IoT Sensors Giving Low-Tech Industries High-Tech Benefits
The Internet of Things is connecting devices at an unprecedented pace. From Fitbits to smartwatches, gadgets are high-tech and connecting them to the IoT leverages benefits that were previously science-fiction.
Surreal connectivity of everyday items is today’s reality in high-tech circles, but some of the IoT’s greatest advancements come not only by connecting the already technical savvy industries, but rather the low tech ones.
Industries such as manufacturing, commercial real estate, agriculture, and even waste management are being disrupted and revolutionized by IoT sensors.
Long characterized by mechanical machinery, plants are now able to easily and inexpensively attach IoT sensors to their existing equipment to enable the machines to talk to each other, gather data, and report back.
Benefits include better maintenance indicators that enable manufacturers to service machines only when service is required. This helps prevent failure, saving direct cost of unnecessary maintenance and indirect costs of downtime and management of maintenance contractors.
Tracking power consumption at the device level with IoT electric current sensors allows energy-intensive manufacturers to identify inefficiencies, improper usage, and opportunities for savings.
The big data engines that collect and aggregate the information can analyze the data to create insights that enable companies to increase production yields, improve quality and reliability, and calculate cost of production per production line.
Through the IoT, the previously low-tech manufacturing sector is becoming more efficient, optimized, and intelligent, reducing the cost of producing goods and the carbon footprint they leave behind.
Facilities management is another field that has long been thought of as low-tech, manual, and labor-intensive. Thanks to IoT sensors, this industry is also getting high-tech benefits.
Building devices (for example: lights, HVAC) can be monitored for off-hours consumption through sensors and waste can be drastically reduced. Furthermore, the collecting of big data sets of sensor information enables automation of reports required for compliance of laws and regulations. Smart sensors help facility managers manage, monitor and report on the data collected from all critical systems running throughout a building, and a portfolio of buildings.
Farming may not seem like a place for high-tech innovation, but in fact, according to VentureBeat, “The global food challenge necessitates that farmers find better methods of feeding a population that’s expected to grow by 2 billion before 2050. Doing so
with IoT makes business sense: it improves operational efficiency, drives productivity, creates new revenue sources and, ultimately, makes sustainability synonymous with profit.”
The agriculture sector is using IoT sensors to aid crop yield maximization, disrupt the mating patterns of pests, and optimize efficient use of water and power.
Yes, even waste management is now smart. IoT sensors are being used to reduce the amount of time and energy required to provide waste management services. Sensors on dumpsters can now communicate back to the waste management company such data as: dumpster capacity and temperature. These smart receptacles can even forecast when they will be full so that the company can optimize their pickup schedules.
Smart waste management isn’t only about picking up full receptacles. IoT sensors actually help reduce the amount of waste created, too. Grocery stores, for example, can use IoT sensors to track exact quantities of the food they regularly sell, cut back on waste, and reduce spoilage.
Perhaps it doesn’t look as revolutionary as using a watch to read an email, but the potential effects IoT sensors can contribute to low-tech industries from manufacturing to waste management will have a ripple effect on each person and on the planet as a whole.
(About the author: Yaniv Vardi is Chief Executive Officer at Panoramic Power, a member of the Direct Energy group of companies. Yaniv is a seasoned executive with close to two decades of leadership experience in the Enterprise Software Solution Industry.)