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The art of the possible: 5 innovations at IoT Solutions World Congress 2018

Phil Skipper

Phil Skipper

Head of Strategy, Vodafone Business IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the world around us. Already, globally, billions of devices are interacting and sharing information, leading to the creation of smart networks that are underpinning new business models across a range of sectors.Indeed, as IoT transforms the multitude of everyday physical objects that surround us, so it is starting to have a major impact on how people go about their daily lives. From the way that we travel around a city, to the nature of working patterns, and even how we spend our free time, connectivity is delivering a shift in culture and commerce, as a growing number of individuals and companies recognise the benefits it brings.

This rapid pace of technological change is illustrated by Vodafone’s presence at this year’s IoT Solutions World Congress, taking place in Barcelona from 16-18 October, 2018. There will be a total of 19 diverse demos taking place at the show, ranging from innovations in precision agriculture, digital building management and smart retail, through to consumer IoT, smart mobility and IoT emergency response solutions.

Here we focus on five of these applications, which highlight the art of possible with IoT:

Demo highlights

1. Agriculture: Making sense of farming conditions

IoT is ushering in a new era of satellite-powered agriculture. Vodafone’s ‘Sensing4Farming’ solution integrates a network of in-field sensors connected by Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), a low-power wide area network technology, along with high-resolution multispectral satellite imagery to measure key environmental factors affecting crops. This data is then processed using a geospatial big data platform and artificial intelligence, and transmitted to growers using mobile tools, allowing them to set ideal irrigation and fertiliser levels as well as optimal harvest time. The solution maximises the yield and quality of crops while minimising production costs and environmental impact.

2. Mobility: Bringing an end to parking pain

Finding somewhere to park in many European towns and cities can be a time-consuming exercise. In the UK, for instance, the average motorist spends nearly four days every year looking for somewhere to leave their car, according to the findings of a recent survey. Vodafone smart parking can bring an end to this frustration, with Narrowband technology being used in combination with Vodafone Automotive sensors to enable efficient real-time communication between millions of connected vehicles and urban infrastructure. Thanks to the low power and deep penetration of NB-IoT connectivity, drivers can easily find the nearest indoor or outdoor parking spaces as they become available. This information is presented on a user-friendly dashboard which displays the map of available parking spots with real-time updates.

3. Buildings: Remote surveillance gives peace of mind

The increasing digitalisation of the built environment is leading to improved security of assets. Vodafone Building Surveillance, for instance, provides a cloud solution for the monitoring of remote sites. The system uses the cloud to store recordings that can be accessed at any time, allowing multiple sites to be monitored simultaneously using any device. Visual data is cryptographically marked, time-stamped and dated making it easier to comply with data protection legislation and obtain verifiable evidence. The system is easy to install and works with the customer’s existing camera equipment providing operational savings. In addition, machine learning and AI can be added to provide insights into dwell time, traffic patterns and building occupancies in real time.

4. Retail: Digital tags improve product traceability

The retail sector is increasingly reliant on new IoT-related technologies to deliver improved control, traceability, identification and location of products. DDTAGS is a breakthrough 2D code solution which, unlike QR or barcodes, can be read by a smartphone from 12 metres away, from wide angles of up to 1600 and with a scanning speed of 30 fps. The tags can be read in all light conditions, without the need for focussing. Developed in partnership with Neosistec, the solution’s dense code gives it high-information storage capacity allowing multiple retail applications and the simplification of the purchase process for both shoppers and stores alike.

5. Consumer: Connecting people and devices

The V-Home kit brings together Samsung’s “SmartThings” open platform and the “V by Vodafone” consumer IoT system offering consumers simple but powerful home automation, security and safety products and services. The ‘Smart Home’ concept connects a variety of devices such as security cameras, smoke detectors, water leak sensors, smart lighting and smart heating helping make properties more secure and energy-efficient. V by Vodafone, meanwhile, connects a variety of home and leisure electronic devices to Vodafone’s global IoT network using a dedicated IoT SIM card and smartphone app. This provides customers with automatic straight-out-of-the-box connection and a single overview of all IoT-enabled products registered to their account. The latest V by Vodafone product range includes the V-Pet pet tracker; the V-SOS safety bracelet for the elderly; and the V-Kid locator watch for children.

Each of these IoT applications, along with several others, will be demonstrated at IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona at stand 441 from 16-18 October. Diverse in nature, yet linked through their reliance on fast and flexible connectivity, these imaginative technologies prove that IoT has the potential to deliver benefit for all. And with Vodafone for Business, businesses have a trusted partner on this exciting journey of digital transformation. "businesses" needs a synonym

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