The internet of ‘things’ (IoT)

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The internet of ‘things’ (IoT)

IoTWhat a refreshing title for the new phenomena hitting the World we live in!

It could have been called something like ‘virtual supply chain connectivity’ or VSVC for short but it is simply called, the ‘internet of things’ (the Irish version will no doubt will be nicknamed the ‘internet of thingamajigs’)

It refers to the revolution of products or devices connected automatically to databases and the internet. These devices can measure, monitor, and in some cases are designed to trigger a predetermined action all without any live person to prompt the action or make any related decisions!

Primarily, it’s about enabling the right product to be in the right location in the right quantity all based on real-time demand data

Everyday examples are

  • A Supermarket being able to monitor why items fly off the shelf thus enabling an automated Kanban system for replenishment
  • Profiling of buying and spending patterns for those who have registered for various loyalty card holders
  • What is termed a ‘Precision Agriculture’ system that sends real-time data from the various fields to recommend immediate actions.
  • Smart meters to monitor electricity and water consumption to allow proactive management of same for fixed billing amounts

A Conservative estimate from the OECD is that IoT will reach 20 billion devices by 2020 from a total of 900 million in 2009.  This will have a dramatic positive effect on

  • Reducing the waste (surplus inventory) and complexity of Supply Chains (e.g. sourcing, manufacturing, transportation, inventory and billing)
  • Reduce product cycle times as the accuracy and time involved in decision making is improved by the use of real time test and measurement data.

Obviously the concerns here are confidentiality and prior permission to allow an individual’s device to be used and a ‘Big Brother’ fear factor but once these hurdles are overcome then the  ‘internet of thingamajigs’ is likely to take off like a jet engine!

View our full range of Lean Six Sigma training courses available on a Public & In-House basis.

Submitted by our expert Tutor Eamon O’Bearra

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