Now that we’ve managed to connect nearly every person on the planet, the focus has shifted to connecting everyday objects. Accenture CTO Paul Daugherty once commented, “The Internet of Things promises to bring every object, consumer, and activity into the digital realm.”
From an egg tray in your fridge that tells you how many eggs you have left and how fresh they are to a Bluetooth toaster that sends you a notification when your toast is done, Paul was clearly onto something – and we’ve welcomed the IoT into our lives and into our homes. IDC predicts that the worldwide IoT will represent upwards of $1.3 trillion in 2020, supporting 30 billion connected endpoints. There are many consumer IoT use cases, some of which have proven incredibly useful, while others, such as the aforementioned, are borderline excessive.
Regardless, consumer industries are facing a revolution in the way they engage and interact with customers. For key industries such as retail and agribusiness, the IoT is enabling many new opportunities. These industries have a common goal and challenge: to create and offer engaging end-user experiences at scale. There are compelling scenarios for leveraging the IoT to support engagement with digitally savvy consumers that generate business value.
Sitting on the sideline is not an option – now is the time to implement IoT technologies. Here are a few examples to whet your IoT palette:
The Internet of wine
BASF, the leading chemicals firm, has created an IoT Smart Wine Shelf. When a customer takes a bottle of wine from the shelf, a light sensor transmits this information to the system, triggering details of the wine’s vintage and flavour to appear on a screen. From a business perspective, it’s not just the solution’s entertainment value that sparks interest, but also the data it generates. For instance, it’s possible to analyse which wines are frequently recommended but rarely removed from the shelf. Insights like this help the wine seller select or rearrange wine bottles more effectively.
The Internet of cattle
Drones and horseback riding might not necessarily seem the most likely partners, but there’s a fascinating story of two software developers who have combined their interests to create IoT solutions for agribusinesses worldwide. The “Quadcopter Cowboys,” Alexander and Oleg Bolgarin, came up with an idea that will help ranchers sleep better: Collar cattle with sensors, connect the herd to the cloud, and apply drones as “mobile base stations” to ferry cattle data to a central cloud-based platform.
The prototype developed by the Bolgarin brothers envisages a cattle collar with sensors for location (GPS), motion (accelerometer), and temperature. Sensor data can be combined to tell whether a bull or cow is sick, trapped, lost, or deceased. Accelerometers can distinguish up to nine different cattle diseases and temperature can indicate a dead bull, which left undetected, might spread disease to others, while an animal that is alive (temperature) but static (GPS) could be injured or trapped.
Furthermore, pictures delivered by a drone can deliver useful information about a herd, such as pasture grass quality or the number of newly born calves. All sensor and picture data is uploaded to the cloud for evaluation. Cattle farmers can then immediately analyse and evaluate the data to gain near-real-time status over their herds, develop action plans, and even make predictions that support upstream and downstream processes of the business.
From smart wine shelves to connected cows, the IoT has well and truly arrived, and it’s inspiring all manner of wacky but often very useful innovations. The key is for organisations to be prepared and put themselves in a position to take advantage of the technology on offer. Whether a scenario can be implemented today or is speculative, it’s crucial to have the technology and IT infrastructure in place.
To learn more on the impact IoT is having on consumer industries, read this white paper by IDC.