Four years ago Roger Bou, director of the IoT Solutions World Congress (IoTSWC), saw the hype and potential of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). However, while there was a lot of talk about what IoT could do, there was a noticeable lack of solutions. Everyone knew what could be connected and how many things would be connected, but not how connecting things solved problems. Bou sat down for lunch with the CEO of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) to share his vision of a central live event for companies to share what they are doing with IIoT. Companies would come to discuss specific solutions in various verticals.
Since its launch, the IoT SWC has grown every year. In 2017, its third year, the show grew 30%. The first year was more for making connections and discussing solutions and networking, as the show and solutions were relatively new. In a way it reminded me of an industrial Maker Faire. There is so much technology, and everyone is off on their own tinkering with it, but then once a year people exit the garages and plants to meet in person and talk about what they’ve been working. Last year the IoTSWC had more than 13,000 professionals from 114 countries attending the event.
Today, there are dozens of talks from industry leaders, and they added a section just for test beds. These are real IoT applications companies are using in the field. This year’s show—taking place this week at the Fira de Barcelona—looks to be bigger still, connecting more industry leaders and hosting more panel discussions and talks. There are even added sections for test beds: This year 10 are on display.
IoT for Nature
IoT technology will be used to help save Beluga whales in Alaska. Zaragoza-based company Libelium participated in the testbed area, presenting a solution developed for the Government of Alaska together with Aridea Solutions to monitor air and water quality after a gas leak at the Cook Inlet, home of the endangered Beluga whale, through a buoy platform with sensors. The wireless sensor system allows monitorization of pollution levels in air and water near the leak affecting the Beluga whales and other aquatic mammals.
As a near-threatened species, these social “canaries of the sea” need safe places to fish and socialize if they are going to strive.
IoT is also being employed in the fight against bee mortality. João Encarnação, CEO of Irideon, was exhibiting his Beehive Health offering at IOTSWC 2018. “By means of a system equipped with multi-sensors, Beehive Health enables us to remotely monitor the colonies, identifying the insects of interest and reporting on the evolution in terms of honey production, while also detecting the bees’ degree of satisfaction with each honeycomb,” Encarnação explained.
He alsonoted how the big data generated by the Beehive Health multi-sensors are processed to obtain complex information, setting alarms in the event of the presence of pesticides or systematic changes in the bees’ activity indicating intoxications or diseases.
Bees are important to many of the plants we eat. While talks of bee decline have been waved off as a myth or not a serious threat, streamlining production and protecting workers (bees in this case) never seems to be a bad approach to keeping a company competitive.
As internet shopping continues to grow, people are looking to keep their purchases safe. Smart locks and even a purposed in-house delivery are being considered. For people with garages there is a test bed for you. A smart home gate capable of opening at the owner’s arrival or transforming your garage into a giant letterbox for online shopping deliveries.
The smart door testbed developed by Marantec and Guh showcases a system capable of logically responding to different situations once deployed. Doors are capable of ventilating the property if suggested by temperature and humidity sensors, combining its action with lighting control systems already in place; notifying the service technician of the exact type of error experienced; integrating a post delivery service to transform a garage into a letterbox; or even installing cheap consumer charging stations into private garages and making the private garage/charging point available for the public, too.
Danish footwear brand ECCO partnered with Dassault Systèmes to launch a data-driven experience where individual bio-mechanical data is combined with additive manufacturing to create customized shoes in the store. Through wearable sensors, 3D scanners determine the individual orthotic fit and create a custom midsole in only 30 seconds. This 3D-printed footwear project is disrupting the consumer goods industry, pushing the boundaries of product customization and the consumer experience.
Last year’s event featured a push for human worker safety, too.
Among the other testbeds presented:
- Smart fire truck: Developed by Emergency One together with Vodafone, it was equipped with a set of solutions that allow the automation of a series of tasks in the control panel.
- Smart PPE: Improving worker safety is the main goal of the testbed presented by Wipro, Guardhat, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Aruba Networks. The testbed solution accomplishes this by employing smart wearables such as connected hardhats and infrastructure, cognitive learning abilities, and 24/7 connectivity with operations command centers and emergency response teams.
- Smart steel: Celsa Group, together with IThinkUPC and Nexiona have developed a data-driven Steel 4.0 IIoT deployment for intelligent monitoring of meltshop and rolling mill processes. It uses multivariate analysis, modelling with AI techniques, and automatically prescript recommendations to improve production.
This year’s IoTSWC was expected to gather together 300 exhibitors and 250 speakers from around the world. Among the many speakers was RTI, which hosted two talks. A panel on Tuesday covered “AI and Its Impact on IIoT.” Speakers from Google, iQor and ROWAN Inc. discussed the evolution of AI technology and how recent developments in AI will allow companies to apply the technology in a much more sophisticated fashion—from automated quality assurance in manufacturing to self-configuring sensor networks. In this panel, the speakers discussed how AI is being applied to solve real problems in the industrial settings, the benefits gained, and the lessons learned.
Wednesday featured “How to Build the Connectivity Architecture for an Automotive System of Systems,” where automotive connectivity architecture was discussed. The presentation explored why it remains challenging, and addresses requirements like ensuring trustworthiness, real-time performance, scalability, and data availability (in the face of disconnected and intermittent connectivity under changing weather conditions). Next-gen automotive connectivity architecture was presented, along with its applications to autonomous driving, remote teleoperation, and driverless valet parking.
This year IoTSWC looks like it will yield continued growth and progress IoT technology as more companies meet, network, and show off not just the technology, but the solutions.