Last July 25, was held the Deciphering IoT event in San Francisco at Intercontinental Hotel and we were present at the event.

Internet of Things is one of the most highlighted growth areas by all IT analysts. In fact, any significant business forecast for the next years includes IoT, in one form or another.

The IoT Deciphering event explored how the Internet of Things has become the driving force behind improving efficiency, generating revenue opportunities and solving business problems in various industries and all functional business areas. Also, it was important for Konker to strengthen its network of partners and to be increasingly present in the global IoT ecosystem. During the event, relevant topics such as Value Creation in IOT using Augmented Reality, Security, and Monetization Models were discussed.

Our Head of Product & Marketing, Rafael Ferraz, highlighted the life cycle of an IoT project, as one of the principal themes of the event. “Developing applications and devices for IoT have unique challenges. Before starting an IoT project, companies must plan the entire lifecycle, from design to end of life.” Comment Rafael Ferraz.

During this panel, the companies discussed the entire IoT project life cycle: building, testing, implementing and managing IoT applications, and shared tips to streamline and accelerate the development process. “Understanding the challenges you can face at each stage of the life cycle and how to address them is critical to a successful IoT project,” appends Rafael Ferraz.

Internet of Things World 2017, held at the Santa Clara Convention Center,  in the heart of Silicon Valley between the 13th and 17th of May, brought together hundreds of companies and leaders in the IoT space. With a new look for 2017, were 3 days of learning, discovery, partying and networking of course. Also were at the event 150+ startups and 250+ exhibitors. Of course, that the Konker returned from this the event and we highlights here in our blog the 8 Takeaways discussed from the event.
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An article published recently in the IoT News highlighted the main advantages for small and medium businesses with the use of connected devices and they are not few. For example, the massification of smartphones and smartwatches. These devices generate and store data of multiple specialties and can influence even business operations.

The cloud-based software solutions can be a great fit for small business owners, such as cut infrastructure costs significantly, improve workflow and provide a more secure method for managing data on through mobile devices. Another suggestion is not afraid to use automation and artificial intelligence, a tool that can save valuable time before utilized on small tasks. The customer service, for example, is an area that can be highly improved, using chatbots. In this scenario, the customer can be answered more quickly and the conversation logs remain and can be used as a reference for the business in the future.

However, it’s important that the IoT solution works integrated with the technologies already used in your daily. An integrated software gives small and medium-sized business owners a much more comprehensive and intelligent view of the business, also improving communication with employees, customers, and suppliers.

Click here and discover how the Konker Platform can improve your business.

It is no surprise that new machine learning technologies and the power to analyze large amounts of data have created unique opportunities in the e-commerce industry. Thanks to data-driven enhancements for ads, upselling, and cross-selling, online shoppers are able to get “what they want, when they want”.

Such transformation had a direct impact on business efficiency, driving more sales and improving customer satisfaction. But it also widened the gap between physical and online businesses.

However, using the Internet of Things (IoT) can help narrow this gap and overcome other challenges. Thanks to mobile applications, microprocessors, and ubiquitous connectivity on the Internet, smart devices can be deployed everywhere, on everything from point-of-sale systems to stock control, distribution and even apparel. New technologies allow retailers to collect and analyze data, so they can interact with each customer in an original and personalized way, like never before. Although the market currently offers many products and services to this end, few are actually being applied in practice.

In this article, I want to address just a few benefits of the Internet of Things for efficiency in retail operation.

1.Supply chain management and inventory

Inventory management problems represent some of the biggest expenses and losses in retail stores. According to a McKinsey report, overstock, stock-outs and shrinkage generate an annual cost of US$ 1.1 trillion for retailers around the world. In the US alone, shrinkage annually causes a loss of US$ 42 billion, equivalent to 1.5% of total retail sales.

With IoT technologies, retailers may not only improve inventory control within the store, but also expand it into the supply chain. Tracking of goods no longer begins at the receiving dock but at the point of manufacture.

2.Improvement in the supply chain

With RFID tags placed on the products, for example, and with the data integrated into the sensors in the transport vehicles, it is possible to track the purchased products and their conditions throughout the supply chain. Information collected from devices can be analyzed and rules-based notifications and alerts can be sent to mobile applications, for example, informing employees or team members that an action is required.

Improvement in this control allows suppliers to reduce product damage all the way to points of sale, distribution or delivery. This is especially useful in transporting perishable and temperature sensitive stock, for example.

3.Improving in-store inventory tracking

Another major problem faced in retailing is the difficulty of conducting accurate inventory tracking. With this, store shelves are not restocked in time; items are moved from shelves; customers and employees are unable to locate items they are looking for. The results are higher inventory costs, loss in employee productivity, potentially empty shelves, and lost sales opportunities.

IoT technologies can help address these issues by giving more visibility to the placement of inventory items and improving controls. By deploying an inventory management system based on RFID chips, sensors and beacons, for example, physical resources can be synchronized directly with your back office systems. Additional technologies such as store shelf sensors, digital price tags, smart monitors, and high-resolution cameras combined with imaging analysis features can help improve retailer control of goods located on shelves and in back storage.

4.Reducing shrinkage and fraud

Shrinkage and fraud are other challenges that are always present in retail, whether by customers or employees. IoT can help contain theft of items by adding a layer of visibility and traceability to inventory items. Whether with RFIDs and camera feeds combined machine learning can allow a clearer view of what happens in the store, and detect suspicious movements, for example.

5.Optimization in the distribution and replacement of products in the store

Understanding how customers “navigate” the store’s aisles, shelves, and islands is valuable information. Prior to IoT technologies, this was done through human observation, assumptions, random experimentation and manual sales correlation.

Today, through data collected from chips, motion detection sensors, beacons or video analysis for example, it is possible to collect more accurate data from customer movement patterns and identify areas of “premium” traffic. Changes to store layouts can be automatically correlated with changes in customer behavior and sales numbers in order to perform more accurate A/B tests, which was only possible in online retail.

 

Being assertive in identifying the needs of each customer at the right time is an important factor in closing sales. This can improve conversion rates. The problem is that in many cases, in addition to the lack of employees to assist so many customers at the same time, the presence of a salesperson can be misinterpreted and considered offensive by customers.

IoT can help you address this problem. Motion detection sensors, cameras, and facial expression recognition algorithms can help identify customers who have been standing for a long time in one location, indicating they may have some kind of doubt. The IoT ecosystem can then notify a sales employee who is closest to you through an application or smartwatch, for example.

These are just a few examples of the adoption of IoT solutions to maximize retail operational efficiency. We will detail here in our blog examples of solutions to each of the challenge addressed in this article.

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The Mobile World Congress 2017 was a success, as always. Of course the Internet of Things theme was present and many cases of real use of IoT were discussed. I share here with you 3 trends that I thought relevant this year.

1. IoT Security

Security remains a priority when it comes to IoT, especially with recent IoT DDoS attacks and other high-level violations. A great panel titled “Enabling Security in IoT,” organized by Stuart Carlaw from ABI Research, focused on helping the public understand the full IOT security scenario and what needs to be done to ensure security in their IoT services . If you’d like, take a look at another IoT security article on our blog clicking here.

2. 5G

The industry has been talking about 5G for some time now, and discussions have continued to gain momentum this year with service providers focused on announcing significant advances to 5G and in how they come together to work on 5G standardization. The highlight was for Korea Telecom which has announced that it intends to be the first commercially available 5G network in 2019.

3. Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs)

LPWAN technologies like LoRa and Sigfox, without licensing, have been featured in past editions of the MWC. This year the main focus was on licensed technologies, particularly NB-IoT. Highlight for the 3GPP that completed its NB-IoT standardization, and a large number of service providers announced that they intend to support NB-IoT.

LTE-M had a lot of prominence as well, with dozens of service providers announcing their LTE-M availability. Telefonica and Verizon, for example, have confirmed their support for the global deployment of LTE-M.

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Defined as a pioneer of a brand new technological world, now leaded by the IoT, the smart tags already have changed the meaning of the word “efficiency” in business. Even if at first sight this technology has similar functions to the bar code, in fact it has represented a bolder step in improving the corporative efficiency and the time to market for solutions in the logistic, retail and industrial segments.

Developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers, the smart tags have emerged to facilitate the management and handling of goods in deposits and supermarkets, and to reduce obstacles in the tracking process. However, that was just the first of the benefits obtained with the investment in that technology.

The industry then also saw the advantages of the smart tags and the Radio Frequency Identification (RFId) technology. Some of the results using these tools were an increased quality in the generated data, from the first steps in manufacturing to distribution to the final customer, and the time saving with automated processes.

There are many reasons to deploy these smart tags in a business: a faster management of goods and supplies, a higher degree of precision on data gathering and the prevention of losses, frauds and thefts during transport processes. These are essential factors for the increase in production and competitiveness, providing this way a much more reduced time to the market.

How does a smart tag works?
The core structure of a smart tag is composed of three components: antenna, transceiver, and transponder. The antenna is responsible for the communication between the smart tag and the operational system, through the RFId. They are produced in multiple formats and provide different frequencies, which varies according to the demand and to the costs of each solution. The transceiver performs the data decryption; the transponder is the component dedicated to data storage.

Today, the Internet of Things has a key role in the evolution of that technology. Chips, sensors, and software development kits (SDKs) of the IoT incorporated devices have been well succeeded in creating connected solutions – which provide real-time connectivity. Near Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and the QR Code are good examples of the rapid progress of that technology, transforming the concept and the structure of a smart tag.

Click here and discover how the smart tags and the connected solutions can improve your business.

Smart cities are becoming a reality nowadays, and the Internet of Things represents a huge part of that evolution. Today we will talk more about some of the best connected solutions that are already changing our lives. If you have not read the first part, check it out here!

Smart lighting
Due to a growing demand, the electricity is becoming a very expensive resource. All kinds of waste, especially in the context of big cities, generate huge expenses. Because the weather is dynamic, especially in cities with large temperature range, artificial lighting may be required sooner or later.

Through light sensors, today the technology is capable of adapting the lighting in a city by its degree of luminosity, but also to predict more specific demands, accordingly to the weather forecasting. This is already a present reality not only in cities, but also in companies and residences.

Air pollution
CO2 emissions are recurrent topics in any political agenda. The Internet of Things, as an efficiency and cost saving tool, can help not only to identify, but also to reduce these indexes.

Tools and devices linked to the IoT can promote the reduction of fuel combustion and a better use of energy resources. Actually, all the consumption chain can be optimized. With more efficiency obtained, for example, in the transportation of goods and precision farming, is not just the decrease in CO2 that is at stake, but also the increase in profit of companies.

Water Leakages
Electricity is essential to any society. However, drinking water is even more essential in big urban centers. This natural resource is becoming increasingly scarce, and politicians and public managers know how much it costs to collect or produce that good. It turns out that the water fit for use is often wasted even before reaching its final destination.

Poor infrastructure gives rise to water leakages. However, the IoT technology is capable of alerting potential problems and defects before they happen, also showing where repairs are necessary. Data-gathering devices, such as sensors, for instance, can detect an abnormal presence of liquids outside tanks or water pressure variations along water pipes.

This is just the beginning of a smart revolution. With connected solutions, the IoT will help cities and companies to become ready for that new world.

After the first wave of innovation, the Internet of Things is today a more “mature” technology. And the good news about the current stage of the development of connected solutions is how real and viable are now becoming the execution of all these ideas.

Never before the world of the future has been so close to become a reality. Proof of this is everywhere nowadays, with the rise of Smart Cities. In the first part of this article, we are going to discuss some of the best solutions in the IoT that are already on the streets.

Smart parking
Besides the presence detection sensors, which are capable of showing drivers vacant parking spots through light signals, today the IoT technology provides precise information about the space usage, showing the busy and the idle areas in the parking lots.

Based on this scenario, it is possible to produce solutions and generate more efficiency with the usage of certain areas dedicated to vehicles, reducing the idleness of these spots regularly empties, reclaiming it to other applications.

Urban mobility
When we talk about infrastructure planning, one of the biggest challenges of developing cities is the transformation of the urban flows. The top down model of public policy development has divided the structure of cities into residential, industrial and commercial areas. Those divisions ended up suffocating certain districts, affecting the urban mobility in large cities.

Modern concepts lead to another way of thinking – such as the bottom up. It is essential to have as many information of quality as possible before starting to invest in public policies. In this regard, the IoT offers connected solutions for dynamic environments, providing more accurate analysis for policy making.

Smart Roads
Today some GPS applications are capable to provide information to drivers almost in real time. The same is being made with some roads and highways. When using devices related to the IoT solutions, these roads are able to alert drivers about weather changes, traffic jams and dangerous conditions, in a simple and fast way. This can prevent crashes and save lives.

Found it interesting? It’s not over yet. Read more about the best Smart Cities solutions here. Konker produces connected solutions in the IoT for the Industry, Retail, Agriculture and Logistics segments.