Global Head of Sales, Vodafone Internet of Things (IoT) LinkedIn
The application of the Internet of Things (IoT) to industrial and agricultural processes has brought us to the edge of perhaps the most significant change in production ever seen.
The combination of low-cost sensors, cloud-based data management platforms and new forms of connectivity is slashing production costs and boosting profitability.
But as Vodafone will the demonstrating at this coming 2017 Mobile World Congress, IoT solutions can also generate new revenue, transform business models and open up unforeseen commercial opportunities.
In fact, what is often called Industry 4.0 includes a whole landscape of solutions and a spectrum of ways that businesses can apply them.
On a basic level, the digital monitoring, analysis and control of all tools of production is shifting the costly ‘repair and replace’ maintenance model to one of ‘predict and prevent’. Whether in the factory or in the field, the advantages are substantial with maintenance costs cut by 10-40 percent and equipment downtime by 50%. And the ‘predict and prevent’ model can be just as useful for protecting a company’s greatest asset and responsibility; its workforce, with ruggedized submersible smartphones used to track and monitor the wellbeing of workers in hazardous environments.
Nor are these solutions just confined to industry. We’ll even be showing how a non-invasive, tail mounted sensor can predict when a cow is about to give birth, informing the farmer and save the lives of both heifer and calf. And because water use and crop yields are equally important to agriculture, Vodafone has been pioneering a new low-cost massive-reach communication technology known as Narrowband IoT that can reach sensors placed in fields and irrigation systems, previously too inaccessible, remote or numerous to connect.
With the benefits of reduced costs and better customer experience, it’s not surprising that Vodafone’s latest IoT Barometer shows that almost two-thirds of businesses adopting IoT have used it to automate existing business practices. But this is only the beginning.
Our survey also shows that nearly half of companies using IoT have now moved from projects focused on efficiency to ones focused on business transformation. From cars to coffee machines, manufacturers are shifting from selling products to providing services.
Whether to provide after-market support, offer clients additional insights into their business or to sell subscriptions to entirely new services, manufacturers are rethinking their business operations across almost all functional areas including sales, marketing and product development.
The advantages are considerable in terms of extending revenue streams into the future, reinforcing customer loyalty and even opening up whole new markets.
And the end game of this new industrial revolution for an increasing number of businesses is the complete breaking down of verticals to create new cross-industry ecosystems. With the consent of consumers, car manufacturers are already providing real-time engine performance data to insurers so that safe drivers can get better insurance premiums; the manufacturers of smart home appliances are beginning to see the advantages of sharing data with energy providers and home security companies, while farmers may soon be offering their data to flood defence and environmental agencies to help tackle the effects of climate change.
At the 2017 Mobile World Congress, we’ll be demonstrating the enormous range of Industrial IoT solutions now available. But as always, it’s what you do with the technology that counts. And in this world of almost infinite opportunities, the greater a business’ vision, the broader the benefits they can expect.