The world as we know is changing. This is not the first time it happens. Think of the steam engine, conveyor belt and the first revolution of IT and automation technology.
Today, the fourth industrial revolution is taking hold with the Internet of Things (IoT). Vehicles, devices and even buildings, are being embedded with electronics, sensors, and network connections. This allows inanimate objects to exchange and collect data. The physical world is becoming an information system, linked by hardwired and wireless networks.
Fridges re-stock themselves, cars, like Tesla, drive themselves, workplace temperatures are optimized, vacuums automatically clean after a certain number of people enter our homes. Our world, our environment, is getting smarter. For innovators, this revolution presents an excellent business opportunity, in the form of start-up companies. From creating new products and services, to helping other companies manage their IoT products, the possibilities are essentially endless. The market is broad and many start-ups are taking the opportunity to dive in, now.
Starting up In the IOT
In the medical industry, the IoT will change the way doctors treat their patients. From wearables that transmit blood pressure information, to blood sugar test kits that send the results directly to your doctor. One start-up, AdhereTech, has found a way to ensure patients take their medication correctly. The company has developed a high-tech pill bottle which reminds patients to take their prescription medication on time. The bottle sends phone calls and text messages to the patient’s phone, and also has its own chimes and lights.
The smart pill bottle, with its inbuilt sensors, is smart enough to detect when a pill has been removed from the container. This technology has a lot of potential – preventing overdoses and even adjusting your dosage based on exercise and food intake. Another medtech (e-Health) related start-up, Mirametrix, started out with a technology that was not exactly medical at all. The company’s eye gaze technology, the S2 Eye Tracker, has been used in medical research to assess how autistic children react in various social situations. While perhaps not originally intended for this purpose, the data that can be collected with the S2 Eye Tracker can help doctors and researchers better diagnose and treat autistic patients. With the innovation created during this fourth industrial revolution, the medical market will change and evolve into something that we have never seen before, which could make us all a little healthier.
Fitness wearables have become very trendy, with companies such as Fitbit and JawBone doing very well in the market. These wristbands count steps, heart rate and some even track your weight and body fat percentage. But, what if there was a way you could improve your training in real-time? Sensoria has developed exactly this, in a sock. Yes, in a sock. Their sock has inbuilt sensor that helps runners perfect their technique, resulting in more efficient training sessions. Foot placement and cadence can all be adjusted in real time as the sensors in the sock relay information to the app, which speaks to you as you run. Users can then track their progress via the app, as well as on their laptop or tablet. The Sensoria team has also developed other clothing-related connected devices (IoT Clothing) such as sports bras and tops that monitor your heart rate. The potential for fitness wearables is almost endless, and it is evident that these technologies will have other applications in the medical world as well – think blood pressure monitoring without clunky hardware and posture sensing for those with chronic back pain. Other start-ups have focused on facilitating the IoT world to other companies with IoT products.
Every revolution has its own set of challenges. During the industrial revolution, some of the challenges included low safety, pollution, deafening sound, overpopulation of cities, low quality sanitation systems or high rates of disease and child labor. The Internet of Things (IoT) has its own set of challenges.
Adoption of the IoT is going to take some time. It will require organizations to revamp the way they are currently operating. Organization design will need to be altered, and industry specific systems will need to be implemented.
Precision is highly important as we begin to let “things” operate on their own. For instance, manufacturing machines and equipment could fail if the timing is only slightly off, and, if not timed correctly, could jeopardize the business itself.
Security is evidently a huge concern surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT). How will companies ensure their data is protected and safe? With everything in the “cloud” and things frequently communicating with each other and the enterprise, it is quite difficult to make sure all of these connections are secure. Without this, damage to the company’s network and confidential information is inevitable. Furthermore, and even though this does not seem to be a huge concern for the industrial B2B Internet of Things (IoT), the lines can sometimes be blurred when it comes to privacy. Can we share any kind of data? New legislation and policies regarding privacy will most likely need to be implemented as the Internet of Things (IoT) grows.
An Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) Expert Supporting Your Project
Further to the challenges of the Internet of Things (IoT) itself, let’s take a look at the challenges of the devices manufacturers or tomorrow: the start-ups. A challenge many start-ups encounter in this new world is where to start.
Many start-ups have great ideas for Internet of Things IoT-related products, but don’t necessarily have the technical knowledge to design their own product. Teaming up with an Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) company that is also expert in Electronics design, can definitely make a difference. Asteelflash can accompany start-ups in their IoT projects and provide support and expertise in regards to product design, prototyping, and transition to mass production. Offering the full solution to start-up companies beginning their journey in the IoT space, we take all the hard yards out of getting your product to market. By pairing with an experienced team in technology design and manufacturing, start-ups can get their product out quicker, without having to source all the parts themselves thus leading to a design that is viable in the IoT market. Asteelflash recently won three places in the Global Top 50 Electronic Manufacturing Services providers worldwide due to strong results with IoT related devices.
By 2020, there will be over 50 billion “things” connected, making up around 13 quadrillion connections. These connections will produce over $8.9 trillion in global revenue. Ten years ago, these numbers would have been considered crazy. The Internet of Things (IoT) presents some fantastic opportunities for newcomers and innovators, if they are prepared to face the challenges that accompany this tech revolution. There is no doubt the internet of things will be huge, and with so many driving factors, such as the aging workforce, marketing automation and universal networks, the Jetsons’ Age is bound to arrive very soon.
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