While many technological innovations have reshaped the way we work, few have made such a profound impact across countless industries than the Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT refers to the network of equipment and tools embedded with sensors, GPS and other technologies. This ranges from motorised assets like trucks and vehicles, through to trailers, yellow iron, machinery and plant equipment like lighting towers and scissor lifts, even assets that are unpowered can be powered by IoT.
The data collected from each asset is shared and viewable online, enabling businesses to have a comprehensive view of their tools and how they’re being utilised without the need for physical inspections.
This technology is not just transforming our lives or the way we do business, but it allows us to harness and interpret huge quantities of data in ways that facilitate dramatic improvements in efficiency, reliability, and customer service.
However, IoT is just one aspect of a wider digital transformation we’re witnessing across various industries including local government, construction, transport and mining. Telematics enables businesses to monitor how vehicles are being used, and the integration of IoT within these systems enhances how your business technologies operate.
But what exactly is the relationship between these technologies and IoT? And how do they fit practically into the development of the IoT?
What is the relationship between telematics and the Internet of Things?
Telematics and IoT are changing the face of fleet management across multiple industries. Since its inception, telematics has come to be embraced by various sectors, providing managers and operators with detailed insights into the way their workers, vehicles and assets perform.
Telematics enables staff to re-route vehicles in real-time by sending them along the quickest route possible, leading to more reliable, quicker deliveries and boosted customer service. Telematics has also helped simplify vehicle maintenance to maximise uptime, while GPS tracking allows fleet managers to view deliveries making their way to customers.
Working in tandem with IoT, telematics enables the development of new digital supply chains, closer interconnection and co-ordination between different sectors, and the potential for enhanced efficiency.
What can the Internet of Things do?
IoT already has a more extensive reach than you might realise. Driven largely by increased demand for analytics across all industries, Australia’s IoT market is set to cross $25B by 2024. It’s also anticipated that by next year, there’ll be more than 47 million smart devices across all Australian homes. It’s these connected devices that enable IoT to gather the data needed to build visions such as the smart city, a concept that is becoming closer to reality every year.
IoT allows a huge range of devices – everything from vehicles and industrial machinery to domestic appliances - to link up, exchange data and provide insights that can create data-driven cities. As we create more and more data, innovations like 5G will enable ultra-reliable, low-latency communication between devices. 5G will enable real-time optimisation of information across devices, empowering businesses to act on greater amounts of untapped data.
As urban populations around the world continue to grow rapidly, understanding how people move and interact is crucial to building new infrastructures that sustain and improve quality of life while meeting the needs of the wider community.
What is the future potential of IoT?
The City of Whittlesea in Victoria developed and implemented a LoRaWAN IoT-based network at the start of this year, enabling sensors to collect data on population, air quality, water levels, waste management collection and tracking assets.
The applications for 5G-enabled IoT for smart cities are far reaching. The data collected from devices can help to enhance emergency response times to provide a better quality of life for the community. IoT data can also be harnessed to analyse traffic patterns and create more effective traffic patterns to improve congestion on roads.
Many modern vehicles are already collecting large amounts of data. With the low latency afforded by 5G networks, smart cars will soon be able to communicate directly with each other. This is particularly important for autonomous vehicles – as the car connects to data from more devices, it’ll be able to create a greater picture of potential obstacles and see around corners for a smoother experience.
IoT could also help businesses gain a better understanding of their data, and to put it to new uses. Data gathered by advanced systems will produce more precise diagnoses of mechanical issues with vehicles, and use machine learning to develop more efficient vehicle maintenance processes.
Coupling telematics with sensors and other artificial intelligence technologies could also rapidly expand technological capacities, potentially delivering a wide range of benefits to fleets and their customers.
Over the coming years, IoT will continue to develop into an extensive network encompassing vehicles, home appliances, personal gadgets, smart sensors and other technologies. Machine learning will allow these technologies to become more autonomous, interpreting use patterns and habits, and reducing the need for active user input.
More agile firms are already integrating IoT into their business strategies, and in doing so have gained a competitive edge which could prove crucial. Those businesses which are slow to adopt IoT technologies run the risk of falling behind their rivals. The IoT revolution is already here – there is no time to waste.