Smart Wine Shelves And Connected Cows: The IoT Has Arrived

Now that we’ve managed to connect nearly every person on the planet, the focus has shifted to connecting everyday objects. Accenture CTO Paul Daugherty once commented, “The Internet of Things promises to bring every object, consumer, and activity into the digital realm.”

From an egg tray in your fridge that tells you how many eggs you have left and how fresh they are to a Bluetooth toaster that sends you a notification when your toast is done, Paul was clearly onto something – and we’ve welcomed the IoT into our lives and into our homes. IDC predicts that the worldwide IoT will represent upwards of $ 1.3 trillion in 2020, supporting 30 billion connected endpoints. There are many consumer IoT use cases, some of which have proven incredibly useful, while others, such as the aforementioned, are borderline excessive.

Regardless, consumer industries are facing a revolution in the way they engage and interact with customers. For key industries such as retail and agribusiness, the IoT is enabling many new opportunities. These industries have a common goal and challenge: to create and offer engaging end-user experiences at scale. There are compelling scenarios for leveraging the IoT to support engagement with digitally savvy consumers that generate business value.

Sitting on the sideline is not an option – now is the time to implement IoT technologies. Here are a few examples to whet your IoT palette:

The Internet of wine

BASF, the leading chemicals firm, has created an IoT Smart Wine Shelf. When a customer takes a bottle of wine from the shelf, a light sensor transmits this information to the system, triggering details of the wine’s vintage and flavour to appear on a screen. From a business perspective, it’s not just the solution’s entertainment value that sparks interest, but also the data it generates. For instance, it’s possible to analyse which wines are frequently recommended but rarely removed from the shelf. Insights like this help the wine seller select or rearrange wine bottles more effectively.

The Internet of cattle

Drones and horseback riding might not necessarily seem the most likely partners, but there’s a fascinating story of two software developers who have combined their interests to create IoT solutions for agribusinesses worldwide. The “Quadcopter Cowboys,” Alexander and Oleg Bolgarin, came up with an idea that will help ranchers sleep better: Collar cattle with sensors, connect the herd to the cloud, and apply drones as “mobile base stations” to ferry cattle data to a central cloud-based platform.

The prototype developed by the Bolgarin brothers envisages a cattle collar with sensors for location (GPS), motion (accelerometer), and temperature. Sensor data can be combined to tell whether a bull or cow is sick, trapped, lost, or deceased. Accelerometers can distinguish up to nine different cattle diseases and temperature can indicate a dead bull, which left undetected, might spread disease to others, while an animal that is alive (temperature) but static (GPS) could be injured or trapped.

Furthermore, pictures delivered by a drone can deliver useful information about a herd, such as pasture grass quality or the number of newly born calves. All sensor and picture data is uploaded to the cloud for evaluation. Cattle farmers can then immediately analyse and evaluate the data to gain near-real-time status over their herds, develop action plans, and even make predictions that support upstream and downstream processes of the business.

From smart wine shelves to connected cows, the IoT has well and truly arrived, and it’s inspiring all manner of wacky but often very useful innovations. The key is for organisations to be prepared and put themselves in a position to take advantage of the technology on offer. Whether a scenario can be implemented today or is speculative, it’s crucial to have the technology and IT infrastructure in place.

To learn more on the impact IoT is having on consumer industries, read this white paper by IDC.

Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

The future has arrived for intelligent operations

Supply chain executives across all industries have been developing digital strategies over the past several years. They are aggressively addressing integrated technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT) on mobile, collaborative and cloud-based platforms. These executives are applying predictive analytics even more rapidly to all supply chain processes, including asset, inventory, fleet and energy management. They are further automating digital manufacturing, customer service and distribution with robotics and drones. And now, in this cognitive era, these digital operations are being enhanced even more – with artificial intelligence (AI). When combined with advanced automation, thinking and learning, supply chains can be trained to augment and enhance human decision-making and bring about a new level of operational excellence.

To better understand the impact of AI and cognitive computing solutions on supply chain and operations, researchers working with the IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed senior operational executives across a wide range of industries and geographies. We asked more than 1,600 Chief Operating Officers (COOs), Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) and executives of product development, procurement and manufacturing about their current views on AI and cognitive computing, their priorities and the value that they expect to derive.

Our research shows that COOs and CSCOs are aggressively reinventing business models, strategies and technological capabilities. They are resolute on assisting the CEO in defining agile business models and working with the CMO to support the go-to-market strategy, while backing investments and explorations into new ways of optimizing their supply chain operations.

Pioneering firms are applying these AI and cognitive technologies to their products and their daily operations. Some are living the future; others have just begun the journey.

Figure 1: Digital investments in the next three years for operations

Figure 1: Digital investments in the next three years

Supply chain is a natural fit for AI

In our global research data, we identified a group of more than 700 outperformers (12 percent of the total sample) with stronger financial performance than their peers. These companies, across many industries, report annual revenue growth and profit increases of more than
 5 percent over the past three years. We ranked public sector organizations based on effectiveness and efficiency.

Eighty-eight percent of the highest-performing organizations surveyed report that AI is inevitable in their industry. Among those polled, fully 95 percent of the highest-performing organizations see AI as central to their innovation success.

Machine learning is becoming mainstream in the operational technology portfolio. Baseline forecasts for new products are instrumental in determining new product introductions and go-to-market plans. When applied to demand signals, AI can determine changing demand behaviors and optimize inventory levels and replenishment plans to feed the continuous loop of product lifecycle management.

Sales and operations planning is the ultimate collaborative decision-making process. Companies can apply AI technologies to sales and operations planning and other massive supply chain data pools to manage demand volatility, supply constraints, production scheduling and dynamic distribution. AI can augment human interaction by allocating resources, assigning people and scheduling processes.

Figure 2: Outperforming executives use of cognitive computing and AI for operations

Figure 2: Outperforming executives use of cognitive computing and AI

Thinking and learning, supply chains can be trained to augment and enhance human decision making and bring about a new level of operational excellence.   Are you ready to embrace AI/cognitive for unparalleled operational excellence?

Learn more on improving operations:

Read the full report, “Welcome to the cognitive supply chain:  Digital operations – reimagined” to start your journey.  Discover how organizations are using Watson IoT to transform supply chains.

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