Sector wise IoT Use Cases

The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution has arrived in India and other countries, and it is here to stay. Very soon, IoT will touch every segment in industrial and manufacturing (where it is known as IIoT), healthcare, consumer products, finance, banking, retail, energy and numerous other sectors. As enterprises embrace IoT, the business impact of IoT related services, software and solutions is projected to reach around Rs. 5800 – 6000 trillion soon. That is a staggering amount indeed.

Let us now take a look at how and where IoT will make an impact, by considering sector-wise use cases.

Industrial and Manufacturing
Traditionally, the industrial and manufacturing sector has been under the purview of operations technology (OT) that involves hardware and software tools to monitor physical devices. It has been concerned with yield metrics, uptime, real-time data collection and response, and system safety. With IoT in place in the industrial and manufacturing sector, OT will combine with IoT to provide powerful IIoT solutions.

IoT use cases in Industrial and Manufacturing

  • Real time asset monitoring: Manufacturing companies are using IoT to connect machines and systems together. This makes monitoring of equipment reliable and in real-time, benefitting compliances and safety.
  • Preventive maintenance of factory machinery: If a machine goes down, IoT connected sensors can automatically pinpoint where the issue is occurring and raise an alert. IIoT can also help a manufacturer predict when a machine will likely breakdown or enter a dangerous operating condition before it ever happens. This is an invaluable help in maintaining manufacturing continuity, especially for those with continuous operations like the automobile industry.
  • Asset Tracking: Another area in which IoT is useful is asset tracking. It does so by allowing an enterprise to locate and monitor key assets
  • Safety systems: Thermal sensing, pressure sensing and gas leaks are some areas where IoT enabled detectors improve plant safety

The consumer sector was one of the first sectors to latch on to the IoT revolution. Mobile operated devices, virtual voice enabled assistants like Alexa and Siri are examples of how IoT is changing the way people interact with their devices. Likewise, an activity tracker like Fitbit is another example of how we have accepted IoT as part of our daily regime. Blue tooth operated car music systems that let you play your favourite music from YouTube channel via the cell phone is another example of consumer IoT at work. After industry, manufacturing and healthcare sector, consumer and FMCG are the next sectors that have found value in IoT.

IoT use cases in Consumer Sector

  • Smart home gadgetry: smart garden irrigation, smart garage doors, smart locks, smart security, smart TV, etc.
  • Wearables: like health and activity trackers, smart wearables
  • Pets: pet location systems, smart dog doors

Banking Services
At first, it seems difficult to visualize how IoT can be helpful in the banking sector. This is especially true as banks are not known to adapt to new technology quickly. They are relatively slow in implementing anything new and innovative. However, banks are now indeed catching up with the rest of the sectors, and are exploring innovative ways that IoT will help them in serving customers in a better manner.  Here are a few cases where IoT will prove to be useful to the banking sector.

IoT use cases in Banking

  • Improved payment security: security is of paramount importance to the banking sector. Reputations are made or tarnished by how secure or insecure a bank is. With electronic banking being accepted as the de-facto standard, transactional security is very important, Banks will devise new forms and tools for payment (like biometric tokens, smart cards, etc.) with the help of IoT that will make ATM-based transactions redundant. It is also envisaged that IoT will empower wearable payment systems that will replace cards, which can be lost or stolen.
  • Better transparency: IoT enabled banks can procure detailed customer data like loan history and asset details almost instantaneously; improving decision making system for granting loans. This will in turn make the loan procurement process more transparent.
  • Voice assistance: Customers can ask questions like ‘How much money do I have in my bank wallet?’ and ‘When is my next electricity bill payment due?’ to voice assistants powered by IoT. Using shock wearable devices: a bank has come up with an innovative idea. They have provided customers with a wearable device that tracks their credit card usage. It generates a mild shock as a reminder if it exceeds the limit set by the customer.

Finance and Retail
By its very nature, finance is intangible and complicated, subject to many risks. Enterprises can leverage the power of IoT to mitigate some of the risks associated with this sector.

IoT Use cases in Finance and Retail

  • Insurance tracking of asset: A telematics box measures various aspects of a customer's driving habits and transmits this data to the insurer. The insurance company can then analyze it to learn how safe or rash the customer drives and adjust their insurance premium accordingly.
  • Inventory levels and logistics alerts: IoT enabled devices can be installed in the warehouse that gives an alert when a specific item goes below the threshold limit. Where the inventory is huge, it will also alert about the item's whereabouts within the warehouse. When goods are transported, IoT enabled trucks will know exactly when the truck is loaded to its capacity, what the fuel levels are, whether the tyre pressure is correct and the best route to take in order to reach a destination.
  • Storage Monitoring: IoT can analyze and monitor perishables that are stored in a cold storage unit and apply predictive analysis to food supply 
  • Beaconing Systems: Beacons work by finding or identifying items and locations. They do this by sending Bluetooth low energy or RFID (Radio Frequency ID) signals. Beacons allow for a new way of in-store interaction between customers and retailers. Another use case is stadiums, where they assist spectators in locating their seats. Likewise IoT enabled beaconing systems allow passengers at an airport to locate their gate correctly, or give them relevant airline offers.

Healthcare is one more important sector where IoT is making a significant impact. Since IoT enables remote and flexible monitoring of patients, it is in much demand in the current Covid 19 pandemic. Once the technology is fully developed and adapted by the healthcare sector, advanced analytics and machine learning tools will observe patients in order to diagnose illness and prescribe treatments. They can also be used to monitor life-critical care.

IoT use cases in Healthcare

  • Wearable healthcare monitors: from monitoring heart rate to counting calories burned while exercising, IoT enabled healthcare gadgets have made health monitoring simple.
  • Contactless Thermometers: The coming of Covid 19 has given a tremendous impetus to the use of contactless thermometers, which is providing doctors and nurses a safe way to monitor body temperature of patients.
  • Predictive healthcare: IoT enabled portable blood analyzers, EKG devices, ultrasound imaging devices, etc. are helping patients improve their life by providing timely and accurate health data.

Other Sectors
IoT is making a positive impact in other sectors too. For example, motion detectors can control lighting and temperature usage in a residential society, while smoke and heat sensors can detect the presence of fire and co-ordinate with elevator control systems in case of emergencies. IoT fitted pest control tell farmers exactly how much chemicals  they need to spray in order to get rid of the pest without deteriorating the quality of crops. Livestock health tracking, drone based land surveys and robotic farming are examples of the use of IoT in the agricultural sector. Energy, smart cities are other sectors where IoT use cases can be found.

While automobile, industry and healthcare remains the mainstay of IoT use cases, other sectors are fast catching up. It is pertinent to note here that IoT impacts in other ways too by providing green energy solutions, reducing costs, reducing time to market, improving supply chain logistics and reducing production loss and increasing productivity.