The IoT is truly transformational. It’s making homes, businesses and entire cities more efficient. It’s enabling new approaches to medicine, to agriculture, to transport, to entertainment. It’s making a difference to people all over the world.
But then, the IoT has been around for a while now. It’s become part of the public consciousness. It’s powering countless business start-ups and innovations every week. In today’s blog, we thought we’d take a look a little further back – and shine a light on some of the trailblazing businesses and projects that helped us get to where we are today.
John Deere is a name recognised by anyone in the agriculture industry (and many outside it). Its history goes back over 200 years, but that hasn’t stopped it being a resolutely future-gazing firm. It was one of the earliest in the sector to recognise the potential of the IoT for enabling truly smart approaches to agriculture, and ultimately to help feed the planet amidst a growing population and the challenges of climate change. As reported by the IoT Tech Expo, John Deere acquired NavCom Technology, a provider of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) technology, as part of a focus on prevision agriculture long before the concept of IoT went mainstream. Then, as reported in Light Reading, in 2017, John Deere paid $300 million for Blue River Technology, a specialist in artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks, 5G and the IoT.
John Deere has now enabled its planting units to monitor precisely where crops are planted – down to the level of individual seeds – as well as how much pressure is being placed on them. This information is transmitted directly to an iPad app, and enables farmers to not only manage their own land better, but also to share information with other organisations in the agricultural industry. This kind of collaborative information-sharing is key to building really successful IoT ecosystems.
As regular visitors to the Tern website will know, the Industrial IoT, or IIoT, is one of our specialist areas. There is an incredible breadth and depth of possibility within this market segment for the IoT to drive efficiencies and innovation – and Rockwell was one of the earliest pioneers of this.
Crucially, Rockwell understood from early on the importance of developing a partner ecosystem for the IoT to truly fulfil its potential. As reported by Maciej Kranz, Vice President, Strategic Innovation at Cisco, Rockwell’s CTO spent several years helping Cisco to develop its first IoT product – a ruggedized Ethernet switch – for the manufacturing market. This collaborative, partnership-focused approach has had a powerful impact across all areas of the IIoT industry, and the broader IoT industry, and is part of what is making the IoT so transformative.
Retail banking has had something of a mountain to climb when it comes to positioning businesses as customer-centric in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. The IoT might not necessarily be seen as key to delivering this change. And yet US Bank, based in Minnesota, paved the way for exciting developments in this sector by applying cutting-edge IoT technology to its conventional services. With over $1 billion invested annually in technology, the bank is trialling mechanisms such as giving customers access to their accounts through Amazon Alexa, and testing beaconing technology. Even more excitingly, it is researching a geolocation programme which will track customers’ locations through their mobile phones and therefore deliver a seamless service when they travel abroad.
These are just three examples of customers which are paving the way for truly exciting and industry-shifting applications of IoT technology. They underline how the IoT is driving genuine change across multiple sectors, all over the world – and ultimately making businesses smarter, more efficient and more customer-centric.