26 January 2017

BI4ALL @ Business – Internet of Things

Currently, many topics have been gaining further relevance in the CEO’s agenda, including the theme of the Internet of Things, a concept that has been brought and discussed by their most top leadership, and nowadays has also an increasingly relevance in the consumer space.

But what is the Internet of Things (IoT)? What is its purpose? What does it do? And how does bi4all positioning in face of this new concept? For many specialists, IoT consists on the evolution and transformation of Internet and technology as we know it today to an entirely new reality.

It is a technological concept, and we can even say that it is a way to communicate between devices that we use in our daily lives through the Internet, providing access to their information online, as well as creating the potential for interaction with those devices. As a result, we live in a world that is completely connected, where devices are interconnected, providing a basis for information exchange in real time about status, location, functionality, issues and that have as their main goal facilitate people’s daily lives and optimize of their daily routines.

In the last few years, we have witnessed the development of several electronic devices and gadgets, which were considered futuristic in the past, and now are currently mainstream, as for example, the smartphone. Although these devices have had a large and positive impact amongst consumers, the market is becoming crowded with new devices, from the new trend of wearables – smartwatches and bands, as well as smart appliances, amongst other. IoT allows all devices to be connected to a single network and, as a consequence, people can have access to their devices, being able to control them and monitor their operation even when they are not close to them.

Singling out a few examples… Do you remember the older pedometer? Those that had a small screen and could be used on a waistband? Well, those devices have evolved into what we know, currently, as the smart bands. With time and technological advances, the bands including all sorts of sensors, that can monitor the individual, from his heartbeat to body temperature and location, amongst an increasing number of functionalities.

This way, IoT has enabled the connection of all these devices to the Internet, so that users can share their data on a number of communities and also having as a goal to improve habits. But how can we change and improve upon old habits?!

In the case of Smart Bands, they tend to promote sports and physical exercise, given that if the user shares his information within a community where thousands of people also do it, he will be able to “compete” with them, always looking for his rank to improve within the community, and surpass his goals, acquire achievements and interact with other people.

Many companies start promoting this kind of competitions, yet it is within the field of insurance that more initiatives of this kind have gained traction. One example is the recent promotion by a worldwide company, among the several units of the group operating throughout the globe, of one activity in which the players of each team provided daily data from their smart bands to an internal platform. The company’s aim is to promote the team physical exercise, as well as team spirit, leveraging new technologies.

There are many devices today that have Internet connectivity, for example:

  • Environment and climate control sensors
  • Energy and lighting
  • Surveillance and access control
  • Monitoring

 

Additionally, home appliances are also becoming more intelligent. Developed from its inception to help families to achieve more efficient management and monitoring through connections to a smartphone, among other, in which it is now possible to control and interact with any device anywhere, from switching off the air conditioning, lights and check energy consumption, among many others.

However, IoT is not only focused on the domestic market, it also has had an impact on the enterprise space. In fact, long before the domestic market has been flooded with this kind of devices, big corporations were already fitted with devices that allowed them to monitor and control equipment through the Internet, so it became possible to prevent flaws and minimize costs.

It is fundamental to highlight that the development of IoT solutions will become increasingly more pervasive, since they are increasingly more easy to deploy, due the simpler integration between the technology platforms and the hardware which results in equipment and sensors increasingly cheaper.

How does BI4ALL position itself regarding IoT?

BI4ALL, in partnership with Microsoft, has developed a solution for the E-Health Conference, that took place last June in Porto. This solution, developed with PowerBI, has provided connectivity between Microsoft’s Smart Band and the patient monitoring in real time, providing the doctor an immediate information on his patient’s vital signals through an online dashboard.

 

In the development of this solution, BI4ALL's Software Engineering and Business Intelligence areas were involved, joining efforts to build a mobile application responsible for the interactivity with Microsoft’s Band and for providing the information that was stored on the PowerBI through Azure’s Stream Analytics.

According to a recent study from Gartner, at the end of 2016 the number of expected connected units was 6,8 billion worldwide, over 30% above the previous year. It is estimated that in 2020 the number of connected devices will reach 20 billion, which will represent an investment in end-point IoT devices of more than 3 billion euros in the consumer and enterprise space.

You can count on BI4ALL to be your partner for the digital transformation of your business.

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     Carlos Sereno
          Manager
Solutions Development
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