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How IoT Will Transform Your Business, Accelerate Growth and Make Your Teeth Cleaner!

/ May 8, 2017

IoT Blog Background

This article was written by;

Willem van Zantvoort, Senior Mendix Consultant, Timeseries
Jethro Borsje, Business Unit Manager Big Data & IoT, Timeseries

What is IoT and why will it transform my business?

Give your assets brains and they’ll be the best in class!

By now you’ve probably heard of the ‘Internet of Things’, also known as ‘IoT’. IoT can be described as the concept of connecting any device to an internal network or the Internet, making it accessible by other devices, applications and/or users. According to Gartner, by 2020 there will be over 20 billion connected ‘Things’. These ‘things’, or devices and can be anything, from dedicated devices that measure data, to your cell phone, coffee maker and even your toothbrush!

Imagine all these devices being able to communicate with each other and the amount of data that they will produce! This data can (and will) be used for analysis, automation and optimization of your current and future business processes and will most likely be the most valuable asset of your company.

For example, there are already toothbrushes that analyze how you brush your teeth, adjust the vibrations according to that information and provide optimization tips through an app. If you think that is amazing, how about this? By analyzing the data over time, it is possible to predict tooth decay, determine when you need to visit your dentist or if you should have gone months ago. It’s like having a dentist on demand at home. To take it even further, it would be possible to have a variable health insurance based on how well you brush your teeth, or have toothpaste delivered to your home when it is just about to run out. The possibilities are endless!

This is just a small example of how IoT can be used to provide a better user experience, improve efficiency and even discover new business models. We truly believe that IoT can help you shape your future business and that it is the next step in staying ahead of the competition.

Companies like Uber, AirBnB and Netflix have disrupted their markets by introducing business models that shook the traditional way of conducting business. IoT enables you to disrupt your market as well and become a pioneer by doing things from a brand new perspective, by innovating. Connect your Things and assets to the net and make them intelligent. Don’t make your IoT just work for you, make it work smarter!

Mendix and IoT: A Match Made in Digital Heaven

Transform your data into money and time.

Are you wondering how you can implement IoT in your business? Do you also want to stay ahead of your competitors and transform your data into money and time? Alright, that’s the right mindset! But the question remains: How? How can you become one of the disruptors of your market?

Did you know that most households in the Netherlands now have smart energy meters installed? And that you can even transform ‘dumb’ meters and appliances into smart ones (for instance, by placing a camera which turns analog readings into digital ones by combining OCR and digital processing)? You are surrounded by assets that can be used to transform your business if they can communicate with you!

With Mendix, you can develop multi-channel applications at lightning speed - quote

This is where Mendix and IoT come into play. Mendix is a Cloud-based rapid application development platform that excels at rapidly adding value to your business, especially when combined with IoT. Mendix has been trusted by corporations all over the world to accelerate their digital transformation and enable innovation to their existing business, like Philips, ABN Amro, KLM, Berkshire Hathaway, GE, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and many more. With Mendix, you can develop multi-channel (desktop/tablet/mobile) applications at lightning speed in days or weeks instead of months and years.

The latest version of Mendix, Mendix 7, enables you to make full use of IoT’s potential by providing developers with a set of out-of-the-box connectors such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM (Bluemix, Watson) and also portable, scalable solutions such as the TimeSeries Analytics Platform. These connectors enable your business to set up IoT devices in the blink of an eye, bringing data, insights and predictions to your doorstep with just a few clicks. With some expert guidance, now everyone can use IoT to supercharge their applications.

These connectors enable your business to set up IoT devices in the blink of an eye, bringing data, insights and predictions to your doorstep with just a few clicks.”

IoT Success stories

Many companies in several industries have preceded you on this journey. Here are a few examples:

Smart Building Management and Facility Services Optimization

During the Mendix World 2016 Hackathon, the TimeSeries team created the winning solution for ISS Facility Services. They used IoT sensors and a Smart App to make buildings come alive and service their users even better than they already did.

Building tenants were provided with helpful data regarding their workspace – like measured room temperature, humidity, and air quality – and were offered conference room planning based on their personal preferences. ISS facility employees were provided with input to work more efficiently based on usage measurements so that rooms could be cleaned during times with the least usage.

winning solution for ISS Facility Services

This is an example of how using Mendix and IoT enabled ISS to plan better and faster servicing routes, while minimizing disruption for the building’s inhabitants. Check out the video for more information.

Liftinzicht: Predictive Maintenance

Liftinzicht is an elevator management company that has outfitted their elevators with IoT sensors. Based on data concerning usage of potentially thousands of elevators that they service, maintenance is planned according to usage, based on measurements like acceleration, deceleration and mileage. This decreases the amount of maintenance times by 1.5 per year, leading up to savings in hundreds of thousands of Euros for the end clients.

LiftManager Screenshot

ZenitSIS: Better Asset Management

ZenitSIS is a provider of solar panel solutions. By monitoring and analyzing the solar panel’s output, performance is optimized and malfunctions can be detected instantly.

Mendix: Logistics Tracking App

Mendix has combined Watson Blockchain and IoT in a logistics tracking app built in just ten days. The final solution combines a mobile app for managing alerts with a dashboard to track and trace events from IoT. The app protects every member of the chain, from manufacturer to customer to insurer.

Logistic Tracking App Screenshots

Future visions on IoT

But wait, there’s more…

We are just now taking the first steps with IoT. The future will bring a lot more applications, as our experience with this subject grows. Think of health monitors, smart farms, smart cities and smart travel. IoT will continue to give us more insight and make our lives easier and more efficient. Who wouldn’t want that?

It is also quickly becoming a vital part of modern business. Personalized offerings and a thorough individual understanding of your customer will be the defining factor of tomorrow.  So the need to start figuring out what this means for your business becomes more urgent every day.

We expect to see a Sensing-as-a-Service business model pop up where data from sensors can be acquired without having to own, install or manage the sensors yourself.”

In order to use a wide range of different IoT sensors, standardization is key. We expect to see standardization on both the transport level (think LoRa, Narrowband IoT, etc.) and the protocols used to send data from point A to point B. This includes standards in the area of security, as this is a vital part of any IT infrastructure, especially one that is used to transmit highly personal and real-time information.

As the use of IoT connected devices continues to rise, the prices of both hardware and connectivity will decline because of the large scale that these will be produced and used. IoT will no longer be something which is only used in pilots and R&D departments, but will be fundamental to many business processes.

After Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service, we expect to see a Sensing-as-a-Service business model pop up where data from sensors can be acquired without having to own, install or manage the sensors yourself.

Key Considerations for IoT App Architecture