Internet of Things: how big is the next big thing?

Jun 06, 2016

The buzz surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT) is big. In 2020 more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet. The amount of data coming from these devices will be enormous. But what does IoT mean for your business in particular? Is IoT really the next big thing or should we sit back and wait for the hype to move on? It’s hard to predict where exactly IoT will be in a couple of years, but one thing is for certain: the potential is huge!

Why is that? Well, because IoT ultimately leads to business model innovation. The real value of IoT can be found at the intersection of gathering data and leveraging it. By combining the intelligence from a multitude of interconnected devices with other information sources, innovation can take place at a much faster pace. And with sensor technology getting cheaper, networks getting faster, data storage getting bigger and the cloud being within reach of everyone, all barriers to start experimenting with IoT seem to have broken.

Connecting to the cloud

In addition to that, SAP has introduced its IoT service on SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP). The service permits to quickly develop, deploy and manage real-time IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. IoT on HCP allows you to store data from sensors in the cloud, and to then start visualizing, managing and analyzing this data using front-end applications. Easy, isn’t it?

Grasping the potential of IoT isn’t the hard part, finding a business case for it within your company is. To help companies make IoT more tangible, Delaware Consulting developed a state-of-the-art demo, built on IoT on HCP, illustrating how IoT can enrich your business processes.

4 IoT-enriched processes

A first use case in the demo is access control. No sensors here but RFID-badges to identify and validate, through SAP ERP, for instance goods being delivered to the plant.

A second set-up takes us to the production floor where a 3D-printer is equipped with both temperature and energy sensors. The sensors capture data every second and send it several times per minute to the HANA cloud platform, where it is stored and is then available for further exploration. When do energy peaks occur? How can these be leveled out? How do engine temperatures evolve, so that we can develop a predictive maintenance model? All the data required to crack this puzzle is available at a glance.

Need more inspiration? Imagine a warehouse where every pallet has its RFID-tag making it possible to know exactly which goods are entering and leaving the warehouse. Also, getting full transparency on stock levels and stock movements without any manual intervention. Finally, reducing incorrect shipments through instant validation of the truck loading process. Real-time insights that allow warehouse managers to increase service levels, customer satisfaction and operating efficiency.

The fourth and last process in which the demo displays the power of IoT is transportation. Temperature and humidity sensors, combined with GPS-data, allow you to monitor and manage the cold chain in, for example, the food, floral or pharmaceutical industry. The data provided by the sensors ensures full traceability of the goods during transport and allows companies to inform their customers timely when deviations occur. The benefits? Real-time monitoring, traceability and a much more proactive approach to problem solving.

Towards business model innovation

Building on the continuous evolution in IoT technology, Delaware is already preparing new features for the demo. Like the use of sensors – that communicate via the Lora network – to detect theft of copper cable coils. That is just to name one. Last but not least, we will dive deeper into predictive analytics. Using real customer datasets, we will tap into machine data and demonstrate how we can build models for smarter decision-making and better action planning.

So start exploring your data and start making sense out of it, to make sure you don’t get outpaced by the competition. Data is the key, not only to product and service innovation, but to true business model innovation, generating new revenue streams and driving new customer value. Interested in how your business can benefit from IoT? Don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Author: Bruno Mommens. 

You can follow Bruno on Twitter (@BMommens) or connect with him on LinkedIn.