Location and IoT: The Future is Now

By Special Guest
Kanish Sharma, Manager, Product Marketing, Skyhook
June 05, 2017

We are at a critical point in the evolution of both the Internet of Things (IoT) and the ancillary technology designed to support it. McKinsey suggests that the total IoT market will reach anywhere between $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion by 2025.

This progression is remarkable given that until recently, most machines and devices operated in silos, unable to communicate or share information between one another. The evolution of technology has made IoT devices smaller and more affordable, driving adoption and usability in day-to-day activities.

Powering devices with accurate location data makes IoT technology even more useful. Below are a few examples of how industries like supply chain, logistics management, healthcare, safety and security, and asset management can all benefit from the marriage of accurate location and IoT.

Supply Chain
It may not seem obvious at first, but the success of holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day depend heavily on a seamless supply chain. Americans spend $2.6 billion on flowers on Mothers Day alone, and the success or failure of florists relies heavily on the expectation that every petal arrive in mint condition. Key for meeting today’s customer expectations is the application of IoT in supply chain and logistics management. The complexity inherent to moving large shipments of perishable, temperature-sensitive goods, like flowers, is considerable. Reliable technology that enables companies to measure and control the many variables is critical -- including tracking assets and preempting disastrous malfunctions is critically important to avoid failures in the chain.

The healthcare industry is poised to experience a monumental shift as a result of IoT. According to Aruba Networks, 87 percent of healthcare organizations will adopt IoT technology by 2019. One area being impacted by IoT is preventative medicine. Devices created to monitor patient medicine intake - such as smart inhalers that measure dosage and frequency - aim to reduce acute care visits. While still in its infant stages, doctors using these devices can control a “feedback loop” and use the data to improve a patient’s health.

John Hancock offers a healthcare and insurance program that is redefining policies by introducing wearable data into policy considerations. The program requires policyholders to take a fitness test in order to receive tailored health goals. These goals can be attained by easily logging activities using online and automated tools, which are integrated into wearable devices. In fact, John Hancock gives every new customer a free Fitbit as an easy way to track their progress, marrying consumer and enterprise IoT data.

Safety and Security
Technology has evolved to the point where wearables now play a key role in tracking and safety devices. The market has exploded with child safety devices such as HereO smartwatches and mobile personal emergency response systems like the Philips Lifeline. In addition, several manufacturers have recently launched highly reliable pet and offender tracking devices as well. All of these applications have one extremely important factor in common -- the need for precise location.

What’s Next?
The potential of, well, “things” is yet to be discovered - in fact, IoT is already fueling innovation that, until recently, was imaginable only in movies. The idea of a smart home, once a mere fantasy, is now a reality thanks to IoT. Last year, 80 million smart home devices were delivered worldwide, a 64 percent increase from 2015. It is now possible to connect almost all of our smart products, making our lives easier. We can connect smart appliances (washers, dryers, refrigerators), smart security systems (sensors, monitors, cameras and alarm systems) and smart home energy equipment (smart thermostats and smart lighting) so we’re in contact with our homes even while away from them. This enables a whole lot more management and has the potential to contribute to energy and money savings, to start.

IoT is shifting into uncharted territory. Adding location to IoT applies a new level of awareness to connected things that was previously undiscovered. With innovation advancing at an unprecedented speed, the future of IoT is anyone’s guess, but expectations are high and the greatest minds are at work figuring out what’s to come.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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