The Internet of Things (IoT) is tipped to be at least as disruptive as the Internet itself, and it’s already proving its worth in many ways. In fact, IoT is rapidly expanding as key technologies mature, breaking down the barriers to implementing innovative applications.
Intel IoT is providing organizations with actionable insights based on data from an increasing range of devices. It’s transforming their operations by providing new tools such as applications that allow staff to remotely manage devices and even industrial equipment. These insights and tools are enabling organizations to increase efficiency, grow their businesses, and even become disruptors themselves.
All you need to get started is a good idea and the right solution to realize it: A solution that is secure, manageable, and scalable, and that allows for rapid development and prototyping.
IoT: The Next Wave of Disruption
There’s high expectation surrounding IoT. According to Gartner’s 2015 Hype Cycle, IoT is at the peak of expectations. However, the research firm also acknowledges that IoT “has the potential to transform industries and the way we live and work.” In other words, it justifies its hype.
The World Economic Forum agrees in its 2015 report, Industrial Internet of Things: Unleashing the Potential of Connected Products and Services. The report says IoT will “change the basis of competition, redraw industry boundaries and create a new wave of disruptive companies.”
That disruption may have already begun. For example, Car Next Door aims to do to car rentals what Airbnb has done to the accommodation market. By fitting a tracking unit and a remotely controllable lock box to hold the car key, the Australian company enables private citizens to make their cars available for hire.
IoT adoption is already accelerating. IDC’s most recent IoT Market Forecast for Asia Pacific excluding Japan notes that the industry “has matured considerably over the past year, with a number of large government initiatives across the APeJ, and China in particular, driving demand.” In fact, IDC predicts the region’s IoT market will more than double to $583 billion by 2020.
Realizing IoT’s Potential
IoT can greatly increase efficiencies, but its transformative potential comes from its ability to enable organizations to innovate.
For example, YouBike is using Intel IoT technology to keep track of all the bicycles in Taiwan’s shared public bike system, in real time. YouBike serves 3.3 million members, who make about 100,000 hires every day from four cities across Taiwan. In the United States, SteadyServ uses IoT to turn beer barrels into smart kegs that are tracked, measured, and replaced automatically.
IoT is being used in many other ways, such as improving the reliability of air compressors – an essential technology in many industries. Fusheng Industrial Company is embedding IoT technology into every compressor it makes. The Taiwanese company is using an end-to-end solution that includes Intel IoT Gateways connecting the compressors’ sensors to back-end servers using the Intel IoT Platform. The solution delivers data from the sensors to an analytics engine that enables Fusheng to optimize the maintenance and operation of its customers’ compressors, predict potential failures, and provide performance reports. As a result, the company has been able to transform its traditional hardware business to include value-added maintenance services.
Formosa Plastics – a Taiwanese company that turns petrochemicals into a wide range of plastics – is using IoT in a smart manufacturing solution to improve its efficiency and staff safety. Formosa has installed sensors throughout its plants, along with an end-to-end IoT solution based on Intel-powered gateways and servers. The solution includes real-time analytics to provide sophisticated monitoring and forecasting. It enables staff to quickly identify changes and anomalies, prevent manufacturing interruptions, and address capacity, environmental, energy consumption, and industrial safety issues.
Accelerate Deployment with IoT Gateways
IoT discussions tend to focus on things and the sensors that monitor them. While essential, sensors are only one component of an IoT solution. They require smart gateways, a communications network, and a cloud platform to store and analyze the data generated.
IoT’s value includes the business insights generated by its analytics engines, and its ability to accelerate the convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT). IT tools like remote management applications can transform operations and greatly improve the efficiency of industrial machinery and other OT.
IoT systems can use thousands of devices and sensors, which typically have minimal security and management features. This is where Intel IoT Gateways come in. They can be easily connected to a wide range of devices and sensors running different protocols. They provide a harmonized, secure communications link to a cloud platform running analytics and other applications. Gateways also allow just about any unconnected device or machine to be IoT-enabled, by providing the connection between a sensor retrofitted to the device and the IoT network.
In many IoT implementations gateways perform another vital function: Edge computing. Where the function of a sensor is to detect anomalies—for example, excessive vibration in a compressor motor—much of the data generated is redundant. Intel’s IoT Gateway can be programmed to pre-process the sensor data, minimising the load on the network and analytics platform, and ensuring the IoT system can be massively scaled.
Intel makes it easy to develop and prototype IoT applications with a range of IoT Gateway Developer Kits. These comprise Intel IoT Gateway hardware with WindRiver Linux OS and the software tools to set up, secure, control, and communicate with a network of sensors. There are generic versions for developers who are just starting with IoT, and for specialists working in industries such as energy and transport.