4 Unusual IoT Devices That Are Changing Industries

February 5, 2018

It’s easy to imagine the Internet of Things in a setting such as manufacturing or logistics, but what about in your local bar or your kid’s diaper?

Theoretically, there’s nothing that can’t be connected to IoT and smart devices are showing up in new places every day. Here are four applications of connectivity technology that are starting to change things:

Smart Beer Taps

If you’ve ever worked in a bar, you know that draft beer can be a lot of trouble, especially when the bar is busy and you suddenly have to change a keg. If you’ve ever managed a bar, you know that it’s hard to keep track of exactly how much draft beer you’re selling, with spoilage, leaks and spills eating into your bottom line.

It’s actually a classic digital transformation problem and an obvious area for IoT. Bar managers could do a better job if they had more information about their beer taps, so there is a demand for someone to build smart beer taps that can provide that data, as well as pouring the perfect glass of beer. Several systems are competing to be the industry standard but all are based around the same idea: sensors in the tap and on the barrel that push data to the cloud, which bar owners can access from a dashboard, allowing them to manage every drop.

Connected Diapers

Why would you need smart diapers when you can just give your baby the sniff test? Well, parents aren’t the only ones who have to worry about diapers. Providers of childcare and adult care have a lot of trouble ensuring that everyone in their care has a clean diaper, thereby avoiding discomfort and rashes.

Building a smart diaper is easy, as it just requires an IoT sensor that can detect moisture. The challenge is to build something that’s small enough to not cause discomfort and cheap enough to manufacture that it doesn’t push up the unit price of a diaper. Several companies offer a reusable monitor that can be placed on each diaper, but one company has recently announced a disposable adult smart diaper for under $1.00 per unit.

Electronic Birth Partners (For Cows)

Cattle farming is being transformed by IoT, with a range of smart devices that provide vital information about each individual animal. From health statistics to GPS location, information about each cow can be passed over 3G to the farmer, who is empowered like never before to take care of the entire herd.

One device with a very specific purpose is the Moocall. This is designed to be worn by pregnant cows, and it can detect when the cow is about to go into labor. When triggered, Moocall sends an SMS alert, allowing someone to assist in the birth and ensure safe delivery of the calves.

Talking Trash Cans

Waste management is a hugely expensive business in most cities. Anything that can help lower costs is generally welcomed with open arms by city leaders, which is why several towns have begun to invest in IoT trash receptacles.

The individual devices are quite simple. They relay messages back to HQ when they are full. Special collections can be arranged when a receptacle is full, but the real value is in analytics. By tracking data from each collection point, organizers can plan the most efficient collection routes, ensuring the best overall service with the least expenditure. This kind of efficiency is one of the key reasons IoT has been adopted in so many industries.

It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, whether it’s childcare or construction, manufacturing or managing trash collections. If you don’t have data, you can’t do your job. That’s why the uptake for IoT has been so strong in recent years — because it empowers people to be efficient in ways they never could before.