Sixty Percent of Manufacturers Are Testing Industrial IoT Programs, but Only 1 in 20 Have Clear Business Case

Sixty Percent of Manufacturers Are Testing Industrial IoT Programs, but Only 1 in 20 Have Clear Business Case

Emerson/IndustryWeek Study Shows Profitability Gains of 10 Percent or Greater Coming From Automation and Training/Competency Development.

Manufacturers are convinced the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) will help them improve operations and profitability by 10 percent or more, but most are struggling to develop the right plans to take advantage of the technology, according to a new IndustryWeek survey sponsored by Emerson.

The survey revealed that about 60 percent are exploring or investing in Industrial IoT pilot projects, but only 5 percent are investing against a clear business case for how to best implement the technology. The vast majority of Industrial IoT investment today is in the early stages of plan development and small-scale trials, often as part of a larger operational efficiency program.

The survey found the biggest challenges for operational efficiency programs are:

  • company culture (47 percent)
  • lack of clear business strategy (41 percent)
  • and knowing which technology will deliver measurable improvement (34 percent).

“Early Industrial IoT successes demonstrate that manufacturers can achieve operational improvements that significantly impact the bottom line, but this survey shows that adapting to advancing technology is a significant challenge,” said Mike Train, executive president of Emerson Automation Solutions.

“The small percentage of companies that have already developed clear business plans for Industrial IoT are positioning themselves to realize tremendous competitive advantages. We encourage everyone else to consider two critical first steps: start small and invest in applications that enable a clear business case.”

Even with the challenges associated with Industrial IoT and operational excellence programs, more than half (55 percent) of respondents indicated they see an opportunity for improved operations to enhance their business’ profitability by 10 percent or more. They cited automation (31 percent) and training and competency development (31 percent) as the biggest sources for return on investment.

Industrial IoT is well-suited for small-scale trial applications, such as monitoring equipment health or energy consumption within a facility. These smaller initial projects most often address clear business needs in a measurable way, while also giving manufacturers the opportunity to evaluate broader applications as they gain expertise. This approach was well-understood in the survey, with 61 percent saying the best business case is built by starting small, then scaling up.

For example, Denka Singapore built a business case around steam trap monitoring as a starting point for IoT-enablement of its Jurong Island polystyrene resins plant. Steam traps fail frequently, resulting in lost energy and higher costs. Rather than accept these losses, Denka worked with Emerson to install monitors to identify faulty traps. This small-scale IoT deployment – managed by Emerson via a subscription model that required no up-front investment by Denka – demonstrated returns in a matter of months with a 7 percent reduction in energy costs. It also served as a springboard for Denka to move to a more proactive approach to facility maintenance.

Emerson recently launched its expanded Plantweb™ digital ecosystem to support manufacturers as they seek to implement Industrial IoT and develop enterprise-wise business cases. The Plantweb portfolio includes asset health applications that provide quantifiable business results, as well as Plantweb Advisor software for facility-wide applications that can run on premise at a customer location, in a private company cloud network or through a third-party cloud services arrangement.

While IT departments have historically led in the implementation of new technologies, the survey found, when it comes to successful Industrial IoT implementation, operations, engineering and IT are all involved in most cases.

“Technology teams will be the first to tell you: Operations needs to be front and center for technology plans designed to deliver operational improvements,” Train said. “Close collaboration between information technology and operations technology is key to successful implementation of Industrial IoT projects that meet clear business goals.”

In more and more cases, lack of in-house expertise on certain technologies or processes can be overcome by engaging the right technology partners. Industrial IoT and cloud services are enabling remote monitoring and management of an increasing number of facility functions by third parties with relevant expertise.

“When looking at cloud-based activities, there are certain functions such as running proprietary processes that should always remain the core function of our customers,” Train said. “However, there are other applications that can be securely monitored and managed over the Internet by third-party experts, which can result in significant savings.”

Emerson IIoT infographic – click here to download

Emerson IIoT infographic

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First black rhinos protected by sensor-implants in horns

First black rhinos protected by sensor-implants in horns

The Internet of Life and the ShadowView Foundation have successfully implanted LoRaWAN-equipped sensors directly into the horns of critically endangered black rhinos.

The sensors give park rangers the ability to accurately monitor the whereabouts and activities of the large mammals and keep them safe from poachers.

The operation took place in Tanzania and is part of a LoRaWAN IoT Smart Parks solution that is rolled out in several National Parks throughout Africa. The rhino trackers show the location of the animals within the sanctuary, providing the park’s security personnel with better actionable intelligence. The deployment in Tanzania was supported by Semtech and Kerlink.

Using the LoRaWAN network’s cost-effective, energy-efficient and long-distance connectivity (up to 30 kms), powered by Kerlink Wirnet iBTS Compact 868 MHz, small sensors were directly implanted in the horns the rhinos. Kerlink’s geolocation-ready LoRaWAN gateways combined with Semtech’s geolocation solver eliminate the need for GPS systems in use in some IoT applications that consume far more energy.

The geolocation systems’ longer lifecycle allows Smart Parks trackers to update the rhinos’ location a couple of times per hour instead of the once or twice a day allowed by other systems. The increase of detailed data is transmitted from the sensors within the network to an observation room where the tracked items appear on a digital map.

“The brutal onslaught of poaching of rhino populations across Africa has resulted in fewer than 5,000 black rhinos remaining in the wild”, explains project leader Tim van Dam, “1,000 of which are the Eastern black rhino subspecies. Smart Parks is a new tool in the battle against poaching.”

As a next step, ShadowView and The Internet of Life acquired the support of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to increase network coverage of the protected area, so that all black rhinos in the area can be protected with Smart Parks.

Other Smart Park applications used by the park management are the monitoring of gate open/closures through solar-powered LoRaWAN-based sensors installed on the gates and solar-powered trackers installed on vehicles to track the whereabouts of personnel and tourists in high-risk areas. ShadowView and The Internet of Life will continue their efforts to improve the Smart Parks solution in several National Parks. New applications, like improved fence monitoring, connected camera-traps and tracking of equipment, like firearms, will be launched in the near future.

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Sigfox Announces a Partnership in IoT with Alps Electric Europe

Sigfox Announces a Partnership in IoT with Alps Electric Europe

Alps Electric Europe to pursue a Sigfox IoT strategy. Mass-production of Alps-Sigfox devices for asset-tracking and predictive maintenance to start in Ireland.

At Sigfox World IoT Expo, Sigfox and Alps Electric Europe announced their partnership to work closely together on common customer projects.

In addition, Alps Electric Europe chooses Sigfox as their main LPWAN connectivity technology for future product developments.

Alps Electric is one of the world’s leading suppliers of specialist electronic components to the automotive, industrial and smartphone industry. Its products include sensors, human-machine interfaces, switches, connectivity devices, and more.

Alps Electric Europe GmbH, with which Sigfox will be working directly, is the Alps IoT Competence Center for professional industrial solutions. The company is at the leading edge of IoT development and is currently working with Sigfox on projects such as asset-tracking applications, based on Sigfox geolocation offer or in combination with Wi-Fi or GPS, and predictive maintenance solutions.

The partnership between Sigfox and Alps Electric Europe gives both companies the opportunity to work with leading technology partners who will be able to bring innovative and world-leading technology to the task of making IoT devices that will serve the Industrial IoT market. Alps has already started production of Sigfox-enabled devices in their factory in Ireland.

Vincent Sabot, Sigfox VP Europe, said:
“We’re delighted to have started a wide partnership with Alps Electric Europe. Working with an advanced engineering partner such as Alps gives us the chance to operate at the cutting edge of the industry and to show what IoT is capable of and the benefits it can bring to consumers.”

Sascha Kunzmann, Head of Strategic Business Development Alps Electric Europe GmbH, said:

“We chose to work with Sigfox because we have complete confidence in its technology, its ability to supply at scale, and that it would be innovative and fast-moving enough to keep up with the high-technology, high-end markets in which Alps Electric works.”

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Community IoT – The Next Smart Home Business Opportunity

Community IoT - The Next Smart Home Business Opportunity

Exclusive guest post by Thomas Rockmann, VP Connected Home at Deutsche Telekom.

Smart home technologies have gained considerable traction among homeowners, but without wider interoperability it can be hard to see where the wider community can benefit, even when the use case seems obvious – an example being smart security systems.

The benefits (both altruistic and selfish) of knowing your neighbour is being burgled, or their house is on fire are clear, but the necessary framework has not yet gained widespread traction. In the US this siloed approach has received attention from the Department of Homeland Security, which is set to join the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Global City Teams Challenge in 2018. The Challenge aims to bring together private- and public-sector stakeholders to collaborate on internet of things (IoT) devices and community cybersecurity infrastructure and break down those silos.

There is plenty at stake here – the expanding IoT ecosystem is estimated to have a $ 1.7 trillion annual economic impact in cities by 20251, and arguably we are seeing the next generation of connected smart home services begin to emerge, and they are inherently social.

The fact that smart home technology has begun to align with social requirements should come as no surprise – 50% of the world’s population live in cities, and by 2050 that will rise to 70% . Fascinatingly though, this city-dwelling majority must contend with the fact that 99% of apartment buildings worldwide have no digital infrastructure.

A survey from Daintree Networks found that almost 60% of building managers in the U.S. are familiar with IoT, and 43% believe that these technologies will begin to impact on how they operate and manage their buildings in the next two to three years2. American-based smart apartment infrastructure players such as Dwelo have seen significant interest, raising $ 9.7 million in funding to date3.

Energy provision, monitoring and usage is a key requirement for all stakeholders, even today, and is set to increase in importance as costs rise and emissions targets crunch. The European Commission expects that 72% of consumers in the European Union will have smart electricity meters installed in their homes by 2020, and 40% will have a smart gas meter4. Electric vehicles are now set to be a feature of our roads, with new petrol cars being banned within decades, giving rise to sophisticated smart vehicle-to-grid power systems to smooth peak demand.

This combination of factors is working together in the immediate term to create an exciting fusion of smart home technology, IoT and social network, where community IoT connects homeowners in building blocks or gated communities, enhancing traditional smart home offerings by extending them beyond one consumer’s home for use within communities, grouping many users together and then linking them with facilities management and property managers.

One interesting example is a social community service5, such as one that was rolled out in Germany in May 2017, which exemplifies the benefits of wider smart home connectivity for apartment tenants. For the first time, individuals are empowered to drive this long overdue innovation of connected community themselves. In just five minutes, and without any technical skill or requirements, anyone can start a private social platform for their building.

Shared smart sensors are, of course, a preferable way of feeding data into the system, but manual reporting is also possible – especially important for older buildings. Communal issues such as building faults and breakdowns can be easily logged and reported to the relevant authorities, while other residents affected by the issue can be notified that a fix is in the works. For example, a broken lift or non-functioning communal light can be reported by one resident, logged, and a repair technician allocated. Other members of the community can follow the progress of the repair, rather than logging duplicate requests. Where apartments are non-serviced, a premium service with a home emergency repairs provider could be connected instead.

Once connected to smart meters, it is possible to monitor irregular usage and pre-empt damaging leaks, for example by use of an energy measurement service, while receiving a community alert that an intruder alarm has been triggered enables fast response, as well as enhancing security for the community as a whole.

There are of course softer benefits to the community system too, from the purely social to more practical help, such as watering a neighbour’s plants and pet-sitting while they are on holiday, or local tradesman recommendations.

This new social community business model offers added value to the smart home proposition, and also offers a whole new set of opportunities to property developers and maintenance contractors. Property developers stand to smooth the commissioning and snagging of new apartment buildings significantly, as building managers can log and track user-reported requests, as well as make significant savings across larger portfolios by aggregating issues and fixing them in bulk.

smart home technologyMeanwhile, building managers and contractors can also benefit, by smoothing workflows, aggregating specialist jobs across sites and also gaining the trust of tenants through regular interaction and clear communication, as well as rapid response. Finally, there is opportunity for enhanced marketing dividends, both by partnering with other stakeholders, but also indirectly through word of mouth from satisfied customers.

There is considerable opportunity for cross and up-selling too, by adding in opportunities to ‘go premium’ within the service itself, but also with partner products and services through, for example, a general support services company, security system vendor or third-party energy measurement service. In addition, the future possibilities for energy aggregators to provide bespoke tariffs for such connected, smart metered groups of consumers is clear. Across Europe, the concept of elevated peak energy pricing is gaining traction, and the potential for grouping hundreds of apartment owners together to leverage beneficial pricing in return for smarter, off peak energy usage is significant.

It is certain that this democratic, social based movement for city dwellers is just the first in a new wave of services that put the ‘smart’ into ‘smart home’ products, and deliver significant benefits for the wider community, as well as product owners themselves. The future is for sharing.

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The installed base of fleet management systems in Europe will reach 14.1 million by 2021

The installed base of fleet management systems in Europe will reach 14.1 million by 2021

The number of active fleet management systems deployed in commercial vehicle fleets in Europe was 6.6 million in Q4-2016, according to a new research report from the M2M/IoT analyst firm Berg Insight.

Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.4 percent, this number is expected to reach 14.1 million by 2021. The top-14 vendors have today more than 100,000 active units in Europe.

TomTom’s subscriber base has grown both organically and by acquisitions during the past years and the company is now the clear market leader on the European market and reached an installed base of about 609,000 units at year-end 2016. Masternaut is still in second place and had achieved an installed base of an estimated 300,000 units at the year-end.

Berg Insight ranks Microlise as the third largest player in terms of active installed base with around 210,000 units. Verizon (Fleetmatics and Telogis), ABAX, Teletrac Navman, Bornemann, Transics, Trimble, Gurtam, Targa Telematics, Viasat and OCEAN (Orange) also have more than 100,000 active devices in the field. The HCV manufacturers are now growing their subscriber bases considerably in Europe thanks to standard line fitment of fleet management solutions. Dynafleet by Volvo, FleetBoard by Daimler and Scania Fleet Management are the most successful with active subscriber bases of 99,000 units, 99,000 units and 172,000 units respectively as of Q4-2016.

The consolidation trend on this market continued in 2017.
Johan Fagerberg, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight, said:

“Ten major mergers and acquisitions have taken place in the past twelve months among the vendors of fleet management systems in Europe.”

Berg Insight chart: installed base of active fleet management EU27 2015-2021Trakm8 acquired Roadsense Technology in August 2016. Roadsense is a supplier of fleet telematics and safety products in the UK. In September, Fleetmatics (Verizon) acquired the Portugal-based fleet management provider Inosat, thus expanding the presence in Southern Europe and to some extent also South America. The acquisition of Inosat added around 50,000 vehicle subscriptions to Fleetmatics’ existing installed base. Trackunit acquired German-based Dreyer+Timm in September 2016. Later in November, Fleetmatics (Verizon) announced the acquisition of Berlin-based TrackEasy, a fleet management software provider in Germany and Poland, adding approximately 15,000 vehicles to the installed base. In January 2017, Viasat Group acquired MobileFleet (majority stake adding about 23,000 subscribers). In February, Princip was acquired by W.A.G. Payment Solutions which is among the six largest European providers of payment solutions for road mobility. Viasat Group continued its acquisition spree in May when buying ICOM in Bulgaria. One of the largest transactions this year was when Investcorp acquired ABAX in June 2017. Investcorp paid NOK 1.8 billion (US$ 210 million), which translates to about US$ 1,000 per FM subscriber. Isotrak acquired UK Fleet Management technology business VeriLocation in the same month. The latest transaction was done in July when TIMKEN acquired Groeneveld Group that owns Groeneveld ICT Solutions.

Mr. Fagerberg anticipates that the market consolidation of the still overcrowded industry will continue in 2017–2018.

Download report brochure: Fleet Management in Europe

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