The Internet of Things (IoT) is all about data and how it is being used effectively for running a business. Data from various operations can yield valuable insights that can drive new business models and customer-driven products and help business owners make critical financial and investment decisions. In an interaction with Nijhum Rudra, Karen Ravindranath, director, WebNMS, explains how IoT is turning infrastructure into hubs of innovation and the role of fleet telematics and IoT in supply chain efficiency.

Q. IoT has gained huge traction over the past few years and is going to be a game-changer in shaping the future of technology. According to you, what are the various technologies that will shape the excellent future of IoT and how?

A. IoT, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) are the key technologies that will influence the future of businesses. IT systems helped businesses go digital and changed the way processes were handled in organisations. As the next wave of technology is embracing IoT, 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 to help run smooth business operations based on real-time data and insights. IoT can not only build a digital forte for the business but can also be a reservoir of valuable information for running an informed business and venturing into new business arenas. Future technology is going to be proactive rather than reactive, and IoT will be a major factor enabling this transformation.

Q. How IoT is turning infrastructure into hubs of innovation?

A. IoT is all about data and how it is being used effectively for running a business. Data from various operations can yield valuable insights that can drive new business models and customer-driven products. The insights accumulated over a period can help business owners make critical financial and investment decisions as well as expand their business 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 city corporations like railway stations, parks, hospitals, etc, can turn into valuable data reservoirs with IoT. IoT can also help create 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 nearby businesses. IoT can also boost and regulate traffic for major traffic-ridden metro cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Delhi through smart and proactive parking systems.

Q. What is the role of fleet telematics in supply chain efficiency? Is it going to benefit IoT and connected vehicles?

A. The adoption and use of IoT fleet management applications in the supply chain and logistics industry are on the rise, especially in developed countries such as the USA. However, the larger part of the supply chain in India is still unorganised with lesser use of technology. As companies are moving towards more transparent and tech-driven operations, the supply chain is an area where digitisation has to be adopted to create a tangible increase in efficiency and cost optimisation.

Fleet telematics can offer the basics of track and trace of 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. IoT tracks the estimated time of arrival (ETA), unloading/waiting at the destination, driving behaviour, vehicle and cargo safety, end-to-end process automation and workforce management.

IoT, with ML and AI, is helping companies optimise space, route, and operations’ planning. Adopting IoT helps track assets on the move and ensures compliance to standards such as AIS140, hours of service, etc. This, in turn, ensures safety and enables the company to have a clear record for compliance needs. The IoT data also helps management teams to analyse vendor performance and make informed annual contract decisions based on insights for factors such as quality, efficiency, etc.

Q. Are you doing anything to focus on industrial IoT solutions? What are the steps required to strengthen it?

A. Companies now offer rich and highly developer-friendly IoT platforms to build industrial IoT solutions for manufacturing units as well as help operations teams use IoT applications to maintain factory premises proactively. The platform and solution 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 converge physical and digital aspects of their business on a unified platform that can collect data, monitor and manage assets, perform remote automation and provide data analytics for day-to-day activities as well as strategic operations. The company’s partner ecosystem enables it to seamlessly connect with PLCs, CNC machines, and other equipment on the shop floor, thereby enabling retrofitting 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 the quality of production, all remotely and seamlessly.