Five vital and often considered conservative industries are manufacturing, construction, rail, automotive and healthcare. Over the last few years, they have witnessed growing adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Much of this expansion is down to the wider adoption of connected devices, better security and reliability, growing networks, and intuitive software and apps. Additionally, IoT devices, platforms, networks and standards are now more trusted. There have been high levels of adoption in sectors such as healthcare, whereas R&D has suffered in the manufacturing and automotive sectors. Here, we explore how the convergence of trust and maturity has accelerated IoT adoption with innovative use cases.
The global IoT medical devices market is estimated to increase to £69.7bn by 2026 from £19.6bn in 2021, at a CAGR of 28.9% during the forecast period.
Key drivers include:
- The coronavirus pandemic, especially vaccine rollout
- Necessary government-backed digital health initiatives
- Growth of smart devices for healthcare services
The connected health segment has experienced years’ worth of innovation during the first 18 months of the pandemic. IoT has been used to improve the quality of healthcare provision, especially where in-person consultations are difficult. For instance, simple embedded digital devices are mitigating infection risk around medical instruments. While motion, sticker or patch sensors have improved accuracy as they track everything from cardiac rhythms to sleep patterns.
We take a look at some innovative uses of IoT in healthcare here, starting with Swift sensors, a firm that developed remote temperature monitoring for vaccines through its secure wireless vaccine storage unit monitoring systems. Medical facilities can remotely monitor Covid-19 vaccine storage temperatures, automate data logging and receive a swift response should the equipment experience power failure.
Vital signs data capturing device by Vitls sees patients wearing a thin, wireless, wearable with a five-day battery which is paired to the Vitls app. The wearable continuously monitors a patient’s vital signs, e.g., heart rate, blood pressure and temperature. Data is taken from the patient and transferred via a corresponding hybrid cloud server on regular intervals to which a corresponding medic has access. In the case of an emergency, alarms are triggered and an emergency Short Message Service (SMS) alert service is sent to initiate appropriate control actions. The device dramatically improves the detection of deterioration in the patient, shortens hospital stays and decreases treatment costs.
Myia Health, an enterprise platform for healthcare delivery in the home, links up clinical actions with patient outcomes, identifying those with the greatest need for high-touch care. When a patient is identified as vulnerable or upon a patient’s discharge from the hospital, Myia and KORE, its IoT provider, collaborate to handle the device logistics and deploy Myia’s patient and clinician software technology. This allows healthcare providers to manage patients’ health in a continuous and preventative manner from a home setting.
Our team recently worked on a project for GCE Healthcare to develop a robust, secure, specialist Linux software programme for the remote tracking of its medical oxygenators, used by patients with breathing difficulties. Operating on a 2G network GCE was facing difficulties in limited coverage for the digital health product. GCE’s redesigned embedded Linux solution for the medical device was more secure and had better connectivity. This both prevented the device from obsolescence and opened up new markets for the company.
Manufacturing and industry 4.0
Market Research Future predicts that the global Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform market is set to reach the value of £556.1m by the end of 2023.
During the pandemic the manufacturing industry has been severely affected by supply chain shortages and work from home diktats, which have had a knock-on effect on R&D. Therefore, the industry has not made the same progress as the healthcare sector.
In 2022, we expect to see more attempts by manufacturers to leverage Industrial IoT to bring whole facilities online as ‘fully connected’ factories, warehouses, and distribution centres.
Using IoT devices, manufacturers are monitoring real-time information on all their assets in web or mobile applications. Tracked assets include vehicles, products and resources during the production process.
Thus, you can track and optimise assets at all manufacturing stages from the supply chain to the end product delivery. Proper asset monitoring enables quick and efficient identification of issues that adversely impact product quality or time-to-market.
Nissan’s manufacturing plant in Tochigi, Japan is a prime example of an intelligent factory production line that uses smart robotics. There, huge robotic arms connect a car body to the chassis, also scrubbing the body’s surface and precisely closing its frame. Human operators wearing smartphone wristbands are positioned by the assembly line, overseeing the robots. Their smartphone wristbands display vehicle data from various Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints.
The Tochigi plant is the first of its kind at Nissan and there are plans to commence production of its new crossover electric vehicle, the Nissan Ariya on its intelligent production line before Spring 2022. Through the implementation of automation Nissan aims to reduce carbon emissions in line with its2050 carbon neutrality target and also mitigate anticipated labour shortages due to Japan’s population.
The number of applications for IoT-enabled vehicles has been increasing as motorists, car manufacturers, government bodies, and third-party businesses have started to understand the relevance of connected vehicles.
Connected features will enable a new level of user experience where the services drivers and passengers most use transition seamlessly from device to vehicle, with the support of on-board digital assistants.
The automotive IoT market is expected to grow from £11.74bn in 2015 to reach £61.29bn by 2022, at a CAGR of 26.75% during the forecast period. Growing telematics mandates by the U.S. and European governments and changing ecosystem for assisted and automated driving is surging the automotive IoT market.
With 443 smart city projects in 286 locations worldwide, integrating the connected car into smart city planning is the way forward. A vast network of interconnected IoT sensors inside infrastructure provide an urban environment data map. Cars would collect data about other road users and conditions; and act as WIFI hotspots, creating a dynamic network. Sharing data would allow city authorities to assess journey times, congestion, recharging station availability, and most-visited destinations and implement real-time adjustments to ease issues.
Brain-to-vehicle technology measures brain activity which is then analysed by the vehicle’s system, allowing control of multiple vehicle functions by thought. While this technology is still underdeveloped, it’s a step forward in allowing those with physical restrictions to drive. It also lowers chances of accidents resulting from certain unsafe driving practices. Nissan claims its brain-to-vehicle technology enables the vehicle to complete tasks up to 0.5 seconds faster than its driver.
The increase in demand for smart chargers is a result of rising global demand for electric vehicles. An intelligent energy management system (iEMS) using OpenRemote’s open-source IoT data management platform is being piloted by Nottingham City for its Clean Mobil Energy project. This platform will manage the power distribution between system components.
This includes: electricity-generating solar panels, energy storage in the form of a large lithium-Ion battery, and a fleet of 40 EVs. The pilot deploys vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology which charges the EVs. Energy stored in the EVs can later be discharged for operational purposes, providing short-term energy storage, and for grid balancing purposes.
Energy conservation departments can use the information to optimally use locally generated renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions and costs associated with charging EVs.
Global IoT in construction revenue is forecast to reach £7.1bn by 2025, up from £3.3bn in 2019. This is a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.6% between 2019 and 2025.
By deploying IoT systems in the construction industry, companies can make time and cost savings in the following areas: remote support and operation, equipment servicing, fleet management, fuel savings, and for BIM (building information modelling).
Companies including Qualcomm and Zyter are collaborating to prevent accidents on worksites. A continuous stream of real-time IoT device data on workers and building materials, will provide a view across the entire construction site to the Zyter dashboard that has up-to-the-second accuracy
This information, once combined with state-of-the-art data visualisation, analytics and intelligent insights, means that construction companies can monitor and address events, operational issues, and incidents.
Additionally, advanced analytics will enable construction firms to assess worker productivity and safety, while also gaining insights into other metrics related to construction site management.
The global Smart Railways Market was worth $£8.9 billion in 2017, and is projected to reach £20.4bn by 2023, at a CAGR of 14.8%, during the forecast period of 2018-2023.
Network Rail is using innovative Fibre Optic Acoustic Sensing (FOAS) technology to boost railway safety and performance. There are currently around 20,000 km of fibre optics running alongside Britain’s railways. The fibre optics will be enriched with data fusion innovation to enhance their monitoring and “listening” capabilities.
Deploying FOAS creates a virtual microphone every few metres with the potential for enhanced remote monitoring of the condition of rail assets while also providing key data for the improvement of train performance and reduced disruption for passengers.
Part of Transport for London’s rail division (TfL), Docklands Light Railway (DLR) uses IoT to smoothen a passenger’s journey from entry to station to exit at their final destination. IoT, specifically in lifts and escalators (and theoretically across all the network), can register real-time information regarding footfall, train occupancy, and the wear and tear of equipment including turnstiles, signage, escalators and lifts. Operators and engineers can then predict a problem and make a timely intervention, minimising disruption.
In the US, violation of hazardous materials regulations can cost rail companies up to £55,568 per transgression per day and increase to £111,136 a day if death or injury is involved. Aeris uses IoT networks to track and monitor railcar contents, thus reducing offences.
Individual cars are registered by what they’re carrying. This creates a cloud-based freight inventory across a network that can be immediately recalled highlighting where problems might occur. This can accelerate check-ins at obligatory stops along a line. In the event of an accident, this tagging facilitates the work of emergency services and rail safety teams. The transparency of rail cargo results in increased safety, simplified loading and unloading and each car’s identifying tag becomes a data point, when increase to added a map of the entire rail network, paints a clear picture of which assets are arriving at a particular location and time.
As IoT continues to mature as a whole, it is certain that industrial applications will continue to diversify, in parallel with increased levels of implementation. From healthcare to automotive, manufacturing to rail, exciting times lie ahead as new efficiencies are found and safety and customer service levels increase.
The future for these sectors is bright indeed.
– Originally written by Dunstan Power, Director, ByteSnap Design –