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The IoT is a real revolution that is happening right now. Thanks to the IoT, a great deal of data is collected and processed that considerably improves our quality of life and our way of working. At this moment there are no fewer than ten billion connected objects (or devices, as they are called) worldwide, for a population of just 7.4 billion. By 2020, the expectation is that there will be between 30 and 50 billion connected devices.
Frédéric Lhostte is responsible for the IoT and Big Data at Proximus. He has no hesitation in referring to the ‘fourth industrial revolution’: "Smart objects are going to bring about a revolution in the way we work at the office. The circumstances are ideal: the technology is affordable and the range of Cloud services is increasing … The IoT is rapidly coming within reach of every company that wants to innovate."
Every sector can benefit from the IoT. Although some sectors have already successfully implemented IoT solutions (such as connected electricity, gas and water meters), other companies can also improve their processes, cut their operating costs and, above all, create new value-added services. The logging and sending of data also offer feasible innovation opportunities.
“The Internet of Things is not just a playing field for big companies and their customers. SMEs can optimize their processes and work tools, as well, or improve the quality of their services,” Lhostte continued. “Thanks to the IoT, e-shops, for instance, can now provide details of a parcel’s location accurate to the minute. Or a printer can order a new ink cartridge automatically itself when the previous one is empty and have it delivered the next day.”
“The IoT can also have a positive impact on your business continuity and that of your customers. In a production environment, all the components are wirelessly connected to a network. So you have a constant status picture on how much you are producing and what the level of wastage is. For example: when a machine suddenly breaks down, this causes unforeseen costs, upsets schedules and results in dissatisfied customers. But if you connect this machine to the network, you can monitor the condition of the machine directly and schedule maintenance on time. In other words, you switch from reactive maintenance to predictive maintenance. So you can work far more autonomously. If a disruption occurs, the system chooses an alternative route. If demand changes, production can be adapted automatically. And you can benefit from constant quality control, because the products also indicate where they are and whether they are in good condition.”
To implement an IoT solution in your company, you need three things:
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