourcing their energy and AGL plans to play a leading role in this evolving energy market.”
Developing a smart grid that is adaptable to a variety of energy sources is essential for the sector to survive. IoT technology is what will underwrite this.
The insurance sector needs to become more efficient in their products and pricing. A great way for the sector to do this is through using IoT technologies that connect insured “things” to the underwriting process.
This IoT backed innovation that the sector is driving is called telematics. Telematics is technology that allows insurers to receive real-time assessments on drivers. This can keep track of a number of things including: distance driven, speed, rapid acceleration, sudden braking, sharp corners, and airbag deployment. All the things that can affect one’s premium!
Through keeping track of this information, it will allow for insurers to start offering and applying Usage-Based Insurance (UBI).
UBI programs in insurance came out in the US over a decade ago, with Progressive Insurance and General Motors Assurance starting to price out premiums based on collected data.
There has been a massive increase in this style of insurance, and it is expected to grow further. A recent study suggests that approximately 36% of all auto insurance carriers are expected to use telematics by 2020.
Cars are the start for telematics. With the “connected home” becoming a thing, the ability for insurers to use IoT to monitor other objects will continue to rise.
Although there have been whispers of telematics rollouts in Australia, the insurance industry is yet to come to the party. As the space continues to become more competitive (Progressive Insurance has been operating in Australia since 2011), insurers will be forced to respond.
Although globally IoT has been used to great benefit by governments, The Australian Government has been slow to take advantage of the innovations that come with IoT deployment.
IoT technology provides the foundations for the “Smart City” concept. Smarter Cities is a term that describes social innovation and looks to encapsulate how technology can be applied to create more efficient solutions for communities.
The best example of a smart city in the world is Fujisawa in Japan. Fujisawa is considered to be one of the most progressive smart cities in the world. It is the brainchild of Panasonic, who built it from the ground up.
IoT and smart city innovation has been deployed all over the world, sensors are being used to monitor buses, rubbish bins, as well as automate transport.
In Australia the only genuine application of IoT comes from the ACT, who are currently undertaking a ‘smart parking’ trial. This system can alert drivers on parking space availability before they leave their location or as they arrive at the parking space.
Based on our current output Australia is well and truly behind on the IoT front, with industry thought-leader Frank Zeichner noting coarsely to ZDnet:
“When we look overseas, at our peers and at our customers, it is utterly evident that they are more advanced in their IoT narrative and strategy than we are. You can read it, you can see it, and here you don’t read about it. There is nothing. No one at any level is saying anything.”
We will wait with baited breath.