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How The Internet of Things can help 8 Businesses
by Hemant Rachh | Head of Machine-to-Machine, Enterprise Maxis
From retail to manufacturing and from governments to logistics companies, the Internet of Things can lower costs, open new opportunities and create greater security for Malaysian businesses.
$11.1 trillion a year: That’s how much businesses worldwide could gain, every year, from the Internet of Things by 2025, says research from McKinsey & Company.
It’s a sizeable impact, and one that many Malaysian businesses are aware of. According to a Growing the Digital Business: Spotlight on the Internet of Things, a study by Accenture, 84% of businesses in Malaysia say the Internet of Things will have a major impact on Malaysia.
In Malaysia, the government expects IoT to contribute approximately RM9.5 billion to the country’s gross national income by 2020, and RM42.5 billion by 2025.
But what’s IoT really, in simple terms?
Here’s a simple example. Say you own a large retail store. You probably want to ensure that your shelves are always stocked, so that you don’t miss a sale. The problem is you don’t have enough store executives to constantly check every shelf on every aisle.
What could you do?
You could put a sensor on all your shelves. The sensors measure how much weight there is on a shelf and sends out that data every 30 minutes.
That sensor sends that data to an application, which figures when the shelf is close to being empty (if the weight on it slips under a pre-fixed threshold). When a shelf is close to being empty, the application sends an SMS to a store employee. Your staff can then proactively re-fill that specific shelf.
This is the Internet of Things: A system that brings together sensors (and smart devices), network infrastructure (to transmit data), and applications, which, all together, allows you to boost intelligence, productivity, or create new business models.
Here are some examples of how IoT can help Malaysian businesses.
Create safer, more cost efficient ATMS: Sensors within ATMs allow banks to remotely monitor ATMs, air-conditioners, cameras, lights, battery banks, and door locks to make running ATMS safer and more efficient.
Make payments easier. With mobile enabled point-of-sale terminals that allow to collect payment anywhere on the go.
De-risk car insurance. By putting sensors into cars, auto insurance companies can get a better idea of a customer’s driving patterns--and accordingly lower or increase insurance premiums.
Offer customers more secure cars: Auto makers can create IoT solutions so that anytime an unauthorized person tries to open a customer’s car, they’ll get a text informing them. Smart sensors inside cars can also send them instant alerts when their car is opened or started without permission.
End drunk-driving and create safer roads for everyone: Using chemical-sensing sensors placed inside cars that measure the alcohol content on a driver’s breathe, auto makers can ensure that drunk drivers cannot start their cars if they are over the limit.
Ensure predictable deliveries and lower theft: Multiple sensors on cargo trucks can tell logistic companies how fast a driver is driving, how many stops they’ve made, and if the cargo door’s been opened. All of this results in more predictable deliveries and less theft.
Shrink turnaround time and increase asset utilization: When a delivery truck enters a geo-fenced area around a dispatch hub, an alert is sent out from that truck giving the hub a heads-up to ready an unloading crew. This lowers unloading time and makes sure that delivery trucks aren’t standing around idle.
Ensure driver safety: Sensors on cargo trucks can figure how long a driver’s been driving. If a driver has been at the wheel for too long, he can be alerted to take a forced break—thereby ensuring their safety.
Raise the quality of deliveries: Imagine your business was commissioned to transport ice cream, you would want to make sure that it wasn’t melting during transit. With the right sensors on delivery trucks, your business can monitor the temperature inside cargo trucks and inform drivers when it slips below a pre-fixed threshold.
Keep customers better informed: Using sensors placed on products, like shoes, retailers can ensure customers can gather more data about a product on nearby TV screens. The more information customers have, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
Ensure your kiosks never run out of stock: Smart vending machines embedded with sensors can monitor how much stock is left in vending machines, and inform retailers when they are close to be empty. This way retailers can be sure their machines never run out of products and they never miss a sale.
Serve fresh food only. Sensors within food kiosks, or vegetable and dairy racks, can monitor the temperature of food. If temperatures sink below a threshold, for beyond amount of time, an alert is sent to managers so they don’t serve spoiling food.
Keep homes safer: Using sensors connected security companies can make sure that their clients are alerted if someone tries to break into their houses.
Be prepared for emergencies: When a fire breaks out in a home or office with IoT-enabled fire alarms, heat sensors can send alerts out to the closest fire marshals informing them where the fire is located, allowing the fire department to react faster. The same applies to cars. When a car embedded with IoT sensors has an accident, they can automatically send out SOS texts to the closest police station and hospital for help.
Keep children safer: Kids should be allowed to roam freely—but within certain limits. With IoT-enabled geo fencing, if children tagged with an IoT device wander beyond a fixed zone, parents (or teachers in a school) can be informed immediately.
Ensure the safety of family members: Keeping an eye on the elderly is simpler with IoT. By placing IoT-enabled devices placed on the elderly, clinics and hospital can monitor their heart-rate, and their blood-pressure among other things. When these metrics go off pre-set values, hospital staff receive an alert so that they can help proactively.
Create safer roads: Rash drivers beware: With sensors placed on freeways, police officials can be automatically alerted when someone breaks the speed limit.
End overflowing garbage bins: Sensors can automatically detect levels in garbage cans and alert garbage trucks. This helps keep streets cleaner and also helps garbage trucks optimize their routes by ensuring they only visit bins that are full.
Direct Cars to Empty Parking Spots
Little sensors in empty parking lots can inform drivers that they are empty and help guide them towards the right parking areas.
Using acoustic sensors, city officials can now know when and where a water pipe has burst, ensuring they can fix leaks faster and more cost-effectively.
Turn Street Lights On and Off
Turn street lights on and off by deploying weight and motion-based sensors that figure out there are cars or people in the area. This ensures lights are only on when they need to be, lowering operational costs. Lights can also be turned off and on based on the amount of ambient light.
No More Prolonged Brown-Outs
We’re sure this has happened to you: Your home loses power and your utility doesn’t know. This never has to happen again once power infrastructure is embedded with IoT devices that can alert technicians when the power goes out.
Keep the Lights On
Until now, when a street light conked off, there’s no way to know without a manual check. But now with IoT, sensors connected to the internet can send out an SOS SMS and inform city officials
There are some places citizens shouldn't be allowed in. But putting up keep-out sign only encourage break-ins. With IoT city officials can be alerted when sensitive areas have been breached.
These are just some of the almost endless possibilities IoT opens up for Malaysian businesses.
A mobile-first approach makes it easier for businesses to enhance customer engagement, boost user experience, and increase the overall buyer experience. Morgan Stanley revealed that since 2014, mobile devices have witnessed more active internet users than desktops. Google’s Consumer Barometer 2015 revealed that 52% of Malaysians access internet using smartphones. Another report by statista.com pointed out there will be 13.7 million smartphone users in Malaysia by 2019 and that by the end of 2016 the country will boast of having more than 11 million smartphone users.
It’s exciting times for online business owners in Malaysia, especially considering the rapid internet and mobile penetration in the country. According to We Are Social, 71% of Malaysian adults own a mobile device and 81 million Malaysians are active mobile users and 47% of them use mobiles to shop online. All these numbers actually translate to huge business opportunities for e-commerce and digital native businesses. But, there are a few key areas that business owners need to keep in mind to ensure a successful online endeavour. Here are four: