Pitney Bowes and the Industrial Internet of Things

The manufacturing and industrial internet of things are driving results, embedding location intelligence to accurately pinpoint information and spur action.

Wed Sep 16 13:05:00 EDT 2015

The Internet of Things (IoT) is creating huge buzz because, as individuals, we are part of it. We carry mobile devices that include sensors such as accelerometers and GPS receivers. In addition, the projected number of connected devices is staggering. In 2015, Business Insider predicts that there will be 4,800 connected endpoints added every minute, growing to 7,900 by 2020. This explosive growth is expected to yield 29.5 billion connected devices by 2020. But it is the manufacturing and industrial sectors that are already seeing results with the added twist of embedding location intelligence to more accurately pinpoint information and spur action.

The industrial internet, the "big iron" backbone of the IoT, intersects with location-based technology in the capture and analysis of sensor data. Today, sensors are used to monitor the built environment, such as buildings, manufacturing facilities, streets, homes and many other assets, for energy efficiency and operation. These sensors can transmit their location and, as such, the data collected by them can be visualized and thematically analyzed using Pitney Bowes' Location Intelligence solutions. Location technology underpins today's sensor web because every data point and mobile transaction happens somewhere.

The sensor web is the connective tissue of the IoT, where devices continually broadcast data to still other monitoring devices such that real-time information can trigger tasks and actions. Cities stand to benefit enormously from IoT, where IDC estimates that IoT deployments will create $421 billion in economic value by 2019, including revenue from IoT device installations as well as cost savings and efficiency derived from city services.

Mapping of sensor data can reveal proximity relationships that expose macro-scale patterns such as "heat islands" in cities where energy consumption may be expected to be high. City engineers can use traffic flow patterns from both embedded sensors and social media to control traffic signals to reduce congestion during peak travel times. Fleet managers use telematics data to predict the need for servicing (e.g. downtime) of long-haul and delivery trucks based upon their travel patterns. Travel time and fuel costs can be reduced and safety improved.

In factories, power plants and other industrial operations, real-time monitoring of sensors will yield feedback to control operators where the visualization of location-based information offers a unique perspective.  Whether it is the ability to monitor the location of train locomotives long-haul trucking or local transit buses, fleet operations will benefit from knowing where sensors are providing feedback for corrective action such as preventative maintenance. Here, precision geocoding of data and a better understanding of the impacts to surrounding infrastructure, commercial business and citizens will ultimately provide key inputs for improving public safety.

In all, according to IDC, the "IoT market will expand from $780 billion this year (2015) to $1.68 trillion in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 16.9 percent.  Sensors/modules and connectivity account for more than 50 percent of spending on IoT, followed by IT services at more than 25 percent and software at 15 percent."

Building sensors are also finding a home in the retail sector where a retail store's footfall traffic captured by indoor beacons can yield buying patterns of the most loyal customers. Retailers are looking to more accurately predict sales, thus enabling better merchandising and ultimately making logistics more efficient by getting products to market faster. Beacons using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology as well as advances in LED lighting that use a smartphones camera can provide this kind of accurate indoor positioning that alerts the consumer to nearby commodities and promotions.

The opportunity in the industrial internet is also a big data challenge. The volume and velocity of real-time data streams demand partners like GE and the Predix platform to be able to support customer demands. Pitney Bowes' (PB) location intelligence technology and global data portfolio offer analytics, visualization and data fusion capabilities.

Pitney Bowes’s Spectrum Spatial for Business Intelligence module can integrate with the leading BI software solutions to adding location analytics that extracts the underlying geospatial relationships. And, PB’s precision geocoding technology offers global address validation and positioning that provides the foundation for customer information files and leads to better data quality. Together, PB and GE deliver solutions needed to address the coming wave of sensor-based data from the Industrial Internet.