Internet of things examples: 14 best uses of IoT in the enterprise

With some analysts suggesting there will be as many as 25 billion internet-connected things by 2020, and with more and more companies investing and making an impact in smart technology, here is how to use IoT in business. (See also: what is the Internet of Things… really? and what is a graph database?)

From insurance companies and local authorities, to gyms and beverage companies, here are the best uses of the internet of things in the enterprise…

1. Ericsson Maritime ICT

Swedish communications company Ericsson houses ‘Ericsson Maritime ICT’ which provides infrastructure for ships, ports and terminals.

Via its ‘Maritime ICT Cloud’ system, the company uses sensors on its ships to monitor vessel location, speed and the temperature for heat sensitive cargo, all in real-time. The data can then be shared with companies that are shipping goods, from production and warehouse distribution to final delivery.

2. Daimler

German auto manufacturer Daimler is using IoT to make vehicles safer and more efficient.

Through IoT, Daimler is already automating several safety procedures when its vehicles are on the road. For example, Daimler lorries are already fitted with proximity control, stop-and-go assist, emergency brake assist, lane-keeping assist and 3D maps, all to help drivers keep a safe distance from cars and other vehicles on the road.

Additionally, the automotive firm has developed stereo cameras and radar sensors, which aims to improve driver response times.

3. Rolls-Royce

Announced at the Hanover Messe Trade Show 2016, Microsoft and Rolls-Royce will collaborate to support Rolls-Royce intelligent engines and offer ‘advanced operational intelligence to airlines’. Rolls-Royce will integrate Microsoft Azure IoT Suite and its Cortana Intelligence Suite to gather information on flight operations, fuel usage and maintenance planning.

Previously, Rolls-Royce has invested in jet engine sensors to produce real-time data, and report back on the condition of the engine and even maintain it remotely.

4. Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic are investing in the internet of things by making a fleet of Boeing 787 aircrafts and cargo devices connected with IoT devices and sensors. Each connected plane can expect to produce over half a terabyte of data per flight.

Virgin Atlantic IT director David Bulman said: “The latest planes we are getting, the Boeing 787s, are incredibly connected. Literally every piece of that plane has an internet connection, from the engines, to the flaps, to the landing gear.”

From this mechanical problems can be reported before they even happen.

5. Farmers Insurance

Farmers Insurance is setting their sights on the internet of things to help the automobile claims resolution proccess.

CIO Ron Guerrier says a sensor-equipped car that gets hit by a shopping trolly in a car park could notify the owner, via an alert to their smartphone, about the incident and offer to contact a Farmers Insurance claims representative.

6. Fitness First

Fitness First has invested in iBeacon technologies to track who exactly is entering their gyms and to send relevant information to them automatically.

For example, iBeacon could highlight a person that regularly enters the gym and send a notification to encourage them to invite their friends.

7. Milton Keynes Council

Milton Keynes Council, the Open University and BT and others have joined forces to build the UK’s first city-wide, open access demonstration network for machine to machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things.

The network could be used for anything from monitoring car parking spaces to checking when rubbish bins need emptying, according to the partners.

The technology is being supplied and managed by BT and Neul. Working with Milton Keynes Council, they will install a network of Weightless base stations to provide coverage across the city for low power, connected sensors.

8. UPS

UPS uses IoT sensors to reduce its impact on the environment by monitoring its mileage, optimum speed and overall engine health.

The aim is to reduce fuel consumption and improve its efficiency. This should in turn reduce costs, save money and ultimately improve UPS as a whole.

9. British Gas

British Gas is expanding its IoT profile with the already established Hive, a smart meter able to control your heating and hot water remotely. British Gas is planning on developing a new platform called Honeycomb to work alongside it.

Enabling integration with smart energy applications will make it possible for homeowners to switch to ‘holiday mode’, essentially one platform connecting numerous devices.

10. Johnnie Walker

British drinks company Diageo is the owner of numerous world-famous brands and it is making its Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky ‘smart’. Adding connected technology to each bottle will gift the consumer an interactive experience.

Each bottle will have the technology to sense whether the bottle has been opened and send messages via their labels when interacted with a smartphone.

11. John Deere

John Deere manufactures equipment for agricultural, construction, and forestry industries. It is using big data and IoT to monitor the level of moisture in soil to help farmers ‘make timely irrigation decisions’.

The data gained will help farmers produce better yields and will essentially tell them when the soil is at its best or when irrigation is needed.

This should result in reduced running costs and better produce.

12. Walt Disney World

Disney World have created ‘MagicBand’, a wearable wristband containing RFID tags. Disney World visitors can check-in to the park, buy food, and gain fast pass on rides by tapping the band on receivers.

Disney can then use this data to track the movement of visitors though the park and determine which areas, rides and attractions are the most popular and which areas of the park require more attention.

13. William Tracey Group

The William Tracey Group is one of the UK’s largest recycling management companies. Their strategy enables chipped wheelie bins, smart weighing arms on collection trucks and on-board computer to collect the data. This data should aid enterprises to protect the environment while creating new business opportunities.

14. BT and the Internet of Cows

While sounding laughable at first, the ‘internet of cows’ is a great example of a useful IoT application. Working with the National Trust, BT monitored the cows’ location in order to prevent theft.

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