IDC’s Internet of Things (IoT) research focuses on providing information relevant to all market players in order to help them exploit the possibilities of IoT.
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IDC delivers insights on how IoT can help foster growth and innovation within the organization and how to establish the optimal position vis-a-vis the market competition. Our analyses provide data on market sizing and forecasts across geographies, technology in use, key market drivers and inhibitors, main ecosystem companies and their IoT strategies, value creation along the value chain, and trends shaping the future of the IoT industry.
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The retail sector is one of the most mature adopters of IoT, whether through product logistics, in-store customer kiosks, remote monitoring and control, or business process automation. IoT solutions can optimize inventory, provide automatic updates on maintenance needs, or handle payment services. RFID tracking networks and analytic solutions help optimize inventory operations and enhance omni-channel sales strategies, while innovative picking solutions are strongly improving warehouse activities.
IoT technologies are encouraging customer-related solutions, with a distinction between in-shop and out-shop cases. Out of the shop, we are observing the spread of smart vending machines, interactive digital signage, and proximity marketing. IoT solutions revolutionizing in-store customer experience include QR codes and interactive information totems; mobile sensor-based solutions that send customer promotions, coupons, and shopping suggestions; interactive mirrors allowing virtual try-on; and tag-based applications that tell customers if a certain color or size is available in other stores or online.
Healthcare is one vertical where IoT is already playing an important role, by facilitating a number of health-related processes and making many new breakthroughs possible. First, IoT is revolutionizing the way hospitals monitor inpatients and exchange internal data on their health conditions, as well as telemedicine solutions. Thanks to innovative devices capable of transmitting vital signs data from the patient's house to the hospital, staff is able to supervise patients that need special and constant observation without requiring them to leave their homes. IoT in healthcare also concerns building monitoring solutions for energy-saving and security purposes, as well as new medicine inventory systems based on RFID trackers.
The potential benefits of these systems include improved care from more constant monitoring and the ability to make prompt adjustments to treatments, as well as convenience on the patients’ side and lowered costs.
When it comes to the energy sector, one needs only look at the smart metering phenomenon for a prime example of how IoT can radically change a service-oriented industry and its customer approach. From the business point of view, IoT is a synonym for production development/monitoring and maintenance operations among utility companies. The first refers to IoT solutions that can improve the production process and monitor the efficiency of the energy distribution network, while the second indicates the possibility to track pipes, grids, pumps, and energy generators through sensors to remotely detect anomalies, predict problems, and improve maintenance interventions.
Smart cities are a great example of projects with a technology foundation built around IoT to help optimize waste management systems, develop innovative parking and traffic solutions, and build environmental monitoring tools, among other benefits. Nevertheless, one of the main uses of IoT in the government sector is for security solutions and real-time alerts. Monitoring networks for automatic emergency alerts (landslides, avalanches, volcanoes, earthquakes, or the risks thereof); evacuation and first-response tools in densely populated locations (e.g., a stadium or subway); and video and sensor installations for deterring and signaling criminal activities are just some of the use cases where IoT is improving government activities. Finally, IoT is modifying the role of citizens and their influence on city processes. For example, innovative communication tools allow citizens to become detectors of life-quality parameters in their quarters, and real-time virtual waiting lists facilitate access to public services.
Production development and supply chain/warehouse management are IoT's main areas of investment among process manufacturing organizations in CEMA. The underlying philosophy is simple: any process that involves a series of operations must be tracked in real time to ensure highest efficiency at each step. IoT can positively impact all aspects of supply chain/warehouse management processes, such as demand management, order fulfillment, manufacturing flow management, and return. RFID on goods allowing a smart storage and location recognition, pick-by-light and pick-by-voice systems (i.e., picking based on driving displays/sound signals) supported by augmented reality tools and real-time inventory analytics are just some of IoT use cases on the rise.
Minimizing downtime, improving the use of materials, continuously comparing the efficiency of multiple factories, and identifying factors hampering performance (e.g., slowdown points in the assembly line or excessive heat) are all results that can be achieved with the use of sensors and analytics tools in the production line. The use of IoT solutions in discrete manufacturing does not differ from its use in process manufacturing, except for a closer attention to maintenance operations, where it is having a revolutionary impact.