Smarter, cheaper and always-on devices keep us connected. This includes everything from tiny, low-power sensors to video cameras, actuators and industrial machinery. The sensors and microchips that define Internet of Things (IoT) capture, monitor and share myriad types of data. As the numbers of these smart sensors increase, the amount of information they produce explodes.
Traditional enterprise systems live behind firewalls and communicate with connected systems in a closed network; such as in a self-contained, isolated factory environment. With the advent of IoT, however, these systems can now communicate with the wider world. For example, factory workers can monitor and control the industrial equipment remotely.
The twin challenges of data proliferation and connectivity with the outside world are driving new business opportunities. They are also leading to the convergence of information technology (IT) with operational technology (OT) systems. This convergence allows companies to leverage the vast amount of location and ambient data produced by IoT devices to make intelligent and real time decisions based on the data collected from the sensors Simple examples include dispatching and scheduling transport assets based on telematics data collected from the tracking systems; or controlling the use of equipment based on the cost of power signal received from the electricity utility.
There are many ways IoT devices can communicate wirelessly: Wi-Fi, GSM, GPRS, 3G, 4G or LTE using IP-based protocols such as MQTT, AMQP, HTTP REST, CoAP and others. IoT devices can communicate with a server directly or via a gateway. Devices that use protocols such as BLE, UWB, ZigBee, 6LoWPAN, and Zwave generally communicate via a gateway.
Altran believes there needs to be convergence of both existing and new protocols with connectivity mechanisms in order to deliver end-use cases that deliver true business value. That was our objective of developing the Altran Converged IoT Platform, which enables customers to jumpstart IoT use cases without getting slowed down by debating which technologies to use.
Altran has developed a reference board design called the ADAPT Platform that allows customers to choose from a complete spectrum of connectivity mechanisms with options for connecting different sensors to the IoT device.
The business potential is huge. McKinsey & Co.’s Global Institute forecasts IoT applications in nine market segments could produce an estimated $11.1 trillion per year in economic value by 2025. And Gartner projects that by 2020, there will be over 26 billion connected devices. Others estimate the figure place the number at upwards of 50 billion devices.
Consider the market opportunity for IoT track-and-trace use cases. This includes tagging both assets and people to monitor their location. The global track-and-trace solutions market accounted for $1.2 billion in 2015 and is anticipated to grow by 15.7% a year between 2014 and 2025, according to Grand View Research.
IoT devices are starting to disrupt traditional barcode and RFID-based tracking because they are more precise and offer more pervasive tracking options. As a result, they are gaining ground in a variety of domains, including healthcare, industrial, logistics and retail.
Altran Unified Tracking Solution helps customers implement tracking solutions that can use a variety of technologies for determining location and for managing communications. The Unified Tracking Solution supports track and trace for both indoor and outdoor environments.
IoT use cases, such as track and trace, are proving they can deliver business value. The challenge for businesses is to bring them to market as cost effectively as possible. Altran’s Converged IoT Platform, ADAPT Platform, and Unified Tracking Solution are positioned to meet their needs.