The State of IoT – Current and New Trends in Manufacturing and other Industries

13 October 2020

In a short period the Internet of Things (IoT), from a buzzword has developed into a technology that enhances the quality of our everyday lives, impacts how small or large-scale enterprises shape their operations and how entire systems and technologies are developed. By 2022, Statista forecasts that the global spending on IoT will reach 1.1 trillion U.S. dollars. This staggering amount highlights and emphasizes the value proposition associated with IoT. 

As new trends emerge and “old” ones rise again fully transformed each year, we at Komete aim to provide to customers and enterprises some of the finest IoT solutions in the market. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the latest and most fascinating IoT trends, how the recent global pandemic caused by Covid-19 has altered and propelled their adoption and how we can help you and your companies reach that next level. 

IoT and Manufacturing – A Match Made in Heaven

At its core, IoT consists of multiple smart devices that communicate with each other and are connected to the internet. The number of devices being installed and activated, increases every single second that passes. Based on statistics from a McKinsey research, in the time that it will take a person to read a five minute article, around 40000 IoT devices will have been connected. 

One of the prime tasks of these IoT devices is to collect data. Data that can help companies enhance their processes, reshape operations, provide better products and services and improve their position in the market. In the beginning, businesses had a limited idea of what to do with all the data that they accumulated and the insights generated by them. Yet quickly, particularly in manufacturing, the benefits revealed themselves. Today, all over the world, smart factories are being built and traditional ones are being transformed into them. These factories are distinguished by three features, better supply logistics, improved production rates and continuous maintenance checks.

In a world where parts for a device are produced by different suppliers, in different countries, assembled in another one and sold in another, having good logistics is vital. Managing global supply chains is no easy task, but by harnessing the potential of IoT, the process can be drastically better. Our solution is called, Veriflot. Thanks to GPS tracking devices, Veriflot allows you to check where your shipments, trucks, containers are, 24/7 in every corner of the world. Moreover, evaluate what or which supplier is causing delays, generate performance reports and schedule maintenance hours and days, to name a few additional features. It makes logistical management a hassle-free and simple procedure, and more importantly, finally gives companies control over this painstaking process. Checking their statistics, companies can opt for new suppliers, shorter routes that cost them less or even fully restructuring their supply chains; trying and testing what works best for them.

Once all parts and materials are inside a factory or magazine, they will have to be either moved again from one spot to another, go through some form of an assembly line or get stored in a particular area at the end. By using smart objects like bluetooth beacons or RFiD tags, one can track and analyze the flow of production lots or key assets inside a factory. Our recent project Komete BeLean will give companies the ability to do just so. Naturally, to complete each action, say crate X goes from A to B to C, it takes a certain amount of time. Managers can review each of these actions and see which one is taking too long to complete, or in which part of the product’s journey the flow of operations is disrupted. With the help of IoT devices such as Komete’s BeLean, they can restructure their floor plan, create more efficient paths that increase productivity or develop mechanisms that eliminate bottlenecks. Industry has always been defined by its ability to maximise its output.

In factories and other working environments, we shouldn’t forget that the ones that drive everything and make it happen, are the people who work there. Their safety is paramount, especially in the times we are currently living in. The global pandemic caused by Covid-19 has placed major restrictions on how businesses should run their operations, but it doesn’t have to be so. Our simple and intelligent solution, Komete BeSafe is an easy-to-carry wearable device that helps employees maintain social distancing, warn them when that distance is breached and track with whom a possibly infected individual might have had contact. This device doesn’t simply just help in preventing the spread of a virus of any kind, it simultaneously keeps a constant check on employees’ health and empowers them even further in their tasks. Looking at their own working patterns, employees or managers can come up with better ways to work, organize and handle tasks. 

As we move forward, we are confident that instead of shutting down all operations, BeSafe will ensure that work continues at full capacity, no matter what happens, and that employees and companies will get value out of it any time and period, to increase efficiency in different working environments.

Trends to keep an eye on

Like for our factories and working environments, IoT is helping create also smarter houses, stores and even whole cities. Currently there are devices that allow their users to monitor and adjust the temperature of their homes with a touch of a button, set times for lights to turn off and on and curtains to open or close automatically, or with a simple voice command. There are smart cameras that you can access from anywhere in the world instantly, that have no storage recording limits. Smart fridges that keep you updated on the expiry dates of foods and drinks and a plethora of other interconnect devices and sensors that you might think are straight out of a sci movie.

Since the beginning of IoT and even today, the biggest recipient of funds and investments has been healthcare. Take a look at your phone or smartwatch, they now beside measuring the amount of steps you have made in a day, can measure your heartbeat constantly, do ECG readings and by being connected to a large system, can help doctors detect health related issues that might arise, before they even do. Sensors can keep an eye constantly on the condition of delicate materials, send signals if they aren’t in an optimal condition, or adjust them by themselves. Help improve a room’s light and a patient’s diet based on their stats for a faster recovery.

IoT isn’t about automation, it is about augmentation. It aims to enhance the quality of our lives and improve the way even the most basic or most complex operations are handled. By harnessing its potential, companies can increase their productivity, efficiency and their revenues and any individual can keep a pulse on their performance and health condition at any time. So far so good, but when it comes to IoT this is only the beginning, and we will soon see news trends emerge and the ones mentioned above evolve further.