- Asia is seen as leading the IoT thrust globally
- The data from IoT devices can actually be a revenue centre for businesses
THE Internet of Things (IoT) is the new technology buzzword which is expected to generate US$267 billion worth of revenue by 2020 according to the Boston Consulting Group.
For such a large market, the application of IoT can be diverse from manufacturing to transportation to retail. A brief overview can be seen in the Forbes graphic below.
One of the leading companies in the area of IoT would be Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Volkhard Bregulla (pic, above), the vice president of Global Industries for HPE, was in Singapore to attend the Internet of Things World Asia conference at Marina Bay Sands.
In between his conference events, Volkhard managed to squeeze in some time to give me a brief overview of three interesting IoT applications that HPE was involved in.
1. Demand Response - Automated Sushi Refills
For sushi lovers who frequent sushi bars, one of the frustrating experiences is having to wait for your favourite sushi to appear on the conveyor belt. If your favourite sushi does not appear, it is also a frustrating experience for the retailer because there will be less spending. HPE provided the IoT cameras, software and application for its client, Xjeria Labs which implemented the solution for Sushi Express.
Xjeria Labs chief technology officer Ethan Chua (pic, right) revealed that their proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) software can identify the different types of sushi on the conveyor belt automatically. The system would be fed with an initial batch of sushi with names and the system will be able to recognise them as they are placed on the conveyor belt. New sushi will also be recognised and then tagged manually for the first place they appear on the camera.
The system would then be able to recognise the fast and slow movers over time. The chef would be prompted to make more of the fast movers as they will appear on the screen near him. As such, the retailer is able to maximise the favourite plates on the table. For sushi lovers, this is a happy solution while the retailer gets a larger size of the wallet share.
2. Trace and Track - IoT Airport Surveillance
Terrorist threats are the defining security issue today and airports are one of the first venues at which to stop any potential terrorist. Once again, HPE provided a whole set of hardware from camera to beacons along with the IoT software for a Rio Airport.
They teamed up with Accenture which developed the application. Once the system was up and running, it allowed airport security to recognise and tag every person walking around the airport.
The airport would also be able to recognise luggage that is left unattended and even allow passengers to track the location of their luggage. The IoT system will also be able to sense the seven different human moods from happiness to anxiety and can flag potential threats in real time.
Yes, the HPE IoT system can gauge your intention by detecting your pattern of behaviour, facial expression and body language.
Other nifty abilities in an airport would be to measure the journey time from one point to another. Imagine having an SMS sent to your phone based on your location with the information of the distance and time needed to reach your gate.
The IoT-enabled airport is currently being implemented in leading airports and airlines around the world. IoT-enabled airlines are likely to be as omnipresent as frequent flyer miles in the next five years.
IoT is so important to airlines that more than one third have allocated a budget for it. For smaller airlines that are convinced about the value proposition of IoT, they would seek business financing rather than fall behind the competition.
3. Trace and Track - IoT Cruise Management
Besides the serious implementation of IoT solutions to counter security threats in airport, HPE also implemented IoT for the leisure cruise industry. The typical cruise ship is over 300 metres in size and it is difficult to monitor such a large area especially when it is crowded.
HPE’s IoT solution allows for the VIP to be recognised so that he can skip the queue once he appears before the cameras.
The other usage of IoT would be to identify anyone who have fallen overboard. The cameras would be able to identify when any passenger is about to fall overboard or when they have fallen overboard. Then the cameras would be able to identify where the person has fallen and send a boat over to rescue him.
Without such cameras, it can be incredibly difficult to identify the person who has fallen overboard especially in open sea. Studies have shown that humans can only survive for 10 minutes in cold water before they succumb to hypothermia. All these are integrated into an application system for the crew to access which will improve the safety and service levels.
Asia - Next frontier for IoT
Towards the end of the interview, Volkhard put forward his view that Asia will lead the IoT thrust globally due to the region’s affinity for high technology products.
Volkhard who is from Germany noted that Europeans are less likely than Asians to demand the latest and most advanced technology breakthrough.
As such, he expects a higher adoption rate for HPE’s IoT device and services from Asian businesses as they try to impress customers.
HPE is building the ecosystem of IoT players through Pathfinders and believes that it is possible to provide value in ways other than cutting cost. The data from IoT devices can actually be a revenue centre for businesses. No matter how you slice it, it is clear that IoT will form a prominent feature of our lives in the near future and it will change the way we work and play.
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