The Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer the new kid on the block; it is now a staple part of modern society that is rapidly becoming an integral part of modern business.
All-encompassing digital connectivity has the power to transform society, to alter the way people live their lives and how businesses conduct their operations. The IoT has made its case and is now being installed across a raft of businesses globally.
Supply-chain management is one example of an activity that can potentially benefit most greatly from the IoT and its drive to optimise business practices.
For the time being, the IoT has precipitated an avalanche of gadgets and applications, aimed at consumers and the B2C market. Examples include smartphones and watches, security equipment, smart domestic appliances and even driverless cars are all part and parcel of the IoT revolution.
According to market analysts, these devices will bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds, to improve the quality and productivity of life, society and industries.
A recent survey conducted by KRC Research in the UK, US, Japan and Germany says that some devices are having a more meaningful impact than others – smart appliances like thermostats, refrigerators and home security systems are the first wave of commercial IoT products that customers have been most attracted to.
Parabolic IoT growth
By 2020 the number of IoT connected devices globally is expected to be 30 billion, and this is forecast to grow to 100 billion by 2025.
According to the IoT Alliance in Australia, by 2025 the IoT market could be generating revenue close to US$10 trillion and says that “every person and every business will feel the impact.”
Alternative data obtained by US computer giant Hewlett Packard shows that the number of “connected devices” has risen from 300,000 in 1990 to 90 million by 2008. By 2010, that number reached 5 billion and is on its way to 1 trillion by 2025, according to the company.
The rate of IoT growth globally is becoming parabolic, especially in G20 countries.
With consumers reaping the benefits of connected digital devices, businesses from various industries are keen to participate in this revolution, and by extension, optimise their operations towards delivering services previously thought impossible.
Digitally connected devices are setting the stage for businesses to deliver progressive and scalable services that benefit anyone and everyone.
And it’s not just consumption patterns that are likely to feel the impact of IoT.
The likes of CCP Technologies (ASX: CT1), an ASX-listed IoT-device manufacturer and solutions provider, recently announced that the ‘World Mosquito Program’ at Monash University is using its IoT critical control point monitoring solution to reduce the risk of losing temperature sensitive research material.
“Critical control points” are the points in a supply chain where a failure of standard operating procedure has potential to cause serious harm to people and business continuity, according to CCP.
Standard critical control points include temperature, energy, environment (e.g. air and water quality, pH, chemicals, noise, acoustics and gases) and movement.
If not mitigated, supply chain disruption can directly impact a business’ reputation and its bottom line.
CCP’s solution captures critical control point data in real-time using Smart Tags (sensors) and an advanced IoT platform which leverages big data analytics, machine learning and Blockchain.
The company’s IoT sensors use the latest telecommunication networks designed for IoT – low-powered wide-area networks (LPWANs) being offered by carriers such as Telstra, Vodafone and Sigfox.
Data is sent to the company’s platform where it is analysed to deliver business intelligence. Customers access this information through Web and Mobile Dashboards; and receive real-time alerts via SMS, email and push notifications.
The Aussie company has initially focused its sales effort on the food industry, where monitoring temperature and humidity strengthens food safety and reduce food waste.
Every year the world wastes about a third of all food that was meant for human consumption (around 1.2 billion tonnes), along with all the energy, water and chemicals needed to produce and dispose of it.
Market research shows that almost one quarter of this waste is due to deficient refrigeration or what’s known as a “cold chain failure”, a phenomenon whereby perishable goods are transported by several entities (often across multiple borders) but due to a lack of constant monitoring and climate control, the transported product reaches its final destination rather worse for wear.
In Australia, an estimated 4.1 million domestically acquired cases of foodborne illness occur every year, costing an estimated $1.2 billion. One of the most common causes of foodborne illness is the storage and display of potentially hazardous (perishable) foods at inadequate temperatures for extended periods.
The scale of the problem has reached a point whereby businesses are looking to use cutting-edge technology such as IoT and Blockchain in combination to improve their ability to track temperature conditions for perishable food to ensure quality control and extend shelf life –which is good for supply chain participants, consumers and technology firms.
“In July 2018, the Penta Global Blockchain Foundation completed a strategic investment in CCP Technologies because we see many strategic opportunities to work with the company to deliver new solutions to the market. The new partnership will see the integration of Blockchain and IoT technologies to deliver socio-economic impact,” says David Ritter, CEO of Penta Global Blockchain Foundation.
“We already have a ‘Blockchain Rice’ solution for 30,000 rice growers for food security and improved supply chain management. The solution provides growers, harvesters, milling, transport and retail data to be stored on the Blockchain delivering valuable data to all stakeholders,” added Mr Ritter.
Opportunities for IoT continue to emerge
To demonstrate the veracity of its technology, CCP recently announced that the World Mosquito Program at Monash University Clayton campus is using its monitoring solution to reduce the risk of losing temperature sensitive research material.
Dengue infections are thought to be responsible for an estimated 390 million cases globally and are linked to around 25,000 deaths each year.
“The World Mosquito Program – to control mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya – depends on the rearing of thousands of mosquitoes in temperature-controlled rooms, cultivating cells and viruses, and performing research in state-of-the-art facilities. Monitoring temperature in rearing rooms, incubators and freezers are essential to progressing their research and reducing the risk of losing valuable time and samples,” said Michael White, CEO of CCP Technologies.
The World Mosquito Program is an international, non-profit initiative led by Monash University, with funding support from governments, research institutes and philanthropic partners around the world including The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
As part of the program, the research team at Monash University have invented a natural, safe and effective way to combat the threat of the above mosquito-borne diseases.
Just as the Internet has become an indispensable part of every business, IoT is set to feature in every supply chain.
No matter what industry you can think of, there are hundreds of millions of critical control points in every supply chain.
Companies such as CCP Technologies are positioning to secure opportunities where IoT makes a positive impact on supply chains and people’s lives.