What does keeping your pants clean and IoT have in common you may ask? Read on, there is a connection!
IoT also known as the Internet of Things has been the hottest IT industry buzzword for the past couple of years. Also, it has been slated as the primary source for creating something called Big Data, coincidentally the previous industry pet term. In short, IoT is about equipping devices with sensors and making them communicate with each other in smart ways.
While reading the Finnish daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat on May 15th I came across an interesting article that was very much about simple yet value creating use cases for IoT (article has been encrypted in in Finnish, sorry).
Every day life IoT #1: Hand towel roll
First use case is about global ICT integrator CGI working together with maintenance providers ISS Services and Lindström. They are collaborating on an experimental project to make the hand cleaning towel dispensers smarter in the washrooms of a typical Helsinki office building.
The sensors inside the towel dispensers monitor the status of available towel in the dispenser. When towel is about to run out the attached smart device will send a work order to the allocated cleaning crew’s mobile device so they know to replenish the towel roll before it runs out.
This of course keeps the users happier, since let’s face it – and here comes the answer to your question - how many of us has wiped their hands on the pants after washing hands and realizing in anger that the towel has run out. Not something any of us prefers and of course a minor annoyance in our daily lives but something that IoT can help to remedy by ensuring there is always fresh towel in the dispenser.
Country Manager for CGI Finland Tapio Volanen says this is a good example of the practical uses of IoT: sensor technologies and alerting can be applied on anything that is consumed, filled up or worn out by usage.
Every day life IoT #2: Garbage containers
Another Finnish practical IoT example also comes from the maintenance and sanitation industry. One of the fastest growing Finnish startups Enevo installs sensors within garbage containers that monitor the fill level of the container. This system brings considerable savings for the maintenance companies that empty the garbage containers. They can now empty the containers based on actual need instead of regular once a week schedule. And they’re not leaving it at just the alerting but also use analytics to provide information on a mobile app for the waste truck drivers how to optimize their collection routes and schedules.
This helps the maintenance companies work more efficient but provides benefits for the residents too - at least from my personal view garbage containers tend to fill up not in a steady schedule but are also affected by events like national holiday when residents spend more time home – and create garbage (although we try real hard to recycle).
There are no limitations on the areas of application for IoT – possibilities are as wide as your imagination. Of course also IoT projects must satisfy your ROI calculations, payback times and other financial requirements in order to for them to ever happen. Common sense alone dictates that application of IoT and analytics must make businesses run more efficient, reduce waste, speed up processes and in general create value to implementers and our stakeholders. Analytics is just an academic study until the results get applied in the real world and things actually change. But while being sensible and efficient – IoT can also be fun and help our everyday lives.
To get a deeper insight on how to innovate with IoT and analytics, read the e-book Internet of Things: Visualise the Impact.