Internet of Things: Knowing Where Everything Is

Case study
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by Alexis Leibbrandt

The promise of IoT (Internet of Things) is known by many these days, quite simply: adding connectivity to everyday devices. You have most likely heard about the advent of 5G, the fifth generation of cellular network technology, and how that is going to actually connect them all. This provides companies with a lot of new options for tracking vehicles and goods. We hereby offer a number of interesting use cases.

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Photo © Akenza

Indoor tracking: available rooms, optimal routes

Let us first get one thing out of the way: while there are a lot of good reasons to track individual employees at a company, it is important that they are aware of why the company is doing it. Not because you need to know where they are, but because you want to be able to offer them advantages. In the case of an office building, people would know which office desks are occupied or which meeting rooms are still available. In the case of a warehouse, one could track their order picking routes and tell them which is the most optimal.

Adding connected sensors to desks or the trolleys of your employees, instead of the actual person, is a good way to make sure your employees do not feel as if you are checking their every move. People flow tracking is a good example: using cameras, you can register the number of people entering or leaving a building. That way, you have some sense of where movements happen, without infringing the personal privacy of an employee. This information can come in handy in multiple different scenarios. Think, for example, about people flow in a company cafeteria. When there are sensors providing information about queue length, dwell time, waiting time, you can adjust lanes and add, take away or move registers when needed. And the same goes for the check-in desks at an airport terminal:

with information about desk and lane activity and passenger throughput, you will know which lines to shorten or extend, and which desks to open or close to ensure minimum waiting times.

Outdoor tracking: real-time location, information about delays

But tracking does not have to stop at the door, or with people. Although shipping companies have been offering track and trace on their shipments for years, thanks to IoT they are now able to offer it in a way that is not only finer grained, but also shows the location in real-time. If, for example, a package arrives on its destination damaged (or sometimes not at all), the company that shipped it can find out when and where it happened. Which means they will also know who is responsible if something happens. Or, when something is stolen, you will be able to provide tracking information to the police and help to either recover the assets or gather evidence for prosecution. Because all parties are aware of this, a much higher level of quality control is ensured.

Outdoor tracking is also interesting for public transport companies, who will be able to check where their vehicles are at any given moment and let travelers know the number of minutes a bus or train is going to be late. And what about the police, military or fire brigade: they will know the exact location of their vehicles and equipment, which can be very useful in the event of a disaster.

Other use cases

The great thing about the Internet of Things is that it democratizes technology: it is easy to use and not at all expensive. As a result, precise, smart GPS tracking is available to everyone, both individual users and companies. The number of use cases is limitless. But whatever the application, the most important thing is that all sensors are connected using a scalable, future-proof platform. Do you want to know more? Please get in touch with us. Our experts are happy to explain how you can use the Akenza Core for your specific application.

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Example of a office occupancy sensor system from Akenza