5 Internet of Things Examples That Maximize Productivity and Reduce Costs

 In Asset Intelligence

The IoT use cases below have been proven to help companies cut costs, streamline business processes and improve the customer experience.

The heavy industry has long pioneered IoT use cases, perhaps because capital assets and goods can be easily connected to the Internet, providing real-time visibility into workflows that determine business outcomes. The affordability and configurability of smart devices and sensors is propelling other industries into IoT’s blue sky of opportunity. Here are 5 IoT examples operations managers should keep an eye on.

IoT for Transportation

Early use cases of IoT in transportation focused on fleet management. IoT fleet management solutions made made it easy to monitor vehicles in real-time, and the ROI was quantifiable and quick. In many cases, this telematics solution paid for itself within a matter of months.

With telematics, fuel costs fell precipitously as companies reigned in excessive idling and inefficient routing, saving thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of dollars each year. Entire fleets could be mapped to achieve dynamic job assignments based on traffic, job type, or proximity to the customer’s location. Real-time notifications of activity after business hours mitigated authorized usage, loss and theft. Also, companies saved on insurance premiums by using a GPS fleet tracking solution to capture driving behaviors.

With these IoT investments paying off, transportation companies sought more use cases for the IoT. Gathering real-time engine diagnostics for preventive maintenance schedules, delivering real-time notifications to customers, and using data analytics to achieve predictability in service delivery are just some of the other use cases driving IoT adoption in the transportation industry.

IoT in Supply Chain

Supply chain partners are now using the IoT to gain greater transparency and control of shipments. Everything from cargo locations to conditions to handoffs can be monitored using IoT-enabled devices and sensors, reducing disruptions and delays while goods move “from floor to store”. Real-time data has demonstrably improved quality, established accountability, and provided end customers with an accurate record of a shipment’s journey.

IoT in cold chain logistics is a growing use case. 3PLs are using the IoT to remotely monitor and control temperature-sensitive cargo. In a connected supply chain, warehouses use RFID to track inventory, telematics to effectively route and track shipments, and geofencing to verify scheduled arrival and departure times.

IoT in Construction

The construction and equipment rental industries are undergoing a transformation as IoT technology brings valuable insight into construction equipment that is building the future from the ground up. Here are 3 key trends driving IoT adoption in construction:

  • US. equipment rental industry to reach $59.6 billion of total revenue in 20211
  • US. Construction equipment rental will see CAGR of 4% between 2018 to 20242
  • Large construction projects across asset classes typically take 20% longer to finish than scheduled and are up to 80% over budget3

The shift from buying to renting construction equipment is a cost-effective strategy that gives companies more flexibility over their spending, tax deductible expenses, and minimal maintenance costs. Construction companies with equipment on rent need to know it works and has been properly maintained. The IoT enables rental companies to digitize rental records, track location and utilization in real time, streamline maintenance, and provide a comprehensive history of the equipment’s maintenance history to customers.

IoT Field Service Applications

The combination of IoT-enabled devices and field service mobility applications is helping operations managers better align field sales and service teams. Operations managers are using IoT platforms to integrate CRM and telematics systems, providing a single system of record for sales, marketing, finance and operations.

IoT sensors are being deployed to monitor the assets field service technicians are responsible for servicing, such as power generators and HVAC systems. These devices trigger alerts to notify technicians that maintenance is needed before a piece of equipment breaks down. With sales and service data in one place, sales teams can quickly view service activities to have a full picture of the accounts their selling into.

Field service organizations are also using mobile applications to map and report operations data with stunning visualizations. Beyond reporting and analytics capabilities, these applications help keep field service on-time and on-schedule, improve productivity, plan the most efficient routes, optimize work orders, automate job scheduling and dispatch, and verify service delivery.

IoT for Smart Cities

Cities across the world are experimenting with IoT deployments. Charlotte’s Envision Charlotte project, which was designed to reduce energy consumption across many downtown commercial buildings, is perhaps the most notable, influential, and ground breaking.

Atlanta’s North Avenue Smart Corridor project was recently awarded the best project award for Mobility Smart City Expo World Congress. And, Chicago has pledge to replace hundreds of thousands of city lights with smart streetlights over the next several years.

Cities have barely scratched the surface of IoT’s capabilities, but more and more projects are being funded. Today, cities are using the IoT to better maintain transit assets, police squad cars, and city infrastructure such as tunnels, bridges and roads.

What’s Next?

Today, there are billions of IoT devices connected across the world. Gartner predicts there will be 20.4 billion connected devices by 2020. Companies who’ve adopted IoT, approximately 29% of organizations globally and across all industries, will most likely increase their investments. However, that shouldn’t discourage the other 71% of IoT newbies. The opportunity to improve operational efficiency, implement a servitization model, or create a connected customer experience is within reach for every small-medium business (SMB), large enterprise, city and municipality. Some pessimists may argue that there’s no advantage to IoT if every company has it. But it’s not just about what you have, it’s how you use it.



1 ARA Forecasts Equipment Rental Industry to Grow to Nearly $60 Billion by 2021, IHS Markit https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180219005101/en/ARA-Forecasts-Equipment-Rental-Industry-Grow-60

2 Construction Equipment Market to Cross $170bn by 2024: Global Market Insights, Inc., Global Market Insights, Inc. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/construction-equipment-market-to-cross-170bn-by-2024-global-market-insights-inc–842655930.html

3 Imagining construction’s digital future, McKinsey & Company https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/capital-projects-and-infrastructure/our-insights/imagining-constructions-digital-future