What is an IoT solution?

January 2, 2022

IoT Solutions are built to solve real problems

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the convergence of the digital and physical worlds. It has emerged as a fundamental trend underlying the digital transformation of business and economy[1].
Seen from above, an Internet of Things (IoT) solution is a system of physical objects connected to the Internet. These systems rely on sensors, embedded systems, communication networks and a combination of various remote computing resources. This system is built to transfer, extract and enrich real-time data without any human intervention. IoT solutions include specific software application exploiting these data and connectivity to provide business users with smart services that solve their day to day problems. For example, asset tracking solutions, condition monitoring, alerting tools, remote command applications, augmented reality and connected products sold as a service are improving our working life and modernizing our industries.
An IoT solution is first and foremost designed to solve a well-identified problem and to provide a measurable benefit using real-time data or remote access. It is not just an extraordinary technology but a powerful instrument.
An IoT solution is first and foremost designed to solve a well-identified problem and to provide a measurable benefit using real-time data or remote access. It is a powerful instrument to transform business and increase efficiency.

What are the outcomes of IoT solutions?

Companies rely on IoT to:
 1) reduce their operational costs;
2) boost their business operations;
3) correct and improve current processes
4) adapt to hybrid working methods;
5) deeply transform their business model. 

IoT solutions can bring multiple benefits to businesses. In most cases, companies rely on IoT firstly to reduce their operational costs and boost their business operations. By harvesting and analyzing real-time data of a specific equipment, they are able to measure with great precision what exactly is happening on the field and be rapidly alerted of any malfunctions: product defect, excessive temperature, abnormal position, engine failure… Then, this information is used to rapidly  correct and improve current processes, before the end-user even has time to notice the problem. Thanks to IoT, which improves remote visibility, it is easier for connected companies to adapt to hybrid working methods, combining remote and face-to-face work, saving office space, transport expenses and consequently reducing their environmental impact. Finally, with the help of this technology, companies can deeply transform their business model – the Holy Grail of digital transformation – by delivering their product as a service, on a subscription basis.
Take the example of a smart city, which implements a wide variety of IoT solutions to improve water distribution, traffic control, waste management, environmental monitoring and urban safety. For this city, waste management is a major issue and the main budget item. Did you know that in France, each citizen generates around ½ ton of waste per year? With the help of Stackeo IoT solution manager, enabling us to model and simulate the cost and ROI of connected solutions, we discovered that a smart waste collection system, based on measuring the filling level of containers by IoT, could reduce costs by at least 30%. Indeed, the field data injected into the garbage truck route optimization algorithm helps to drastically reduce fuel costs, inconvenience and pollution caused by traffic jams. Applying this innovation to a city like Toulouse – whose waste collection and recycling budget was €101M in 2019, that is to say an average of €131 per inhabitant or €0.27 per kg of waste – would reduce taxation by €100 to €200 per family and per year. Twice as much could be saved if citizens are also incentivized to contribute to reducing pollution, thanks to a taxation policy based on measuring the filling of waste containers, promoting the adoption of a zero-waste reflex.
Industrial IoT can be applied not only to smart cities, but also to smart buildings, smart grids, precision agriculture, connected hospitals and connected vehicles, as well as factories. All these innovations can lead to virtuous, eco-friendly behaviors.

What are the IoT solutions types?

Many solutions and technologies are emerging. In each economic sector, IoT solutions are invented to provide tailored services in relation to tractors in agriculture, patients in hospitals, production lines in manufacturing, interconnection or delivery stations in the case of a gas pipeline, etc… 
1- Telemetry and monitoring solutions based on sensors like temperature, humidity, pression, vibration, level sensors, are often the first type of industrial internet solutions implemented; followed by
2- Tracking solutions via geolocation are getting traction in many domains; 
3- Alerting and remote diagnosis to prevent failures using preventive maintenance, even predictive maintenance;
4- Remote control through automated machines (PLC), robots and connected drones;
5- Remote surveillance through cameras and image analysis. 

45% of IoT solutions are pre-packaged and sold by pure-players, named IoT Solutions Providers. The other 55% are tailored solutions often built in-house to solve a specific problem that turn-key solutions do not solve well. But the build or buy IoT solution decision is not always an easy one to make.
Companies that have successfully built a custom-made solution are sometimes looking to industrialize and sell it as a new product, transforming themselves into IoT Solution Providers. This is a way to get a good return on the initial investment.

Take away

Companies can leverage IoT solutions to reduce their operational costs,   improve current processes or deeply transform their business model.
Today many turn-key IoT solutions are sold by Solution Providers. For late adopters, this is certainly the quickest and safest pathway to start an IoT journey. Ultimately to transform a business with IoT-based services, building a custom-made system will be inevitable. To reach this stage, the company will have to reduce the IoT skill gap, surround itself with trusted IoT partners and build and control its IoT ecosystem.

About Stackeo - At Stackeo, we have a long experience in business analysis, design thinking, network architecture and software development of Industrial Internet and Cloud solutions. We have developed unique tools based on a top-down method and simulation digital twin technology for ensuring the IoT success of our customers. We deliver the first low-code and intelligent software that assists teams in planning and running at scale turn-key or custom-made Internet of Things solutions. Contact us or follow us on LinkedIn if you want to learn more about it.

[1] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/iot-value-set-to-accelerate-through-2030-where-and-how-to-capture-it