Embedded Technology and IoT Bring Forth New Business Strategies

June 23, 2020 Shweta Bedi & Mitul Mehta, Datamatics

Today, we are in an era of the Internet of Things (IoT), which is proliferating newer business strategies and business lines. Enterprises are increasingly making use of various smart devices and smart data. With this technology, the enterprises are choosing to optimize and increase asset productivity and reduce operational costs.

Owing to IoT exposure, enterprises, now-a-days, are getting classified into two categories – the forward looking IoT-using organizations and the twenty first century organizations that capitalize only on automation. The second category of enterprises, which recognize the benefits of IoT and aspire to deploy these new age tools and technologies, however, harboring a discriminatory approach about the investments. Hence, a natural chasm exists between acknowledging and working out the strategies for implementing Embedded Technology and IoT and actually making corresponding investments. This inertia, which will wane sooner than later, may just metaphorically delay the process of the goose laying the golden egg.

All the same, the global village is witnessing a strong IoT related infrastructure development. Cost effective embedded systems and sensors, data storage, computing power, and falling prices of the wireless connectivity have given rise to a fertile ecosystem that can bring forth disruptive business lines. The first movers are using these disruptive forces to the optimum benefit. They are entering the market with unique operating models and new business strategies and business lines.

By using this combination of Smart Devices and Smart Data in an agile environment, the business lines that are topping the chart include:

  1. Remote monitoring of cold chain for food and pharmaceutical industry

    Supply Chains in the business of transporting perishable food items, pharmaceutical products, such as insulin, and active pharmacological ingredients hinge on the maintenance of optimum temperature of the cargo and timeliness of the cargo transportation.

IoT-backed sensor devices empower the Supply Chains to unequivocally track the conditions of the cargo while in transport and the timeliness of the transportation. Backed by sensor devices, GPS, IoT, and cloud computing, Supply Chains now remotely track and monitor temperature, pressure, precise location, and other vital parameters for preserving and transporting perishable products as well as raw material.   
 

  1. Monitoring of fuel levels in remote diesel-run generator (DG) sets to avoid theft and continuous availability of power

    Diesel-run generator sets require frequent monitoring for fuel level, battery voltage, oil level, temperature, humidity, power output, and safety from hoodlums so that the power supply is continuous. However, at most times it is impossible for owners and stakeholders to personally keep a watch on the DG sets to ensure smooth running.

    IoT-backed remote monitoring of the DG sets ensures that they are up and running at all times and are not tampered with. The monitoring also ensures easy visualization of the DG set parameters through live and interactive dashboards in a 24/7 mode. The appropriate alarms sent through emails, notifications and text messages in near real-time ensure that the DG sets are safe and functioning optimally.

    Alarm indicators, such as ‘percentage full’, ‘remainder hours’, ‘remainder gallons’, ‘required gallons’, ‘consumption trending’, ‘battery voltage’, and ‘oil level’ provides demand visibility and allows the stakeholders to comprehend the right time to mobilize replenishment and maintenance. The IoT-backed remote monitoring also allows remote starting and stopping of the DG set from any location.

    In addition, IoT-backed remote monitoring along with GPS feature enables positioning of Mobile DG set fleets to be tracked in real-time.
     
  2. Remote monitoring of heavy off-road vehicles and equipment

    Cost-effective IoT-backed sensors, falling prices of internet connectivity, and high bandwidth availability enable enterprises to monitor their heavy off-road vehicles and equipment on a 24x7 basis in real time. The generated data allows the enterprises to identify key metrics for vehicle performance, maintenance, fuel consumption, wear & tear patterns, out-of-area instances, travel hours, operation hours, idle hours, etc. The data can be tapped and communicated to stakeholders by the second. The system allows monitoring of heavy off-road vehicles through live and interactive dashboards, which can be accessed through any mobile device. The remote monitoring of the parameters also allows the enterprise to make necessary changes on the fly.

    With heavy off-road vehicles manufacturers moving towards a service-based model, the vehicles have inherent capability for communication and data services, which enable monitoring in 24x7 modes. The primary goal of the manufacturers is enabling customers to reduce turnaround time and improve operational efficiency of the heavy off-road vehicles plying in the field. The manufacturers thus feel empowered to provide customer engagement with aftersales services and IoT reports.

    Autonomously controlled heavy off-road equipment, which is used in mining operations, is a recent stride in the field of IoT-backed remote monitoring. The safe control and management of the heavy off-road equipment without a human operator in the vicinity in potentially hazardous areas, such as mining, is a fascinating use case.
     
  3. Remote monitoring of heavy electrical equipment, such as transformers, switchgear, etc.
    IoT-sensor and GSM backed monitoring of high voltage electricity transformers sense thieves or objects approaching the power grids for theft. In case of power thefts, the sensor senses the additional power load that is getting drawn. The GSM module then sends a message to the power vigilance department officer.  In case their mobile is on silent, the pre-programming converts it to general mode and loudly makes the theft announcement. Even photographs of the theft are captured by the GSM module and sent to the email id of the vigilance department. With solid-state relay, the GSM module alerts other sensors to protect the other transformers by sending appropriate messages. The same mechanism is triggered in case the oil level of the transformer is low, temperature is abnormal, or fire is sensed.

    Similarly, self-monitoring power distribution solutions, such as smart switchgear, are making power distribution technologies intuitive and user-friendly. Industries and enterprises use smart switchgear to remotely monitor power distribution. The smart switchgear can also be integrated with other smart infrastructure, including data storage, servers, SCADA systems, etc. in order to optimally control and distribute power through the enterprise, industry, or smart city.
     
  4. Remote Railway track Monitoring
    Disruptions of railway services due to wear and tear of tracks is overcome with the help of remote railway track monitoring. Along with GPS and varied IoT-backed sensors embedded in the railway tracks, railway transport companies automate the continuous monitoring and health checks of railway tracks to provide timely alerts. This monitoring goes a long way in preventive maintenance of tracks and saves millions, which are wasted in repairing the tracks after a derailment has occurred. In addition, the monitoring provides improved reliability and safety of travel, real-time visibility of trains, improved fuel management, improved visibility of vehicle operators and their practices and malpractices, improved visibility of bottlenecks in the rail traffic, and improved schedule adherence.

Conclusion

Smart Devices and Smart Data are the new Normal.  Enterprises are focusing on continuous innovation and collaboration across their Digital ecosystems in order to optimize and increase asset productivity and thus reduce operational costs. The resultant efforts are bringing forth new business strategies, which impart tremendous thrust to the value chain.

About the Author

Shweta Bedi works as a marketing manager in a leading information technology organization that offers automation software solutions, IOT solutions, enterprise data management etc. With 10 years of experience in marketing sector, Shweta actively helps various small businesses to create their online presence on the web through digital marketing.

About the Author

Mitul Mehta is the SVP & Head- Marketing & Communications. He is responsible for Datamatics’ brand management across key markets and all its stakeholders, generate demand for its solutions and build customer loyalty.

Mitul is a versatile business and marketing leader with extensive experience in B2B and B2C businesses. He has successfully built and lead global marketing teams for various technology companies. His work has been recognized at various national and international forums including the prestigious Diamond Award for Marketing Excellence (SMB) by ITSMA, USA. He is also recognized as one of the ‘50 Most Talented CMOs of India’ by the CMO Council.

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