There are many sectors involved within the Industrial Internet of Things. These can include manufacturing, logistics, oil and gas, transportation, energy/utilities, mining and metals, and aviation industries. By the end of 2021, the industrial IoT market is expected to reach $123.89 billion. The term Industrial Internet has come to describe the inter-working of cyber-physical systems, machines, analytics, and people connected to a network within an industrial context. The Industrial Internet of Things is revolutionizing the industrial market with the primary goals of automation, optimization, and using analytics to strategically provide better products and services while reducing costs.
Machinery is an essential part of the industrial sector. To make sure your work site is running smoothly, you need to know where, when, and how your assets are working and how they are being used. IoT devices and the underlying network allows you track, monitor, and control your equipment remotely through a web portal rather than taking the time to physically attend the machine.
Benefits of IoT device-use for assets:
In the modern industry, business is increasingly being driven by data. The sheer amount of data you can compile in today’s business environment can be overwhelming. The ability to collect, analyze and use this data can transform your productivity and help reduce costs while optimizing resources. Using IoT to utilize useful analytics can bring critical information to CEOs, managers, technicians and other personnel while helping to filter out the information that isn’t helpful.
Useful Industrial Internet of Things analytics:
Examples of useful analytics inaction:
An essential part of running a business is communication. The logistics of coordinating work in the industrial market requires fast and efficient communication. This is helped using affordable wireless devices connected to a reliable network that can be customized to fit your specific communication needs. You can also connect with customers in useful ways. With the integration of IoT devices, you can connect people and assets to a network that tells you what you need to know when you need to know it.
Industrial IoT problem:
Problem: Customers desire more feedback regarding the status of utility poles being refurbished. Customer service employees internally communicate with facility employees who must manually track down the utility poles in question. Facility employees must then relay the information to customer service. The refurbishing company needs a system for tracking and communicating with utility poles as they move through the refurbishing process.
Industrial IoT solution:
Solution: Viaanix designs a tracking and communication system for poles moving through the refurbishment facility, from arrival to shipment. Attaching a tracking and communicating device to the poles allows the customer to track the progress of refurbishment and receive a notification upon shipment or at each stage through the process. Internally, the refurbishing employees can easily find poles throughout the facility. The shipping department is notified when an order is ready to be shipped.
One responsibility in the industrial market is providing a safe and secure work environment. Every fifteen seconds, 178 work related accidents happen. In an industry involving automation and physical machinery, safety is a concern for workers carrying out their daily tasks. Preventing hazardous conditions not only prevents harm to employees, but also leads to more efficient production. Collecting data in a work environment and monitoring employees can help prevent accidents or ailments. When it comes to safety, being better informed means reducing risk.
Causes of industrial workplace accidents:
How IoT helps prevent safety hazards:
As the demand for quality healthcare rises, the Internet of Medical things will play a pivotal role. The Internet of Medical Things connects healthcare IT systems to an array of devices and applications through a computer network. At the foundation of this system are medical devices connected to a network that allow for machine-to-machine communication. It is essential in the medical field to work on accurate information, and IoT devices can help deliver real-time data to the fingertips of medical professionals from wherever they need to be. This can help medical professionals identify a problem before it becomes critical or identify patterns that can prevent issues altogether.
In the medical field, a major concern is keeping track of expensive equipment and the condition of that equipment. Equipment that is moved from place to place can easily be lost in a large hospital or other medical setting. It is also important to keep this equipment maintained to avoid equipment failure. Installing IoT devices to equipment connected to an underlying network can not only help you track these expensive assets, but can also collect data regarding the physical location of your equipment, when and how it was used, when maintenance is necessary, and other necessary information along with allowing you to control these assets remotely.
The flow of data through an asset tracking system:
Benefits of IoT device-use for assets:
One vital role of a medical professional is monitoring a patient’s condition. This can be demanding on a medical staff when monitoring multiple patients and patients that require close attention. Rather than moving from patient to patient to evaluate medical devices and vital signs, a monitoring system can help a medical team monitor vital statistics remotely and help prevent medical issues before they become a problem. You can also track the movement of patients who should not be moving unassisted. This allows medical personnel to provide more efficient and attentive care.
Benefits of IoT device-use for patients:
Real life Viaanix patient monitoring solution:
A vulnerable child with a cognitive disability or an inability to convey stress signals requires constant monitoring, an issue that is compounded when attending school. Viaanix has designed a solution by developing an easy-to-use wearable device and accompanying application that sends alert signals when the child’s hands have stopped moving for a period of time. Device also sends the child’s location so that an adult can quickly find the child.
Telehealth utilizes telecommunication technologies to deliver health related services and information. This covers a wide range of applications, from something as simple as communicating and storing patient data to an issue as complicated as using networked robotics to remotely perform surgeries. Communication through a medical team of doctors, nurses, maintenance, administration, and other medical personnel can be a challenge, but better communication means more efficient and better-quality patient care. It is not only important that this information is accurate and accessible to medical personnel, but also safely stored in order to comply with health privacy guidelines.
Benefits of IoT integrated telehealth:
Viaanix IoT integrated tele-health:
One area in the medical field where IoT can play a pivotal role is assisted living. When it comes to the elderly or other patients who need help carrying out their daily lives, the integration of IoT devices can help both the employees to provide better care and assist the patients in giving them more control over their surroundings. Monitoring the vital signs and for variations in a patient’s habits can alert their care team or family to an issue before it becomes a larger problem and help their caretakers formulate an action plan for resolving that problem.
Important assisted living statistics to monitor:
Viaanix assisted living solution:
One concern of hospital management is optimizing hospital workflows, especially in high volume areas like emergency rooms. Workflow optimization means orchestrating patterns of activity by organizing resources and processes for better efficiency and return on investment, leading to reduced costs and improved patron satisfaction. In hospitals, key components of this include secure and effective channels of communication along with collecting data to analyze for optimization. The more information you have, the easier it is to use analytics to optimize hospital workflows.
Hospital Workflow Optimization benefits:
Viaanix Applications for optimized hospital workflow:
In the medical field, one challenge includes preventing patients from encountering food that could cause adverse health effects. This could mean avoiding food they are allergic to or food that has an otherwise negative effect on their condition. One of the best ways to avoid improper food delivery is to design a system with multiple checks in place. IoT device integration makes it easier to perform these checks in a reliable manner.
Common dietary errors in healthcare:
One study found that on top of their commute, Americans spend on average an extra 42 hours a year, either waiting for public transporter sitting ideally during massive traffic jams. The transportation industry is on with a huge potential for IoT devices to play an impactful role. The applications for a network of connected devices in this market are endless—from traffic management to monitoring road conditions, fleet telematics, proactive maintenance, and more. For both private and public transportation, there are many ways that connected devices can help improve the efficiency and experience of transportation.
In this article, we are going to explore, how IoT can be of significant value in various modes of transport. From Airports to Shipping and from Railways to private cars, the opportunities for IoT in transportation are endless.
Airports are increasingly adopting the use of IoT. With the help of their smartphone, savvy travelers can easily make their way from drop off to their airplane seat, ensuring that their luggage goes where it needs to be along the way. Nearly a third of all airports have installed sensors at key locations in their facility. These sensors provide insights involving traffic flow, congestion, and performance. Analyzing this information enables airport management to improve the experience of travelers.
Benefits of airport IoT integration:
Viaanix IoT airport applications:
Connect passengers with airport vendors via an app that lists available vendors and provides special offers based on location.
There are many applications for IoT based automotive products. Devices installed on vehicles can track location, miles travelled, maintenance diagnostics, and more. With the rise of smart cars, the flow of traffic becomes more efficient as cars use sensors to communicate with the cars around it. Companies that use cars to deliver products and services can utilize fleet telematics to manage their vehicles. Smart technology is helping to make both cars and roads safer and more efficient modes of transportation.
Benefits of IoT automotive integration:
Viaanix Automotive IoT applications
IoT technologies are transforming the trucking/heavy vehicles business. From monitoring the vehicle, driver, and inventory, analytics from a connected fleet can make the entire process of transporting goods more efficient. Machine-to-machine communication can automatically report information to a dispatcher, reducing the need for manual reports from the driver. Gathering this real-time information can help managers direct the operations of their fleet services.
Useful trucking analytics:
Viaanix IoT trucking applications:
From small pleasure crafts to passenger liners to cargo ships, IoT can help with the management and coordination of marine crafts. Interconnected devices have made driving and managing boats easier than ever with devices that communicate directly with the boat’s engine and systems. As more and more devices are developed to work within the ecosystem of a vessel, whether you are managing a fleet or a single craft, mariners will wonder how they ever got by without the help of connected devices.
Challenge and the IoT solution:
Problem: passengers on a cruise ship do not have a cell phone signal while over the ocean. This makes it difficult for groups travelling together to find one another while on the ship.
Solution: BLE beacons can be installed throughout the ship. Passengers are given wristbands that use BLE/LoRa to transmit location information to an on-site cloud system. This allows them to find one another using an app connected to the ship’s Wi-Fi.
Viaanix Marine IoT applications:
Globally, passenger rail traffic is expected to double by 2022. Railways are much more than just the train itself—it is a complicated system of interconnected parts which must work in harmony with one another. This system includes switching yards, rails, terminals, cargo, crossings, and all the challenges that come with them. With the help of connected devices, managing this system becomes a lot easier. From optimized maintenance practices to advanced analytics, IoT is helping railway systems give passengers a superior commute.
IoT railway integration benefits:
Public transportation includes city buses, trolleys, trams, passenger trains, airlines, trains, rapid transit, subway, and ferries. This can be a complicated system of vehicles, equipment, and waiting areas. Installing a system of connected devices can aid in public transportation fleet management. IoT can also help passengers connect with public transportation on their smart phone or tablet.
Public transportation IoT problem & solution:
Problem: buses are scheduled to arrive at each stop at certain times, but conditions cause the time of arrivals to vary. This can make it difficult for passengers to know when to expect buses to arrive.
Solution: BLE beacons at each bus stop can communicate location IDs with gateways installed onto each bus, which can then transmit location information to a cloud service provider. Passengers can access this accurate arrival time information using their smartphones or by looking at a bus stop terminal.
Viaanix IoT public transportation applications:
Assets, both physical as well as personnel, are critical for any business operations and are necessary to be tracked to ensure uninterrupted service delivery. With the growth of businesses and increasing count of assets, it is becoming challenging to keep a track of the location and health of the assets. As a result; the demand for asset tracking a plummeted in the last decade and has accelerated rapidly.
Going back to the history of asset management and asset tracking methodologies, manual approach of counting assets and recording them on hand, maintaining various excel spread-sheets for asset audits and tracking prevailed. This approach was not only tedious, prone to errors, but was also labor-intensive. As businesses grew and count of assets multiplied, it became imperative to invent a scalable solution that could be scaled up or down as per the business environment.
Early 1970s saw the advent of more sophisticated solution to this challenge and barcodes started dominating the asset management and asset tracking systems. Coupled with seamless scanning technologies, these barcodes eliminated human-error and with the help of scanning devices, asset records were maintained in databases, making it more secure and reliable. As information technology grew and provided more options, software engineers and designers helped business managers with data visualization tools that could help them in auditing, monitoring and taking control of their assets.
Digital technology has been advancing rapidly and with the advent of ‘Internet’ of things it is now becoming increasingly easy to connect millions and billions of small as well as large assets, devices and objects, in ways which were previously unimaginable. These ever improving, cost and resource efficient, location tracking technologies have continuously eradicated the need to rely on manual data input. On the contrary, cloud based IoT solutions are now device-location dependent which has changed the ways and means of locating and tracking indoor and outdoor assets.
So real time location tracking solutions, such as VX-BLS and Beacons, work in tandem with the environment your assets are moving in. Be it Indoor, within premises or it is Outdoor, across geographies, Viaanix’s asset tracking system offers a solution. Indoors, this system utilizes BLE/LoRa anchors that can track BLE beacons attached to your equipment, sending that data to a LoRa/cellular, Wi-Fi, or Ethernet Gateway. Outdoors, LoRa/GPS beacons send information to LoRa cellular Gateways.
These beacons are low energy, long range, and inexpensive devices that can be “set and forget,” with batteries that can last up to two or more years. They can be installed on small equipment, like tools, and larger machinery as well.
These beacons gather information from the assets and send it to the cloud, via the interim gateway, for review by the end user. This review can be done through any industry renowned IoT Portal or more sophisticated VX Locate, our own web portal. The complete ecosystem deployed by Viaanix for asset tracking is flexible, scalable, and cost-effective. The bi-directional communication capability offered by our solution allows the end user to control how often they wish the device to update, and gives a better control of all the associated assets and devices.
There is absolutely no one-size-fits-all strategy for choosing the right indoor/outdoor asset tracking system. Every business is unique and has its own ‘specific’ requirements. The right fit for your business requirement needs to be evaluated based on the below three considerations.
Your goals for deploying an asset tracking solution: This primarily deals with specific, achievable, time-based goals you plan to achieve. These goals will have to be stitched to your key business processes driving your need to have an asset tracking solution in place.
Methodology for measuring ROI: It is by-far understood that all technology enabled solutions are cost-effective, efficient, improve operational efficiencies and provide you peace-of-mind. A metrics is always required to help you gauge your investment and yield business-oriented results on your investments.
Alignment with future needs and changes: All businesses operate in a dynamic environment. Often it is impossible to predict the market forces and your needs may changeover-time. Mapping of your requirements with the changing environment is critical for consideration.
‘Internet’ of Things, better calling it ‘Social Network’ of Things, is gradually becoming a part of everyone’s life, both for individuals as well as businesses. Connecting things anywhere, anytime and for anyone is the core of IoT. You go to a hotel, and the doors open automatically. You use the restroom and you get an astounding experience of touch-free water running from the taps. Theorem you booked for your accommodation, welcomes you with a customized experience, lights switch on automatically, room temperature is maintained asper your preference. All these and everything you experience is nothing but the value adds an IoT deployment can offer.
All this is fine, but have you ever thought as to what all goes behind in making this happen! The objective of this article is to take you through thematic behind this invisible layer that is making things work for you. Let’s give it a sneak peek and understand layer-by-layer the vast infrastructure involving multiple components, interactions, commands, and connections.
IoT is being been explored since decades. Several theories have emerged concerning its architecture. Let me mention here that there is no one-size-fits-all architecture of the entire deployment. The strategy behind implementing IoT lies within the business need and the industry it is being deployed for.
Business needs may vary, strategies might be different, but the key building blocks behind every IoT implementation include the following layers:
Let’s deep-dive into each layer and understand what it entails.
The perception layer or the physical layer is the first layer of the IoT ecosystem and comprises a range of ‘things’, big or small, starting from as small entities as sensors and chipsets to even bigger counterparts like buildings, cars, manufacturing plants, hotels, and whatnot. These are the endpoint devices that form the physical components and can be further divided into three categories based on their functionalities. These categories are:
Sensors such as beacons, utility meters, gauges, thermostats, amongst others. The prime function of these sensors is to ‘sense’ a parameter which could be temperature, motion, air quality, humidity, and convert them into electrical signals. These signals are then sent to the IoT system over the communication layer and saved as meaningful data for making informed decisions.
Actuators are nothing but components of a machine that are responsible for moving and controlling a mechanism or system. These actuators are used to translate electrical signals into IoT-driven physical actions. These are predominantly used in heavy machines, robotic arms, moto controllers, and lasers.
Machines and devices are the components that perform the final action based on the received command and deliver the required work.
The next layer which is responsible for transmitting this captured data to the cloud, as well as other components of the IoT ecosystem, is the communication layer. For devices to be able to send data, the devices in the physical layer are connected to the preferred cloud platform via:
a. the most common internet protocol called TCP/IP
b. through gateways – responsible for securing the data by encrypting and decrypting it throughout the communication channel
There are numerous networking technologies available that can be used to establish communication. The selection of technology primarily depends on:
a. The specific use-case
b. Distance between the communicating devices
c. Signal strength required between the two communicating devices
Some of the commonly used networking technologies for IoT deployments include:
a. Ethernet: which primarily connects physical non-moving or fixed devices like CCTV cameras, industrial equipment which is permanently fixed, video gaming consoles;
b. Wi-Fi: the most prominent and widely used wireless networking technology predominantly installed for data-intensive IoT deployments. A wireless router is used to establish a wi-fi network and devices are connected to this wi-fi network for transmitting data;
c. Bluetooth: used for short-range communication and widely seen in wearables and smartphones. As IoT leverages low-power devices to collect data, a new standard called Bluetooth Low-energy (BLE) was designed which is extensively used nowadays;
d. LoRaWAN: acronym for Long Range Wide Area Network is a Low Power, Wide Area (LPWA) networking protocol designed to wirelessly connect battery operated 'things' to the internet in regional, national, or global networks
e. Cellular Network: offering nearly global coverage and consistent data transfer.
These networking technologies are used to enable communication and data transmission between the IoT components however, the complexity of communication is such that one device should be able to talk to another device in a language that is comprehensive and understandable to each other. That is where several 'protocols' come into picture and are required to be enabled for authenticating, signaling, and communication purposes. Host of communication protocols have been designed for this purpose but the ones which are primarily used in key IoT deployments are:
Often referred to as the 'Heart' of any IoT strategy, the platform layer is the one that is responsible for monitoring, controlling, analyzing, communicating, assessing, and actioning aspects of the environment. This layer is responsible for accumulating, storing, and processing the raw data received from the physical devices and translating it into a usable format that can be fed to business applications in the next layer. This magical work of making the data usable for the application is carried out in two broad stages:
The Data Accumulation Stage: The goal of this stage is to accumulate the data from the physical devices, sort out diverse data formats (both structured and non-structured) and store it most efficiently. The real-time data is captured through an API and works as transit hub between event-based data generation and query-based data consumption. This stage is also responsible for defining if the received data can be put to use as per the business requirements and make necessary amendments for data to work for business.
The Data Abstraction layer: Data collection is fruitless until and unless it is prepared for consumer applications to use and generate meaningful insights for business decisions. The entire process of abstraction involves combining data from different sources(both IoT and non-IOT like ERP, CRM, SAP, etc.); reconciling all the data formats, and aggregating data into one location.
Together the data accumulation and data abstraction layer make it easy for the software developers to focus on solving particular business needs, enhance their productivity and drastically improve the efficiency of the complete data life-cycle.
This layer is responsible for analyzing the 'cleaned' data as per specific business requirements. Based on the industry vertical and the specific problems that need to be solved, there are hundreds of applications available which can be used to analyze data. Device monitoring, mobile apps, business intelligence, analytics solutions using machine learning, deriving artificial intelligence algorithms, and hundreds of other such business requirements can be easily dealt with these applications. Thebes part of the application layer is that it is interoperable and is nonconfined to one use case. This enhances the flexibility and scalability of the ecosystem and also makes it cost-effective to deploy.