10 B2B Use Cases For IoT Technology
While the Fitbits, Nests and connected cars of the world tend to take center stage when the Internet of Things is on the agenda, a quieter, but no less transformative, revolution is taking place in cities, on building sites and in factories across the globe. According to a 2015 McKinsey Institute report, business-to-business IoT solutions will probably capture more value – nearly 70 percent of a potential $11.1 trillion a year – than consumer applications.
For designers keen to tap into the potential of IoT, looking beyond the most attention-catching consumer devices can uncover great opportunities. And while industrial IoT solutions can’t compete with connected coffee machines or pet trackers on the sexiness scale, they can deliver excellent value for developers, customers and end users alike.
Here are 10 interesting use cases for IoT technology that might make more money than headlines.
Outdoor lighting is a key infrastructure asset for cities, but it also weighs heavily on their energy budgets. By equipping outdoor light fixtures with sensors and connectivity capabilities, providers such as Philips Lighting enable light points to operate at lower capacity during low-traffic hours, increase intensity in case of crowd issues or accidents, and auto-report outages.
Waste collection typically happens on fixed schedules, whether containers are full or not. By using smart wireless sensors to collect and report fill-level data, companies like Enevo enable their customers to automate schedule planning, optimize routes, reduce equipment wear and emissions, and provide better customer service.
In a similar way, tank monitoring systems measure and report tank levels to improve service planning, manage inventories, optimize delivery routes and prevent emergency deliveries. TankScan delivers solutions for fuel-service distribution, waste oil connection, oil field delivery and bulk tank sites, but similar solutions are used for a wide range of industrial fluids.
Liquid leak detection
Speaking about fluids: When they seep into the wrong places, they can generate a lot of damage. IoT to the rescue! TTK offers a liquid leak detection system for three different types of liquids: Water and base leaks, acid and corrosive chemicals, and liquid hydrocarbon and non-conductive solvents.
Precise vibration monitoring
Many cities require real estate developers to ensure that construction works do not affect nearby buildings. Monir Precision Monitoring provides vibration monitors for buildings surrounding construction sites. The monitors measure and record the effects of the construction works, send real-time alerts if vibrations exceed established thresholds, and provide data for engineers who can make better recommendations for controlling future sites.
Spensa Technologies’ wireless “Z-Trap” uses a pheromone lure to attract and capture target agricultural pests. Pest count data is wirelessly delivered to the grower’s smartphone or computer, and displayed on a map, along with details on historic trends and pesticide use. The solution enables farmers to detect problems before they grow out of hand, and to use pesticides with better precision.
The industrial IoT represents a huge opportunity to improve manufacturing processes and operations. Wi-Next helps manufacturers connect industrial machines (including legacy equipment), and offers services such as predictive maintenance, process and quality control, and usage reports.
Inrix uses data from 275 million vehicles, smartphones, cameras and other sensors to provide in-depth insights into the movement of people and vehicles worldwide. The company helps enterprises better locate and manage their businesses, and enables government agencies to optimize road networks and solve other urban mobility challenges. The trend towards multi-modal, rather than vehicle-centric, transportation approaches makes accurate insights into population movements all the more important.
Thanks to IoT technology, retailers can run real-world A/B tests to find out how customers are engaging with stores and products. RetailNext uses data from a large number of physical and digital data sources, such as analog and IP cameras and point of sale systems, to inform retailers about retail operations and shopper behavior.
By measuring and analyzing usage patterns and occupancy rates, Condeco enables its customers to optimize office space usage, rightsize workspace, and develop real estate cost-saving initiatives.
If that sounds exciting, at least from an engineer’s point of view, that’s because it is. But before we are off to create the next killer B2B solution, let’s remember that any successful B2B application needs to solve an actual business problem.
There is a lot of excitement around the endless possibilities offered by the omnipresence of sensors and the easy access to Big Data, but the risk is to create a solution that then needs to go looking for a problem. Start with a real-world business problem, find out what data are needed to provide the operational intelligence that can solve the problem, and only then start looking for how that data can be captured most effectively.