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Five surprising ways IoT has changed our world in 2017

IoT Blog | December, 2017


Tony Guerion

Global Head of IoT Sales at Vodafone

Five surprising ways IoT has changed our world in 2017

We live in exciting times. The Internet of Things (IoT) has had a huge impact on all kinds of companies in 2017. Here at Vodafone, we see new ideas and different applications emerging every day. Tony Guerion, Global Head of IoT Sales at Vodafone, looks at some of his favourite innovations.

The effects of IoT have been felt across almost every sector in 2017. Governments and local authorities have saved money and improved peoples’ lives with automated management of street lighting, traffic and parking. Healthcare companies have achieved better outcomes and increased efficiency with remote monitoring of patients and better tracking of medication supplies. And farmers have improved yields and saved money through automated tracking of the condition of crops and livestock.

The following five examples are some of my favourites of 2017. They show the incredible breadth of uses that IoT has been put to.

1. Supporting patients with wearable robotics

Vodafone has helped Ekso Bionics develop an exoskeleton that’s being used with patients recovering from a stroke or spinal cord injury. The Ekso GT is a powered mobility aid that can help accelerate rehabilitation. It delivers power to both sides of the body, helping patients to get back on their feet more quickly. And once they’re there, it’s putting them through a series of high-intensity steps to improve their mobility.

It’s already in use at over 115 rehabilitation institutions around the world and has helped patients take more than 41 million steps so far. Ekso uses our managed IoT connectivity to capture the stream of data from the exoskeleton’s sensors. This data is transmitted to clinics, providing therapists with the information they need to see how each patient is progressing. Read more.

2. Providing reliable energy for remote communities

How do you deliver reliable off-grid energy to the developing world? The answer is BBOXX, IoT-connected solar power units. The brainchild of three graduates from Imperial College, London, these units are having a big impact on health, education and quality of life across large parts of Africa and Asia.

The Vodafone Global IoT Platform has enabled the inventors to expand to more than a dozen countries. With BBOXX, many communities from Ghana to Pakistan now have access to a cost-effective and consistent electricity supply for the first time. Find out more.

3. Connecting farmers to their animals

About 17-18% of cows have complications during their first calving. Moocall is an IoT sensor that detects when the birth is close, and alerts the farmer so they can be there to help.

Moocall is a non-invasive, tail-mounted sensor that gathers over 600 pieces of data a second. It can accurately predict when a cow is going to give birth by identifying tell-tale patterns in their tail movement. When labour is imminent, Moocall sends an alert to the farmer’s phone using the Vodafone Managed IoT Connectivity Platform. Leveraging our global reach, Moocall has been able to expand its customer base from Ireland into France, the Netherlands and the US. Watch the video.

4. Controlling the stock in aircraft galleys

In the highly competitive air travel market, the revenue from on-board sales can make the difference between profit and loss. eGate is helping airlines maximise the efficiency and profitability of their in-flight commerce operations.

eGate’s innovative on-board technology includes a complete galley planning, ordering and scheduling system; state-of-the-art business applications for managing the flight service process; and cabin management and on-board retail technology.

When a plane lands, all sales, logistics and planning data is gathered and sent to suppliers using IoT technology. They can use this data to quickly restock the plane, increasing sales opportunities without impeding turnaround time. Read our case study.

5. Making dream cars a reality

Owning an expensive supercar like a Porsche 911 is out of reach for most of us, or at least it was. Thanks to a pioneering car sharing scheme from PON, a Dutch Porsche distributor, that dream is now a reality for many more people. “Share a Porsche” enables a group of friends to sign a joint lease for a new sports car. They pay a single monthly charge covering all running costs, apart from fuel. Splitting the contracted miles between them is something they’ll have to fight over themselves!

The whole service is powered by IoT. The cars are fitted with a Vodafone Automotive telematics device connected to our telematics platform. Owners have complete control over their sharing service via an app. They can locate the car, access stats on past trips, check availability and reserve dates all from their phone. It’s a seamless and intuitive solution that lets drivers get on with enjoying the car of their dreams. Read the case study.

What’s next?

These are just a few examples of IoT projects that have shaped 2017. So what can we expect for the year ahead? There are many, many more that we’re working on with developers, like the IoT baseball cap with a built-in UV sensor. This enables the wearer, or say a parent, to monitor their exposure to the sun via an app. A personalised “safe time” is worked out based on the intensity of UV radiation and the age, skin type and existing level of tan of the wearer. The app can then sound an alarm when it’s time to go back into the shade to prevent permanent skin damage.

To find out how organisations are using IoT to transform their businesses, see our case studies. To talk to us about how you could join them, email

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