Opinion: Key trends that will drive IoT technology development

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IoT technology development- At last month’s Sigfox Connect, Benjamin Mazet, Product Management Director at Sigfox presented on “Key trends that will drive IoT technology development.”

He believes that the key challenge for the next 18-24 months is to improve IoT technology in order to fully benefit from the digital transformation provided by this new industrial revolution.

The IoT is considered part of the fourth, or new, industrial revolution by connecting the physical and the digital Worlds. By offering more visibility of the field, it is an entirely new market in its own right, but it also delivers enhanced efficiencies to many existing concerns, allows better use of business and finite resources, and can protect against business and environmental risks.

In his presentation he examined trends in IoT, illustrated by use cases that uncover how IoT devices and technology are developing to meet these industrial, logistical, and environmental needs.

Asset tracking and tracing

IoT and connected geolocation devices offer various benefits and use cases for many different industries. As IoT technology matures, smarter devices are being developed to match customer and business needs: Use case specific devices are emerging and being refined, some of these deliver complex requirements, such as analyzing the details of industrial workflows and supporting their optimization. Other, simpler IoT products are being developed to serve industries which require lower cost and disposable devices to track shipments where packaging is unlikely to ever be returned to its originating destination.

The IoT facilitates the tracking and tracing of assets from originating point to final destination. This is applicable to the movement of owned assets as well as to goods that are sold and shipped from supplier to end buyer. IoT enabled tracking devices combining several location services give complete visibility during an asset’s journey inside and outside customer locations. Should an issue arise, say the asset deviates from its expected route, stakeholders are immediately aware of where the asset is and can work on a retrieval or rectification solution instead of spending time locating the asset. The focus is on the solution rather than the problem.

Transportation losses are minimized, and customer experience is improved. The growth of simple, disposable devices is applicable here as IoT will be used not just to track large assets, but now for smaller and multiple deliveries, even so far as being used for postal deliveries. Single-use sensors can also be used to record and notify of a delivery acknowledgement, ensuring customer and seller are aware of safe receipt.

In industries like the automotive sector, returnable industrial packaging will be more commonly used and reusable IoT-enabled trackers can be more frequently deployed: In addition, to prevent any leakage in the production, trackers will provide a deeper visibility on packaging usage. Data from IoT devices will optimize the rotation rate of packaging between suppliers and car makers, ultimately reducing wastage and any related investment.

Environmental monitoring of transported goods

A step further within asset movement and logistics is the use, not just of location tracking, but of environmental sensors. IoT devices can monitor temperature and humidity in real time, protecting environmentally sensitive shipments. Single use IoT sensors can be integrated into pallets of milk, for example, ensuring correct storage and providing a limited number of relevant messages to stakeholders. This environmental monitoring use-case may be particularly relevant to 2021 as vaccine makers begin to ship valuable, temperature sensitive, COVID-19 vaccines.

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