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The Internet of Things in Real Life: 6 IoT Examples

Stéphane Bourgeois

Even with all the talk about Internet of Things (IoT), it can be hard to come up with IoT examples that translate the concept to reality. Who’s using it? Who’s benefitting from it? How is it actually working for enterprises right now?

Without a doubt, IoT will bring more devices to your network – and cause an increase in data transmission requirements. According to HP, in 2010, there were 5 billion connected devices – just three years later, in 2013, the number nearly doubled to 9 billion. But what are those devices doing? What types of data are they gathering (and why)?


To help bring the concept of IoT to life, we rounded up some IoT examples that illustrate how this type of connectivity is already being used to improve efficiency and reduce expenses.


IoT Example No. 1: Philadelphia Streets Department

In Philadelphia, solar-powered, self-reporting trash compactors feature sensors that tell the compactor when the trash inside reaches a certain level. When that level is reached, the trash is automatically compacted. These sensors also send data back to the Philadelphia Streets Department to indicate how full they are, whether they need to be emptied, whether they need maintenance/repair, etc. Because employees now receive notifications about bins that are full or need attention, the team reduced collection frequency (and operating costs as a result), and are able to spend more time on other tasks instead.


IoT Example No. 2: Ochsner Health System

Ochsner Health System decided to integrate its electronic health record (EHR) system with IoT technology and devices to monitor patient health. Wireless scales and blood pressure cuffs monitor vitals and feed data directly into each patient’s medical record using the patient’s smartphone. From there, doctors, pharmacists and health coaches can remotely monitor patient status and track potential trends or problems.


IoT Example No. 3: Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce, which manufacturers not only luxury cars but also aircraft engines, offers an IoT example that involves capturing data about engine performance. Planes using Rolls-Royce engines can wirelessly and automatically send information about flight plans, weather, technical logs and even fuel usage back to employees so they can track potential problems and schedule replacement of parts, such as fuel pumps, before they go bad. Capturing and analyzing this data can also tell Rolls-Royce which factors impact plane fuel efficiency, including weather and maintenance – they can then share this information with their customers.


IoT Example No. 4: Santiago de Chili Airport

At the Santiago de Chile Airport, sensors monitor certain metrics – wait times, airport temperatures, baggage arrival times, airport occupancy levels, etc. – and compare them to expected quality standards. If any metrics fall outside of the parameters, airport staff are notified. Airport managers now know about potential problems early, whether it’s a potential security issue or an HVAC problem. This data also helps the Santiago de Chile Airport staff set benchmarks and establish average performance levels.


IoT Example No. 5: Fitness First

Fitness First, a gym and health club enterprise, uses sensors to track who enters their gym facilities based on customer wearables or smartphones. From there, information relevant to each member is provided automatically without staff having to intervene. The gym also uses this information to learn more about their customers: how often they use the gym, which equipment is used most frequently, etc. There are also plans to turn customer smartphones into gym membership cards.


IoT Example No. 6: Tesco

This British retailer is starting to use robots that travel down store aisles to identify open spots on shelves and inform employees about the stock needs to be replenished. Tesco has also improved customer communication by using sensors to monitor package delivery times, as well as the status of the vans making deliveries. The data captured through these sensors is sent back to Tesco employees, and used to analyze driving patterns, fuel costs and potential scheduling efficiencies.


These are just some of the IoT examples we’ve uncovered as more enterprises move toward complete connectivity. We can help you get ready for the IP-enabled devices that will be connecting to your network.