“For me, the Internet of Things is a very clear concept, with far stretching and huge impact on our lives. This should probably come as no surprise, as my official title is that of Chief Internet of Things Officer at a SAAS-company called FacilityApps. At FacilityApps, we digitize the work process. Digitizing the physical world through use of IoT is a natural input to the work process for us.
Internet of Things in Facility Management and Cleaning Services
However, speaking to facility managers and management of logistics and production companies, I have come to realise there is a knowledge gap about the internet of things. The future is already here, but it’s uneven distributed, as William Gibson said.
So I thought to write down what I see as the Internet of Things in my own words.
A good way to think about the internet of things is to break it down into 4 levels:
Internet of things hardware are sensors attached to physical objects, that generate information that they can pass to the internet. Sensor could measure temperature, humidity, the level in a container, air quality or whatever.
To send information to the internet, the hardware needs to be ‘connected’. This connection ideally is done wireless and with low energy usage, so the hardware can be installed easily and can operate for a long time on a single battery.
Gathering a lot of data (information) has no use in itself. The analogy is the 1000’s of photo’s we all have stored on our computers, that we never look at. The value in having a lot of data is that we can analyse it: to try and distill correlations or rules. Once we can do this, we can start predicting outcomes, and optimise accordingly.
When we have started measuring the physical world, have gathered the information and have analysed it, we’ve prepared to predict and optimise our work. However, who is going to action on the newfound insight? How is this action enforced or dealt with? This last step is critical in true, functional Internet of things.
Want to start experience Internet of Things?
My advice would be to never start an IoT pilot without first thinking about the actioning platform or routine. Measurable action is key. Do not fall for ‘build it, and they will come’, but rather for ‘measure it, and make sure it gets done’.
Sensors in bins
As a practical example take our Binster©. The Binster© is a sensor that measures the filling rate of a waste bin. It is small, wireless, has 5 years battery life and is very affordable. Over a public or private Lorawan network, it send measurements to our cloud platform.
From here we make the information available in a customised webpage for a client, who can see real time filling levels of all their waste bins, but can also analyse usage over time, and create an optimised emptying route.
The route can be assigned to a specific employee, who’s task can be marked completed in the same app, and be made available for inspection. Point to point, the whole process, measurable, documented, optimised and executed.