Top IoT Use Cases Across Industries

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By: Julia Nasy
11 Aug. 2023
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The Internet of Things (IoT) stopped being just a tendency across specific industries. Today, IoT adoption is a need for many businesses to stay in the market and have a strong base for successful competition. At the same time, the diffusion of technology has long gone beyond manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, real estate, or retail. We are watching how IoT solutions penetrate entertainment and media, hospitality, education and other spheres, benefiting them with endless possibilities. At the same time, our houses are filled with innovative applications for security, energy management, and remote lighting control.

This article focuses on the most popular IoT use cases, which have become integral to enterprises’ operations and our lives today. It is these solutions that have already changed the way we interact with technology and now form the future of the Internet of Things.

Industrial IoT

Over the recent years, factories have been so actively adopting IoT that today technology covers most of the production stages. The industrial Internet of Things is rich in various solutions, making enterprises safer, cost-effective, more productive and more efficient. They optimize resource consumption and operational processes, increase employee productivity, and help to conduct preventive maintenance. And here’s a quick look at how smart factories transform the manufacturing processes and the entire industry.

Predictive Maintenance

Monitoring the state of manufacturing equipment is crucial to avoid damage, production downtimes, and huge repair or replacement costs. Before industrial IoT adoption, companies relied on only periodic manual services, which wasn’t so effective. Today, with the ability of machines to self-detect when maintenance is necessary, it is easier to plan such resources as personnel and spare parts for the work.

IoT-based systems use smart sensors to collect real-time data about operating temperature, supply voltage, acoustics, speed, vibration, etc. Then they transfer it to cloud-based centralized data storage and analyze it with predictive analytics programs and machine learning algorithms. Generated reports allow the maintenance team to detect abnormal performance and take measures in time.

Remote Monitoring

IoT technologies help companies to keep their equipment in optimal condition in remote and hard-to-reach locations. Various smart devices provide regular updates on machinery operating parameters and environmental conditions in real time. They collect data, analyze it, and alert about any anomalies. With constant control, operators can detect problems before they arise, track resource usage and output, boost operational efficiency, and lower costs.

If, for example, IoT sensors detect pollution leakage, the system sends warning signs to the central dashboard and activates automatic shutdown. This approach eliminates the need for management or employee intervention, contributes to the service growth without adding technicians, and in some cases, enables customer self-service.

Product Quality Control

In traditional manufacturing, quality control is a manual process carried out by inspectors. They check production for defects and ensure items meet the required standards. With integrated IoT systems, these processes happen automatically at different stages of the product cycle. The network controls all the factors that influence the quality of finished products – from the composition of the raw resources to delivery speed.

One of the key benefits of IoT-enabled solutions is that they keep standards levels high and, therefore, significantly improve product quality. As a result, manufacturers cut down on waste and improve customer satisfaction. For industries like pharmaceutics or food production, quality management doesn’t stop at the end of the manufacturing line. IoT technology supports further control of finished products by monitoring storage conditions.

IoT in Energy Sector

The adoption of the Internet of Things in the energy industry is a crucial component of building a sustainable future, bringing such environmental benefits as reduced carbon footprint, mitigating climate change, pollution control, wildlife protection, etc. Below are the top IoT applications that have already changed the energy landscape.

Smart Metering

IoT-enabled meters allow real-time monitoring of power usage. Due to them, consumers can access their energy consumption data through mobile apps or web portals, empowering better energy management and conservation. Smart meters can communicate with other devices, such as private home automation or energy management systems, to enable control or automation functionalities.

Smart meter technology facilitates two-way communication between utilities and consumers. Public services can remotely read the meter data without manual data collection. This enables accurate and automated billing based on actual consumption, ensures optimal energy efficiency and reduces operational costs.

Smart Grids

In order to meet the ever-increasing demand for energy, it is necessary to find alternatives for generating, storing, and delivering electricity. IoT-based smart solutions are one of the optimal ways to replace overburdened and inefficient traditional electric grids. They have many applications and are critical to building a secure, clean future.

In addition to improved efficiency and cost savings, smart grids prevent energy thefts. The sector loses billions of dollars due to fraud yearly, resulting in higher prices and increased taxes. Before advanced metering infrastructure, detecting fraud without physical inspections was more difficult. Today, smart grids allow utilities to monitor key indicators, control power consumption, and detect tamper.

Related reading: Energy Management with IoT

Logistics and Transportation Business

In the conditions of globalization, it is more and more difficult for logistics companies to follow the basic principles of the industry: deliver the right quantity of the right product at the right price and in the right place. However, the advent of various IoT platforms has brought a revolutionary change in this sector as well.

Fleet Management

IoT applications take the fleet management process to the next level. They provide real-time visibility and complete control over the operations – from fuel consumption to driver performance. With built-in IoT sensors, maintenance gets easier because they allow early detection of technical failures. As a result, businesses can reduce maintenance costs by 50%.

IoT technologies optimize logistics by providing data about vehicles’ location, speed, and routing directions. Due to these real-time insights, fleet managers can guide trucks to the fastest route to save on fuel costs. Additionally, IoT sensors can provide exact fuel consumption data to track the highest fuel consumption areas and optimize planning.

Public Transportation

One of the key IoT use cases in this sector is public transport. Municipalities apply technology to ensure convenience and security for passengers. For example, they can track and record traffic violations in real time to fine drivers. Connected cameras inside and outside vehicles constantly monitor the situation, fix incidents, and transfer data to a central location. They also can be integrated with other public surveillance systems.

Apart from security, the Internet of Things provides a wide range of other smart solutions for public transport. They include passenger information systems, automated fare collection, personalized travel information, and integrated ticketing. Transportation agencies which have adopted IoT use cases established better communication with passengers.

Smart Cities

With the constant population growth, cities increasingly turn to IoT technology to manage resource constraints. Smart city initiatives include environmental monitoring, waste management, public space surveillance, and other solutions to improve efficiency and quality of life. As the list of smart cities grows, so does the competition for the best urban solutions. Let’s explore some great IoT use cases in metropolises.

Smart Parking

The complexity of urban traffic is growing on a daily basis. Cities urgently need innovative systems to minimize traffic jams and help drivers quickly find and reserve available parking spaces. Today various IoT devices are used to form smart systems which empower drivers and parking facility managers with such advanced data as available parking lots and current parking fees.

One of the IoT examples is the use of sensors placed in the parking lot. They transmit sensor data to a server, which delivers information about the number of free spots, peak times and surcharges via mobile applications or display boards. With real-time updates, drivers never have to worry about not finding an available space. As a result, it helps to save money while also reducing congestion.

Traffic Management

Today, megapolises suffer from low road capacity and drivers – from loss of time in traffic jams. Such an IoT solution as a traffic management system allows to expand the capacity of city streets without building new roads. It includes various sensors, RFID tags, and BLE beacons installed at the traffic signals. The intelligent system monitors the movement of vehicles, captures the images, processes data, and transfers it to the control room. In addition to traffic control, the IoT system can search stolen vehicles and free roads for emergency services.

Intelligent traffic lights are one of the most commonly used IoT use cases for big cities. They utilize various sensors to monitor real-time traffic to reduce the idle time of vehicles and carbon emissions. Smart signals also adapt to changing weather conditions in real time. Built-in heat and moisture-sensitive sensors monitor the weather and send IoT data to traffic lights, which adjust the brightness depending on the road visibility.

Related reading: Solutions for Smart City

Retail

With almost limitless possibilities of the Internet of Things, thousands of innovative solutions have already been built and successfully integrated into the retail space. They use big data analytics to optimize customer experience and increase store management efficiency. And here are only some of them.

Supply Chain Management

Retail companies use IoT along with GPS and RFID technologies to track products through the entire supply chain process. They gain expanded visibility and remote control to monitor goods in transit and predict a precise delivery time. With smart devices, retailers can track such metrics as temperature and humidity, which are crucial for medicines and perishable goods. Such systems can alert supply chain managers and drivers if something goes wrong. For example, when the refrigerator broke and the temperature inside increased.

Innovative applications also speed up processes. They help to design the shortest routes and plan shipments using IoT data-driven insights. Innovative systems can even leverage real-time IoT data about the weather to adjust routes.

Inventory Monitoring

Traditional inventory management is time-consuming and at high risk of human errors. With IoT-enabled devices, it’s now possible to create a smart system, allowing real-time asset tracking. With clear and up-to-date data, smart warehouses improve overall efficiency and reduce costs by minimizing overstocking and stockouts.

In addition to real-time visibility, smart inventory management systems can automate restocking. Programmed sensors and tags automatically reorder stock when inventory levels reach a certain threshold. This eliminates time-consuming manual monitoring and ensures the continued availability of products. Collected data also enables businesses to analyze sales trends, purchase history, and stock movements, allowing them to identify patterns and make well-informed decisions regarding future inventory requirements.

Final Words

Collected in this article, IoT use cases are impressive. But even more impressive is that this is the only beginning for different industries. As early as now, surprising solutions like occupancy sensors in hotels or AI-based systems to check beer quality have already been implemented. Today, the uses of IoT are close to endless. And we can’t even imagine how far it goes in symbiosis with other technologies.

By: Julia Nasy
11 Aug. 2023
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