“When there is sufficient information in hand, it can be put to work, just like money. Data from various operations can yield valuable insights that can drive new business models and customer-driven products. The insights accumulated over a particular period can help management and business owners make critical, informed financial and investment decisions as well as expand operations.” That’s what Karen Ravindranath, director of WebNMS had to say on how IoT is changing the fleet management space. In an interaction with Nijhum Rudra, she explains how IoT is turning infrastructure into hubs of innovation, as well as the role fleet telematics and IoT can play in supply chain efficiency.
EB: IoT has gained huge traction over the past few years and is going to be the game-changer in shaping the future of technology. Tell us what you believe are the various technologies that will shape the future of IoT.
IoT, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) will be the key technologies that influence the future of businesses. IT systems helped businesses go digital and changed the way processes were handled in organisations—moving work from paperwork to computers. As the next wave of technology is embracing the Internet of Things, it will help organisations become more inclusive. By ‘inclusive’ we mean integrating assets, processes, people and all the critical aspects of the business on a unified digital platform that can help run smooth business operations based on real-time data and insights. IoT can not only build a digital fort for the business but also be a reservoir of valuable information, which is required to run informed operations and to venture into new domains. It has helped to reimagine the way business is done. Future technology is going to be proactive rather than reactive, and IoT will be a major factor enabling this transformation.
EB: How is IoT turning infrastructure into hubs of innovation?
IoT is all about data and it is used effectively to run the business. When there is sufficient information in hand, it can be put to work just like money. Data from various operations can yield valuable insights that can drive new business models and customer-driven products. The insights accumulated over a particular period can help management and business owners make critical informed financial and investment decisions as well as expand operations. IoT data can be effectively used for running businesses and government institutions, while creating new and innovative streams of income.
Large city infrastructures managed by the city corporation like railway stations, parks, hospitals, etc, can turn into excellent data reservoirs with IoT. The IoT can also help to create valuable revenue streams by converting regular lighting poles to smart poles that can display advertising, act as temporary charging poles or even run context driven promotions for the businesses nearby. IoT can also boost and regulate traffic in congested cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi through smart and proactive parking systems.
In the manufacturing sector, traditionally, machines were cost centres. However, with the latest equipment being IoT enabled, with connected data and proactive monitoring, manufacturing operations can be optimised effectively. For instance, the valuable data generated and the key business insights hence available, can be monetised by offering new and customised SLAs for customers.
EB: What is the role of fleet telematics and IoT in supply chain efficiency? How will these technologies benefit connected vehicles?
The adoption and use of IoT fleet management applications for the supply chain and logistics industry is on the rise, especially in developed countries such as USA, where the market is set to gain more traction in another five years. The larger part of the supply chain in India is still unorganised with less use of technology. However, as companies are moving to more transparent and tech driven operations, the supply chain is also an area where digitisation has to be adopted to create tangible increases in efficiency and cost optimisation. Fleet telematics can offer the basics of tracking and tracing vehicles on the move, but IoT can build intelligence into the process. IoT can integrate all processes, from loading, to monitoring parameters in transit and final delivery.
The IoT tracks the estimated time of arrival, unloading/waiting at the destination, driver behaviour, vehicle and cargo safety, end-to-end process automation and workforce management. IoT, with ML and AI, is helping companies optimise space, routes and operations. Adopting IoT has huge advantages. It can help track assets on the move and ensure compliance to standards such as AIS140, hours of service, etc. This not only improves safety but also enables the company to have a clear record for compliance needs. The IoT data can also help management teams analyse vendor performance and make informed annual contract decisions based on insights into factors such as quality, efficiency, time taken, etc.
EB: Are you doing anything to focus on Industrial IoT solutions? What are the steps that need to be taken to strengthen it?
Companies now offer feature-rich and developer-friendly IoT platforms to build Industrial IoT solutions for manufacturing units as well as help operations teams use IoT applications to maintain the factory premises, proactively. The platform and solutions cater to a wide array of industries that include the manufacturing sector, oil and gas, as well as medium and large scale organisations that need centralised and proactive monitoring and management.
WebNMS’ Industrial IoT capabilities empower industries to seamlessly integrate the physical and digital aspects of their business onto a unified platform that can collect data, monitor and manage assets, perform remote automation and provide data analytics for day-to-day as well as strategic operations. WebNMS’ partner ecosystem enables it to seamlessly connect with PLCs, CNC machines and other equipment on the shopfloor, thereby enabling the retrofitting of IoT to existing infrastructure. The platform and solutions are aimed at helping manufacturers proactively monitor assets and processes, perform predictive maintenance, iron out process bottlenecks and ensure quality of production, all remotely and seamlessly.