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In May 2017, I had the opportunity to visit the IoT World 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center. This event, with its more than 250 exhibitors and start-ups in the IoT area, provided a good overview of the state of affairs in the Internet of Things. I got a very good impression of the core topics that are currently being developed and the interesting new approaches of start-ups.
From sensors to complete solutions
The range of topics in the field of IoT is enormous. It starts with pure technology, such as highly specialized sensors, goes through platforms for the integration and processing of the data supplied by the “things” and ends with complete solutions, such as in the field of “Smart Agriculture”, where the complete system consists of sensors Different kinds of data, data processing and decision support.
On the hard-ware side, more precise sensors as well as smaller-sized sensors are provided. These allow ever-new applications which have not yet been implemented, for example due to technical limitations or cost reasons. A German example for the use of cheap sensors is the Citizen Science project luftdaten.info. With the help of many volunteers who build IoT devices with a fine dust sensor and provide their data a Germany-wide live map of the fine dust load is created.
In companies as well, the combination of sensor data and other data from production, logistics and other units is the key to generating values. It is only the collection and linking of relevant data from a wide range of systems that allows the right decisions to be successfully managed by the company. A number of vendors at IoT World also offered platforms for integrating the IoT data with the other data in the company.
From my point of view, the smaller ones among the represented providers are likely to have the necessary interfaces available to the necessary extent. Likewise, some hardware providers dare to go into this terrain, but often only deliver very technically oriented solutions. An interesting provider could be striim.com, which offers an end-to-end approach, which processes information as early as possible in the data stream. In general, however, a platform that is “as good as possible” should be selected as a result of the individual requirements of each company. Frequently, the established large providers (for example, SAP) will be the first choice to integrate well with existing technologies.
The major topics of digitalization were, of course, also represented at the IoT World: Smart City, Smart Building, Smart Home, Smart Agriculture, Connected & Autonomous Vehicles, and Artificial Intelligence as a cross-section were omnipresent. In agriculture, complex solutions are already in use that relate computer-controlled agricultural machines, field sensors, satellite and drones, weather data and data on plants and other inputs in order to achieve optimal harvest results. Here Industry 4.0 with the use of IoT is already very advanced. In this area, we were also able to support BASF Agricultural Solutions, which developed an application for the integration and evaluation of the above data, to show farmers both the cultivation and marketing of their products. Additionally this app allows the identification of diseases with Artificial Intelligence
In many areas, artificial intelligence plays an increasingly important role. For example, special speech recognition techniques are developed which are designed to automate the interaction with vehicles and make the driver even more simple and smooth. In the recognition of patterns in sensor data, AIIs are also increasingly used.
The theme of IoT is on the move and there are more and more concrete implementations and clear visions. For the German companies this means that the respective possibilities of the new technologies must be evaluated immediately. New business opportunities are emerging and those who are the first to take them can achieve high profits or take a leading role in existing markets. If you have any questions about the possibilities of your company, please contact us.