In 1982, at Pittsburgh’s prestigious Carnegie Mellon University, a problem was discovered: the Coca Cola from its sole vending machine kept running out.
After much consideration, a simple solution was found. It was connected to the University’s internal systems and students could check remotely if there was any soda left. Thus the first Internet of Things (IoT) solution was created.
In the intervening years this technology strategy has led to some outstanding achievements.
Connected beehives have helped us understand and address the reasons behind the collapse in bee population. Sensors are used in the homes of the frail and vulnerable to monitor their daily wellbeing without being intrusive.
eCall in cars automatically calls the emergency services in the event of an accident, saving precious minutes. And flood sensors are used to predict and help prevent flooding by the UK’s rivers.
Slowly but surely, IoT is changing our very society, touching every part of our lives.
"By 2025, the economic impact resulting from Internet of Things could be as much as $11.1 Trillion, the equivalent of 11% of global GDP"
World Economic Forum
And business is no exception.
How and where and if IoT can help your business is entirely down to the problems you want to solve. But here are some simple facts. Apply IoT to the right problems and it will:
- Improve your competitive advantage
- Improve your customer experience
- Improve your bottom line
In short, your business has everything to gain. If you want to know more…. read on.
Disrupt or be disrupted
Digitisation has been identified across every industry as both a major opportunity and a significant threat. There can be little doubt that some of today’s digital success stories have come at the expense of traditional counterparts.
And it would be no understatement to say that the Internet of Things has the power to revolutionise every business.
IoT is about the evolution of a new ecosystem – one that brings together new disciplines, including connected devices, data analytics, automation and artificial intelligence amongst them.
It’s an ecosystem that will not only impact your products and services, but your staff too, bringing new skills and opportunities.
We are barely scratching the surface of what is possible, but for businesses, the priority is to identify these first opportunities, and gaining a foothold at the forefront of this change.
The art of the possible #1 -
For nearly 20 years, scientists and beekeepers have been barcoding bees, allowing them to track the movements of individual insects.
The results have been used from everything to assessing the impact of pesticides to tracking the spread of diseases which have decimated the bee population worldwide. It has even led to the discovery of new species.
It's all about data
At the centre of IoT sits data: historical data sources; new data sources; open and transparent data; gaining data in realtime; advanced analysis of data; predictive data modelling.
More and more data is available to inform strategy and decision making if – and only if – it can be turned into intelligence.
In fact, not all data is equal and deciding which data you need to solve your problem is essential to informing an IoT strategy.
We can know more than ever before about a device or the environment in which it has been placed, but it isn’t always cheap or easy to connect a device, so the first step is to understand the potential value of the data that will be provided
The art of the possible #2 -
Local councils are placing sensors underneath bridges to monitor water levels and provide early flood alerts not only to the local area but downstream too.
A customer identifies a problem
- If I knew more about X, that would enable me to optimise/rationalise/save money on Y’
- If there is data you own, you are at an immediate advantage
- Providing new or improved understanding, insight and value
- Consider the costs, logistics and viability of deploying and maintaining the Things vs value of the data they would collect
- Pilot and build, integrate new data into understanding, and derive value from new insight
- Does any new data, infrastructure and insight enable new opportunities or shift the needle on previously discounted ideas?
Making the business case
Deployment of an IoT strategy is not a traditional project with a clear end. Instead it will be about incremental changes, a series of journeys that you take as you introduce new infrastructure, measurement and analysis.
This can be problematic for a business focused on immediate and tangible ROI. In the early stages of IoT, when considering the cost of deploying a connected device, if the business case is made in isolation it will often make the opportunity unviable.
Yet if the same connectivity asset could be used for multiple devices – immediately or in the future – the decision to invest becomes much more sound.
"70% businesses believe the Internet of Things is already having an impact on their sector"
Key questions to consider
- Can the device be connected economically to deliver the data that it is required to collect and transmit?
- Can the device be maintained economically so as to continue to deliver the required data over a suitably long period?
- Can the data generated be transmitted and stored with sufficient security?
- Who owns the generated data (and is that ownership appropriate to the data itself)?
- After considering these previous points, is there a business case (or a strategic justification that outweighs business case) for collecting the data?
Start your IoT journey
New customers, new markets, new business models – ultimately IoT has the capability to transform your business. At Capita, we can help you begin that journey.
The art of the possible #3 -
Housing Associations across the UK are using IoT to provide non-intrusive support to vulnerable tenants. Sensors monitoring decibels, heat and movement have been deployed, allowing support teams to spot unusual behaviour and quickly identify tenants in need without infringing their privacy.
In one case, an elderly patient who had fallen in the night was identified when there was no noise in the kitchen at 6am – his usual breakfast time.
Get support with
your IoT strategy
Get support with
your IoT strategy
The Internet of Things places many new demands on IT infrastructure. Our solutions are designed to transcend those demands and provide your business with a platform ready to meet the needs of digitisation.
Through our group partnerships, we can deliver end to end capabilities, to support your business and enable your digital transformation.
Sound networking infrastructure that meets the challenges of power, big data and security is fundamental to an effective IoT strategy.
We can help accelerate your transition to an intelligent, IoT-based infrastructure through our broad portfolio of networking technologies.
Our network infrastructure solutions support both IT and OT standards and protocols.
This enables businesses to converge multiple proprietary systems onto a single IP network that is secure, reliable and scalable, increasing agility, operational efficiency, visibility and security.
The question of whether a ‘Thing’ should be connected is often outweighed by the practicalities of doing so. Key barriers can include the availability of suitable connectivity (and bandwidth) in the location where the device will be located as well as finding a power source that has sufficient longevity and powering for the device itself.
Capita has access to all major network footprints to offer a highly resilient and diverse network footprint. In addition, our capabilities include:
Full mobile coverage, including multi-carrier SIMs
Paging capabilities, for one-way traffic, offering low power requirements
Satellite capability, for coverage in geographically remote areas
SmallCell, to boost mobile signal in blackspots
Low Power Wide Area (LPWA), connecting devices that transmit very small quantities of data with very low battery drain
20.9bn - The number of 'things' that Gartner forecasts will be connected worldwide by 2020. This includes 250m connected cars with automated driving capabilities.
Big Data is a major cause for concern for many businesses. Transmission, security and storage are all overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data created.
Fog computing can help mitigate these concerns. Using spare compute power at the edge to rationalise data according to pre-defined policies, it allows you to save the data you need and disregard the rest, reducing both bandwidth and storage requirements, making analysis and intelligence a simpler task.
Network as a Sensor
There can be little doubt that IoT raises new security concerns which must be addressed.
Our ‘Network as a Sensor’ approach embeds security directly into your network infrastructure, providing accurate, real-time view of the network fabric, endpoints, mobile devices, applications, virtual environments and the cloud.
Use the intelligence gained to identify and contain malicious traffic quickly and effectively.
Not only does your network need to be fit for transmitting, rationalising and storing your data securely, but, through recent innovations, it can also be used as a data source in its own right.
Using existing wireless infrastructure, we can provide insight into footfall, passers-by, conversion and bounce rates, dwell times, return visits and frequency to deliver a snapshot of customer behaviour in your physical spaces.
This can also be combined with your own staff or customer data and social media data to create user behaviour profiles, identify individuals in realtime and deliver a personalised experience.
The art of the possible #4 - The informed handyman
White goods manufacturers are using IoT to deliver better service. When a washing machine develops a fault, internal connected sensors mean by the time the repair man arrives, he will already know what the problem is and will have the right parts with him to fix it first time. This approach is allowing manufacturers to evolve their businesses from a product to a service orientated model.
Asset monitoring and tracking:
new ways to gather data
IoT is not just about using existing data sources, but about sourcing data from devices that were previously ‘dumb’.
The ability to add intelligent sensors from everything to new pieces of machinery, to production lines, all the way through to living animals – and people – is central to gaining new data and from that, new perspective. At Capita, our capabilities include:
Intelligent sensor deployment
Production line analysis
Asset tracking via RFID tagging or mobile/GPS
Asset lifecycle management
Data Analytics: turning data into intelligence
The ability to collate data from a multitude of sources and turn it into sound business intelligence to inform strategy sits at the heart of the IoT proposition.
At Capita, we have multiple business teams specialising in very different sorts of data analytics to deliver the following:
By using IoT for predictive maintenance and quality control during the manufacturing process, BMW reduced the scrap rate of defective vehicles by 80%
Smart Buildings: maximising physical infrastructure
Buildings are increasingly being asked to perform better – environmentally, economically and socially.
Many are already equipped with sophisticated access control and building management systems but are yet to bring those capabilities together into a single infrastructure view.
Whether investing in a new build, or retrofitting an existing building, Capita has a wealth of capabilities to support you:
Intelligent Infrastructure Management Systems, to unify the management of cabling infrastructures
Connectivity – wireless, radio, line of sight, Li-Fi
Digital Ceilings, combining Lighting, Air conditioning, WiFi, Smoke detectors and Fire systems into a single IP-controlled unit
IP Surveillance and CCTV
IP Access control and security
Energy management and metering