October 12, 2018
The concept of IoT can seem highly conceptual, but when broken down it’s easy to see how we already use IoT in our everyday lives and in our professional realms. In this post, we will explore case studies covering companies that successfully deployed IoT solutions as part of their digital transformation strategies.
Black and Decker Manufacturing Efficiency
IoT presents many potential benefits for manufacturing and production. These benefits range from quality control to productivity to automation.
When facing visibility and productivity challenges in its Reynosa, Mexico plant, hardware giant Black and Decker turned to Cisco for help. Together, they implemented RFID and WiFi tracking tags to identify material locations throughout the plant.
These WiFi tags also integrated with Black and Decker’s Programmable Logic Controller which helps monitor the steps of the quality control process until the products reach the end of the production line. Managers could then maintain better visibility of productivity of both their workers and equipment.
As a result of the IoT implementation, Black and Decker increased equipment effectiveness by 24%, could receive immediate notifications of issues for faster decision making, reduced labeling defects by 16% and increased production throughput by 10%.
Attunix Agriculture Case Study: Smart Rows
IoT is quickly making an impact on the agricultural sector. Sensor data assists farmers with monitoring vast areas of crops for health and soil conditions. Attunix partnered with Nebraska based company, Smart Rows, to deliver a precision liquid fertilizer solution that farmers could attach to their existing planters.
The solution monitored fertilizer levels placed in each furrow marking its GPS location and other environmental data at the point of delivery. Today, this system is increasing the farmers’ awareness of exactly what nutrients are being applied to their crops, as well as their effect on yields.
BC Hydro Utility and Power Infrastructure
BC Hydro is a Canadian hydro and power authority that provides 1.9 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers with energy. The utility also turned to Cisco when undergoing their digital transformation to deliver reliable, high-quality services, enable remote automation and monitoring and to connect applications over a common networking infrastructure. It also needed to develop infrastructure to support anticipated growth.
Cisco worked with BC Hydro to develop an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). With The Connected Grid based on Cisco Field Area Network (FAN) architecture, BC Hydro’s infrastructure was optimized for maximum utility and equipped with reliable telecommunication equipment to meet their energy delivery requirements.
BC Hydro also previously collected meter data manually, now thanks to IoT, its meters automatically send hourly usage data twice per day. This improves the customer experience by allowing them to more effectively reduce electricity costs.
The IoT elements of the upgraded infrastructure gave BC Hydro real-time access to data and analytics. The Connected Grid will use Cisco’s IOx software platform to better connect people, data and processes.
Vodafone’s Digital Buildings Offering
British telecommunications giant, Vodafone expanded its offerings to include IoT. Vodafone now offers clients digital buildings as a managed end-to-end service for security and connectivity. Vodafone adds connectivity capabilities to CCTV cameras to enable real-time monitoring in any location, via a single management console. In addition, Vodafone provides business analytics to track and analyze visual data to monitor everything from dwell time to building occupancy. For example, they can track where visitors spend most of their time in order to maximize utility of space.
Food and Beverage with GE IoT
GE is another major player in the IoT space. The conglomerate is a leading provider of packaging systems and solutions for the food and beverage industry. GE made a strategic partnership this year to power digital innovation in food and beverage packaging with SIG, a leading systems and solutions provider for aseptic packaging. GE sees the food and beverage industry as ripe for digital transformation as customers increasingly demand innovative, sustainable and convenient products. Meanwhile, producers face supply chain complexities, increasing costs and competition.
GE Digital’s APM and ServiceMax applications will enable SIG to help predict and manage SIG filling lines for beverages. SIG customers fill more than 10,000 different products in 65 countries. With IoT solutions, GE and SIG’s partnership can work towards improving asset performance and optimizing service delivery
IoT Coupled with Cloud Services
The ubiquity of cloud services further enables IoT solutions. Amazon Web Services (AWS), teamed up with San Francisco startup bigfinite to help pharmaceutical and life science companies break their data out of silos and leverage it to their advantage. The startup built their SaaS platform, bigengine, on AWS IoT to help collect data insights from lab and manufacturing equipment. Once collected, the data can be interpreted through a myriad of business intelligence tools available on Amazon’s platform. IoT coupled with the cloud has proven to reduce costs, improve compliance, and keep innovation moving forward.
Often times we learn from IoT case studies that businesses leverage data that already exists. With the help of devices, cloud connectivity and business analytics, the data tells a more complete, real-time story of a company’s operations and customer activity. IoT helps companies take a surgical approach to addressing challenges versus making risky gut decisions.