In the first part of our IoT series, I have explained what the "Internet of Things" (IoT) is and how it can be used in companies. Today I want to expound on industry-specific cases and benefits. We look at applications, challenges, and solutions in healthcare, finance, retail, and the manufacturing industry. What benefits does the Internet of Things hold in store for companies and their customers from these industries? This is what we focus on in this blog post.
IoT as a Cross-Industry Success Factor
The Internet of Things is one of the most important technologies of our day and age. IoT data provides companies with the exact information they need to implement product innovations and operational improvements. This is also why I see many use cases in the various projects I work on. Although the scenarios are specific to the individual companies, many similarities are shared across industries. In recent years, this has led to various technologies being developed particularly aggressively in particular sectors.
What do the various IoT solutions in different industries look like?
IoT in Healthcare - The Medical Internet of Things (MIoT)
In healthcare, the Internet of Things, or MIoT, is used in hospitals, doctors' practices, labs, and patients' homes. One of the more common use cases, for example, consists of "remote patient monitoring," where the patient's condition is monitored remotely at their home. This type of therapy offers significant benefits, especially to long-term patients and their doctors. Still, it also makes hospitals more efficient: They can increase their capacity to provide care and improve their quality. There are many other use cases for IoT, such as prescription drug monitoring, medical equipment monitoring, and wearable mHealth products. In this way, doctors and nursing staff can use platforms and portals to quickly and easily view essential treatment data analyses to ensure that equipment is used correctly and that the therapy works optimally.
At CWS, one of our customer projects, we see an interesting example from the closely related hygiene field. Here, I worked with my colleagues on an intelligent hygiene management system with an IoT web portal and real-time reporting
The benefits of MIoT at a glance:
- Individual therapy options due to the availability of additional patient data
- Better medical administration through digital resource management
- Increased efficiency in medical facilities through the targeted use of IoT
IoT in Retail – How Retail and Commerce Profit from the Internet of Things
Although the IoT functionality is similar, the use cases we encounter in projects for retail companies are entirely different. Thanks to IoT, retailers can manage their inventories online, improve their supply chains and consequently improve not only the quality of their work but also reduce their costs. In addition, the Internet of Things makes it possible for retailers to offer a better experience to their customers, for example, by letting them view information about their orders, providing them with customer portals, and developing intelligent e-commerce shops.
Benefits of IoT in retail:
- Reduced costs through improved efficiency
- Improved customer experience through e-commerce, shipment tracking, and customer portals
- More transparency in supply chains and product administration
IoT in Finance – Banks and Insurance Companies Rely on IoT
It has become quite apparent to me over the past few years that IoT gives financial service providers a significant competitive edge because there is a lot of competition when it comes to digital products for customers. For example, IoT portals enable banks and insurance companies to analyze better customer data, which means they can engage with customers more frequently and offer them appropriately customized offers.
Banks can determine how well their customers' businesses are doing by analyzing financial data. This makes it possible to prepare accurate business performance forecasts. The algorithm identifies potential risk factors and automatically evaluates companies' creditworthiness, making it possible for banks to make informed decisions as to whether they should provide financing.
Benefits of IoT for banks and insurance companies:
- Improved customer loyalty through customized offers
- Calculated risk management through better analytic capabilities
IoT in Manufacturing / The Industrial Internet of Things (IIot)
However, IoT technology is used particularly extensively in manufacturing. IoT's benefits and utility here are enormous, and for me, this is a fascinating area in which I support many customers and work on exciting solutions every day.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is the key driver behind an ongoing radical transformation of the manufacturing industry, parts of which still operate in a somewhat old-fashioned way. It can transform traditional, linear manufacturing supply chains into dynamic, networked systems. It changes the way products are manufactured and delivered. It makes factories more efficient and, at the same time, improves safety for staff.
This table shows five different use cases for IoT in the manufacturing industry and the resulting benefits for companies:
|Use cases||Challenge||IoT solution||Benefits|
|Predictive maintenance||Let's assume that a machine in your manufacturing facility fails. One of your employees must find out where the problem is. Meanwhile, the machine is down, costing you time and money.||The integrated sensors can determine automatically where the problem is occurring and trigger a service request. Moreover, IIoT makes it possible to predict when a machine will fail before it actually happens.||Increased capacity + overall equipment effectiveness, reduced costs, growth of revenues|
|Location tracking||Depending on the size of a facility, locating equipment on site can be time-consuming. And it becomes especially difficult to keep track of equipment if any of it has been rented out or passed on to third parties.||The Industrial Internet of Things makes it possible to mark all machines, tools, and goods and localize them at any time.||Optimal facilities and inventory management, utilization of new business models for renting out equipment|
|Data collection||For many companies, today, producing high-quality hardware alone is no longer a guarantee for success. Customers expect additional services to accompany the products they buy or rent.||Companies with digital solutions are in a position to gain insights based on real-world data. You can collect and analyze this data to improve your products, adapt your business model, and optimize your sales.||Improved customer service, satisfied customers, product improvements|
|Improved safety||Certain work steps in many factories can be associated with a high degree of risk. As a result, injuries may occur, and various safety issues may develop.||Predictive maintenance and location tracking already contribute toward improved safety. In combination with wearable devices, IoT also makes it possible to ensure the well-being of employees.||Increased employee safety, minimization of accidents and injuries, enhanced performance monitoring|
|Mass production||Production processes are becoming increasingly more complex, and tracking inventories and production processes are time-consuming and difficult after exceeding a certain threshold.||IIoT provides (almost) real-time data that can be used to prepare accurate forecasts. These can be used to adapt your production and route planning.||More transparency, better planning, optimized production|
We developed a modern digital customer portal in close cooperation with our customer Hauni in 2018. Since then, the machine manufacturer and its customers have benefitted from innovative services, reduced complexity, and more efficient support. Find out more in our success story.
IoT offers unprecedented opportunities
I am convinced that IoT can unleash the full potential of what we can achieve with technology. We are no longer talking about just software or hardware. What really matters is the combination of these two things and the associated connectivity to amalgamate data from different sources. All of this creates additional value.
And this holds well beyond the manufacturing industry and the other mentioned industries. The Internet of Things is one of the most important technologies of our time, and its importance will continue to grow as more and more companies recognize the potential of networked devices to maintain their competitiveness.