With $832 billion estimated to be spent on Internet of Things solutions by 2020, it's clear businesses are investing in an IoT future.
Internet of Things has already optimised several business operations all over the world, but there often hasn't been enough spotlight on the Australian trailblazers currently leveraging IoT's capabilities to its full potential.
While the technology is still maturing and becoming more widely available, we take a look at 5 innovative use cases of IoT in Australia and how it's helping these companies innovate their products and services today.
1. SA Water - Predictive maintenance and remote monitoring
SA Water delivers water services to more than 1.6 million customers in South Australia and was the first water utility in the world to implement IoT sensors on a defined geographical area, outfitting sensors into its pipes as part of a pilot program to create a smart water network. Using Internet of Things technology, the company monitors water flow and water pressure and incorporates smart meters for over 100 customers living in Adelaide CBD.
SA Water's IoT initiative started simple: They discovered pressure transients in its water network in the CBD were bigger and more prone to pipe fatigue, so they leveraged live data afforded by their new IoT-connected pipes to:
- Prevent 10 major water main failures
- Detect a 100 litre per minute leak
- Save one customer $15,000 per month
Aligned with their IoT solution, SA Water deploys both a cloud-based data collection platform and a smart data analytics platform for alerts and visualisations to better consolidate and represent the real-time information about its systems sourced from its sensor-outfitted pressure sensors, water quality platforms and flowmeters.
With its pipe network IoT-enabled, SA Water’s access to predictive maintenance and remote monitoring allowed them to make better data-driven decisions about pipe maintenance and opened up new opportunities for cost-savings that have effectively kept them future-proofed. It’s also why they were named ‘IoT Project of the Year’.
2. Peloris Global Sourcing - Remote monitoring
Internet of Things is transforming the industrial and manufacturing industries with its inventory tracking and operational monitoring capabilities. IoT actuators and sensors outfitted into our machinery have connected the supply chain into the digital and has opened up new business opportunities not possible before - which Peloris Global Sourcing swiftly leveraged.
Peloris is a Sydney-based import and exporter of food that used IoT solutions to overcome the recurring issue of maintaining ideal milk temperature for milk they exported from Australian farms to supermarkets in China.
Deploying IoT sensors in its supply chain allowed Peloris to remotely monitor both the location and temperature of its milk to ensure it remained as fresh as possible. As a result, they were able to achieve several outcomes:
- Sell certified fresh Australian milk overseas
- Achieve a faster border clearance
- Maintain a 100 per cent compliance record
The temperature tracking in its IoT-outfitted machinery also allowed Peloris to discover its mango pallets were suffering undesirable temperature variation after operational delays, which would have reduced the quality of its exports. As Peloris markets its produce as premium fruit, they were able to pinpoint this issue before it became a problem through the increased visibility into operations IoT affords.
3. AOWAY - Temperature monitoring
Internet of Things isn’t just helping make our machinery smarter - it’s also opening up new ways to better predict, respond and tailor products and services around customer behaviours and preferences.
AOWAY uses IoT sensors to track its fresh produce exports and provide live status updates as it moves through the supply chain to supermarket shelves on China. Anyone who downloads the company’s mobile app can monitor and track the freshness of the food they order from AOWAY, and it also ensures customers know it’s from Australia.
Chinese consumers are demanding more fresh and organic produce, and AOWAY has taken advantage of the transparency IoT-enabled remote monitoring offers to respond to their customers' growing demands. It also provides real-time insights of its product to over 700 million customers overseas, previously not possible without IoT.
4. Sofihub - Predictive service and smart alerts
Melbourne-based Deakin University and its Software Innovation Labs department outfitted its digital assisted living product Sofihub with IoT sensor technology, combining remote monitoring capabilities with powerful artificial intelligence software backed up a cloud platform to help its customers live independently in their own homes.
Sofihub’s IoT sensors work by identifying where residents are in their home. It sends this data in real-time to carers or family members to provide insights into their routine, and raises alerts or notifications whenever it reads abnormal patterns. A central software hub hosted in a Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud environment communicates with the sensors around the home, and is used by customers to read its transmitted data.
Connecting real-time IoT data sources to the cloud offers increased visibility into operational status and allows you to respond faster to current conditions that devices report live. The implementation of IoT in this use case shows the value in having greater access to data; Sofihub not only provide live status updates, but it also enables care providers to pre-emptively take action based on changes in behaviour or routine, reducing the likelihood of incidents.
Using Internet of Things' predictive maintenance and remote monitoring capabilities to improve quality-of-life is a major drawcard of the technology, and Sofihub make a compelling case for future deployment in similar fields.
5. The Yield - Remote monitoring and predictive analytics
IoT is a game-changer for the agricultural industry. Farmers and growers around the world are leveraging the benefits of sensor technology to help increase production yields, monitor crops more efficiently and make the overall supply chain more sustainable in the long-term - backed by the right cloud and business intelligence (BI) solutions.
The Yield is a Sydney-based agricultural technology start-up specialising in oysters. The company embraced IoT as early as 2016 to better assess the quality of the water used to feed its product. Regulators often shut down their operations due to heavy rain, which increased the risk of potential contamination of oyster yields, but they previously had no way to assess the true danger of contaminants and were faced with millions of dollars in lost revenue.
The company decided to use real-time Internet of Things sensors powered by Microsoft’s Azure IoT suite, a cloud-based pre-configured remote monitoring IoT solution that:
- Connects devices and sensors and collects its information wherever it’s located
- Analyses device data with BI tools like Power BI
- Trigger automatic data-driven alerts and actions
- Provides better visibility into operations
With Internet of Things sensor technology embedded in its oyster estuaries, The Yield were able to better monitor the quality of the water and send it back to the Azure cloud platform. The company then used machine learning and business intelligence analytics tools to deliver data-based predictions summarised in real-time dashboards to its regulators. Ultimately, The Yield’s implementation of IoT has saved them significant money, gain access to consistent predictive insights and enabled better decisions based on reliable real-time data.
IoT in Australia: Key takeaways
Leveraging IoT's many capabilities requires a fundamental shift in your business mindset to drive innovation and produce results. Examine how being IoT ready can turn your own operational challenges into opportunities - better optimised processes, reliable real-time data, remote monitoring - to understand why it can deliver real value now.