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The Internet of Things gets real

Bob Violino | June 3, 2014
Practical applications are emerging for connected devices in key industries.

And of course ensuring IoT data security is a big challenge for the industry. Despite these issues, there are IoT initiatives under way today. Here are a few examples from different industries.

Water Management

HydroPoint Data Systems, a water management company in Petaluma, Calif., is leveraging real-time, two-way wireless communications via AT&T's machine-to-machine network; big data analytics and the cloud to offer customers an automated system that eliminates water waste while monitoring and protecting against damages caused by leaks and runoff.

The system, called WeatherTRAK, has more than 25,000 subscribers who in 2013 saved more than 20 billion gallons of water, 77 million kilowatt hours of electricity and about $143 million in expenses, according to Chris Spain, CEO and president of HydroPoint.

WeatherTRAK is a smart irrigation controller that replaces existing timers with an Internet-enabled controller that can comprehend data inputs delivered from the Internet — such as weather data — and provide proactive management to water supply maintainers via a Website and mobile application.

HydroPoint's platform connects a site's irrigation system and sprinklers, master valves, flow sensors, historical water bills, water budgets and site-specific weather data into an integrated management framework, Spain says.

"In the field, we utilize machine-to-machine communications, data over power lines and wireless communications back to the cloud," Spain says. The company, "really couldn't deliver our service without IoT in any cost effective fashion," Spain says. "Water management systems, by their very nature, can change from one moment to the next so having real-time monitoring is essential."

Product Tracking

Pirelli, one of the world's largest tire manufacturers, is gaining insights about the performance of its products in near-real time directly from sensors embedded in the tires.

Using SAP's HANA data analytics platform, the Milan, Italy, company can manage the enormous amounts of data from its Cyber Tyre products. The tires contain sensors that collect data about tire conditions and performance that influence safety, control and vehicle dynamics.

The tire-mounted sensors enable fleet managers to remotely view tire pressure and temperature, as well as the mileage for each tire. With the HANA platform, the company can run reports on product performance and deliver timely and accurate sales and distribution information, which can lead to more efficient manufacturing and business processes.

According to SAP, Pirelli is building systems to enable the integration of vehicle position and operating data for purposes such as vehicle protection and control; information about traffic, road conditions and parking; remote vehicle behavior and diagnostics; management of logistics and of industrial vehicle fleets; and automated emergency calls.

Smart Lighting

Shorenstein Properties, a San Francisco-based real estate business, recently retrofitted parking lot light fixtures at its Santa Clara Towers office complex to LEDs, and at the same time integrated networking capabilities, creating a "Light Sensory Network" (LSN).

 

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