The realities of today’s IoT market


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The Internet of Things (IoT) is being touted as the next frontier for manufacturers that want to connect not only with their physical resources but also with their customers. By tying into the IoT, companies can instantly access real-time information on assets halfway across the globe and make faster and better-informed decisions. But despite the potential benefits of the IoT, industry analysts suggest that the technology may not be a good fit — or even fit at all — for the average manufacturer.

 Growth — or lack thereof — of radio frequency identification (RFID) as a parallel to IoT’s adoption challenges. Industry hype around RFID has lasted for years, but factors such as cost and project size have prevented adoption from climbing as fast as vendors suggested. Manufacturers are still asking, “Why can’t we just keep using barcodes?” In light of this, the onus really falls on vendors to prove the value of IoT investment to their customers.

It’s a classic market problem: Vendors who are interested in [IoT] have this notion that, ‘why wouldn’t you want to instrument everything you have?’ The buyers, however, are still unsure why they should change how they detect and respond to problems. They’re wondering if they really need to be able to monitor things in real-time”

Most companies who are consumer focused — manufacturers, distributors, retailers — certainly see it as an eventual opportunity, but, right now, a lot of [IoT] is very experimental. IoT has the most potential in asset management and production monitoring.

What’s the difference between tracking individual items using IoT technology and RFID technology? Aside from the costs associated with each – Oh wait! It’s the costs of each that ‘s keeping both from gaining ground. Both technologies can provide item level identification but RFID can now be considered ‘old’ tech while IoT (Internet of Things) is the current darling of the development world. Here’s what I see happening over the next few years.

You already know that IoT is a term used to loosely identify items that have been imbued with enough intelligence and communication abilities to send messages across the internet. First of all, this means that these items are not human in the ways we normally think of humans using computers to send information via the Internet. But that doesn’t mean that some of these ‘things’ can’t be humans, or at least humans carrying with devices that do the communicating for them. The connections and the information are triggered by conditions as they change.

That information is transmitted using some kind of message format. It’s likely that the vast majority of those messages will not be in EDI X12 format. Some will exist in proprietary formats created to meet the specific needs of the devices, and I expect a larger portion will use some sort of XML format simply because of the ease of creating the content. But there’s no reason that ‘things’ that are already part of the supply chain and would normally be encoded in X12 format documents could not be produced in exactly the same format and thereby easily incorporated into existing processes.  See more on EDI and IoT

What’s the difference between tracking individual items using IoT technology and RFID technology? Aside from the costs associated with each – Oh wait! It’s the costs of each that ‘s keeping both from gaining ground. Both technologies can provide item level identification but RFID can now be considered ‘old’ tech while IoT (Internet of Things) is the current darling of the development world. Here’s what I see happening over the next few years.

RFID has been around for a while and has always (still does) had a slow uptake with regard to supply chain integration. That’s both sad and understandable. RFID came along before current connectivity options were widely available. It requires specialized readers, and has very short distance requirements for communication. But most importantly, consumers were still afraid of what it meant. Some even went so far as to call it the ‘mark of the devil’ believing it would become embeded in every person and allow unwanted tracking and identification.    See more

The automotive industry especially seems to have a lot of promise because of the number of cars that are sold and in terms of the value of having connectivity. Watch for more on this and how the “Battle for the Dashboard” is progressing.This contest sounds like the “Battle of the Bands”. See the kickoff to this contest with Apple’s Entry

 

 

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