Does your company have some level of presence in the physical world (opposite to the internet/virtual one)? Chances are IoT will have an impact on what you do and how you do it.

Internet of things gives computing power and connects to the internet physical elements whose main function is not computing and connecting (we could discuss that the main function of a phone is making calls but usually phones don’t qualify as “Things”).

Everybody understands a Pizza Delivery/Take away Restaurant. Let’s take this simple example and make some modifications with connected devices to illustrate IoT examples:

  • There is a device to count people at the entrance that knows at any time how many people there are in the restaurant ordering
  • There is an intelligent oven with cameras for the baking process.
  • Delivery motorbikes send GPS data
  • Carry box have temperature sensors.
  • Pizza boxes are equipped with a NFC tag to identify the pizza
  • Ingredients’ boxes are equipped with balances and leds to communicate portions
  • The cash machine takes orders and registers them properly

We have settled the battleground, what can be done today?

Customer View

Customers order pizza through the internet, phone or directly in the shop. They know at anytime when they will receive their pizza, whether is in the shop or at home. When they have finished their pizza they scan the NFC tag in the box to be able to give feedback on that pizza and receive coupons for the next order.

Business View

Demand prediction means efficiency in costs. People waiting on the shop can be optimised. Delivery crew can be adapted to peak hours.

Customer satisfaction is linked to each pizza customer received. The ingredients that were added to it are tracked so most successful pizzas can be replicated. The balances in the ingredients boxes tell cooks when to stop pouring certain ingredients in the pizza and pizzas can be personalised for customers preferences. Cameras in the ovens allow a perfect baking process linked to customers’ preferences and avoid overcooking. Business keeps track on the temperature of the delivery box in the motorbike so infer which levels of temperature are OK for customers and discard orders that might not be optimal.

Providers View

Providers place raw materials orders directly when certain elements meet between ingredients boxes and demand prediction so the ingredients are always as fresh as possible and less waste is generated. Oven maintenance company comes when some error is detected (or predicted) and allows a 24h operation time with no backup.

A big overdesign but at the same time…

Some reflections about this simple example:

  • Technology exists and “things” can add new experiences and efficiencies to processes
  • It is not science fiction, it’s just a matter of costs of technology (open platforms can help; check and the right integration in nowaday processes
  • IoT may not bring a double digit efficiency increase today but in industrial cases, a single digit efficiency increase might be enough to justify the investment
  • It is not technology only for a group of premium companies, IoT will become a “have it or die technology” (would you have thought that e-commerce would become that on 2001?)

With the proper scale, this simple example makes a lot of sense. Imagine a 10 million USD running cost per day factory and make the numbers of demand prediction, waste savings, predictive maintenance, replacement parts stock, raw materials stock management, customer satisfaction etc… And always have security in mind.

What are your hyperboles? What are your real IoT use cases? How big is your efficiency increase? Challenge us!