How will the business environment change when things become connected? How will it change in the future? I think that you can make a strategy by knowing this time. We would like to introduce the articles published by Softbank.
The introduction of IoT has progressed in various fields, and IoT has become a familiar term. Even if you are in contact with things connected to the network, you can explain concretely what kind of concept IoT is, how it works, what kind of data is acquired, and what will change with IoT. I think there are many things you can't do. If you do not understand specific examples and mechanisms of using IoT, you will not be able to use it effectively. This time, I will introduce the basic concept of IoT and what can be done and what can be changed. Let's check the points of introduction and precautions when introducing while looking at the introduction examples.
What is IoT?
The IoT (Internet of Things) is called the "Internet of Things," and refers to a mechanism for acquiring data from things and remotely controlling things themselves by incorporating information transmission functions into things and connecting them via the Internet.
Background of popularization
The IoT has evolved due to the spread of wireless communication technology. It sounds like a concept that was born in recent years, but the term IoT first appeared in 1999. That year, Auto-ID Labs, founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, developed an automatic wireless identification system and was conducting research toward its practical application.
The word IoT is said to have been coined by Kevin Ashton, one of the co-founders of the institute.
However, the idea of connecting things has existed for a long time. The concept of "ubiquitous computing" announced in the United States in 1988 is said to be one of them.
Among the various concepts that have emerged, the wireless automatic identification system that was being researched at Auto-ID Labs is said to be one of the earliest major IoT technologies.
However, it took some time for the IoT to become widespread. It wasn't until the late 2010s, more than a decade later, that the IoT became generally recognized. Behind this was the development of technology to popularize the IoT.
2010 is also the time when many people started using smartphones. It was around this time that Softbank released the iPhone 4, following the iPhone 3G in 2008, and the spread of smartphones exploded. And IT companies have begun to utilize IoT as a style they are aiming for in the future.
In addition, with the entry of smartphones into the IT industry, the unit price of sensors, which are indispensable for data acquisition, has fallen, making it easier to install in various products.
With the evolution of these technologies and the resulting reduction in equipment costs, the IoT has begun to spread at an accelerating pace.
What can we do with the introduction of the IoT?
Can be operated from a remote location
For example, you can remotely control things in remote locations by operating the remote control, such as moving or stopping them. There are lighting equipment and air conditioners in our immediate surroundings. For example, you can turn on the lights in the entrance or room from outside so that you do not realize that you are away from home for the purpose of crime prevention. In addition, by operating the air conditioner, you can turn on the air conditioner before returning home to make the room temperature comfortable, or you can turn off the air conditioner that you forgot to turn off and went out.
These features are also used in factories, schools and hospitals.
You can know the condition from a remote place
By utilizing IoT, even if there are no people on the spot, it is possible to know the state of the work site etc. from the data transmitted by IoT from a remote location. For example, it is used in unmanned factories, nursing care facilities, and farms.
Use in unmanned factories
You can know whether the machine is operating normally, such as when the machine is operated unattended on holidays or at night.
In addition, when abnormal operation of a machine or manufacturing line is detected, information is sent to the registered place (person), and the machine or line can be stopped remotely.
In addition, you can identify and notify signs of anomalies before they occur. This function makes it possible to prevent loss due to an emergency stop of the line.
In addition to the remaining amount of spare parts, you can also manage and notify the timing of ordering. The staff will check the inventory and replenishment time of parts each time, and the machine will automatically detect and even respond without ordering or replenishing work.
Use in long-term care facilities
By attaching a sensor to the legs of the bed used by the resident, it is possible to detect the resident's leaving the bed and notify the care worker. For example, when dealing with dementia residents, it is necessary to keep track of the behavior of residents who are developing peripheral symptoms such as wandering, especially when they are out of bed, even if the caregiver is not on their side. there is. By utilizing IoT, it is possible to provide a fulfilling care environment while reducing the burden on care workers.
Use on the farm
When cultivating seasonal vegetables in a greenhouse or producing vegetables that are difficult to grow in the area, it is necessary to control the temperature, humidity, and illuminance suitable for the plant. It takes time and cost for a person to check the temperature inside each greenhouse and check the water content of the soil. By utilizing IoT, it will be possible to grasp such data from remote locations such as homes, and it will be possible to manage greenhouses in an unmanned state. You will be able to manage the same crops with less labor.
The concept of IoT was born in the latter half of the 20th century, and has expanded realistically due to the development of communication technology. By utilizing IoT, it is possible to manage, operate, and improve efficiency even in remote areas, such as things that people could not do without working on the spot and could not be investigated. became.
Let's take a look at how IoT works to see why this is possible.
The basic mechanism is the technology to connect and link things to the Internet.
IoT is a technology for equipping various things with communication functions to connect to the Internet and link with other things. The communication function can be installed in various things. The Apple Watch from Apple Inc. is widely known for its communication function. When we talk about the IoT, what is described as a thing is a device. Of course, PCs and smartphones are called devices, but refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, watches, doors, etc. are also devices.
How to connect things to the Internet
PCs and smartphones have the ability to connect to the Internet from the beginning. On the other hand, IoT will allow home appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners that were not previously connected to the Internet to be connected to the Internet.
So how do home appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners send and receive data? Let's see how it works.
In IoT, the following devices are used to connect things to the Internet.
Device: A device that collects data by incorporating a sensor and communication function. The equipment you use depends on what kind of data you collect.
<Example of equipment that collects data>
Sensor: A device that acquires data such as temperature, humidity, acceleration, illuminance, vibration, and magnetism.
Beacon: A device that emits radio waves at regular intervals and is mainly used to grasp location information.
Gateway: A communication device that bundles data collected from devices and connects them to a network.
Application: Software for visualizing data. The role of the application is to make it easier for users to use by processing such as analyzing the data sent from the device through the gateway. Applications are generally those that can be used as cloud services on a web browser.
Network: Refers to communication equipment and radio waves. Communication companies such as Softbank provide line equipment. You will be able to connect to the Internet via the network.
Two roles of the device
So what role does a networked device play? There are two main possibilities. Sensing and feedback.
Sensing is a mechanism in which the device itself collects the status as data and notifies it. For example, the refrigerator door is still open. Electronic components called sensors make this sensing possible.
There are various types of sensors such as optical sensors, sound sensors, temperature sensors, humidity sensors, magnetic sensors, and image sensors. Not only can these be used alone, but by combining multiple data, it becomes possible to collect more specific and complex data.
Feedback is the role of displaying data and performing actions. Feedback can be categorized into three types. It's visualization, notification, and control.
① Visualization: Enables recognition on the screen
② Notification: Notify when certain conditions (conditions) are met
③ Control: Change the device status when a certain condition (state) is met.
In this way, by equipping things with sensors and communication functions to collect data, we can receive notifications and control things remotely, even when we are away, without our instructions. However, it moves automatically and adds value that has never been possible before.
Industry starting to utilize IoT-Case study-
I have explained that IoT is a mechanism that creates some added value by connecting various "things" to the Internet.
And, for example, by incorporating an information communication system into TVs and air conditioners, it is possible to check when you are away and operate remotely, and IoT has come to be utilized in people's familiar lives. It was.
In addition, the utilization of IoT is applied not only to home appliances but also to various industries, and is being utilized for improving productivity and ensuring safety.
From here, let's look at examples of actual IoT utilization in some industries and local governments.
1. Utilization of IoT in local governments
The use of IoT is also being considered by local governments nationwide.
Fujieda City, located in the central part of Shizuoka Prefecture, has started a demonstration experiment using SoftBank's IoT platform. Twenty-one private companies selected through open recruitment participated in the experiment and provided various services. Data accumulated in the IoT platform is shared with participating companies via LPWA (wireless communication technology that enables long-distance communication with low power consumption) installed in 30 locations in the city, and measures against damage to birds and beasts, child watching functions, rivers Used for water level observation function, etc. It was confirmed that it helps to improve the safety and convenience of citizens.
In addition, Munakata City, Fukuoka Prefecture is working to develop new farmers for strawberry cultivation using IoT. The city has introduced "e-kakashi" and clarified the difference between the two by comparing data from veteran farmers and young farmers. Furthermore, by collecting and analyzing farm work data of veteran farmers, we can visualize cultivation techniques that were largely based on experience and intuition. Using that information, we have created a situation where young farmers can work in the same way as experienced farmers. As a result, we achieved an average increase in sales of approximately 800,000 yen per 10 ares. Increasing profits not only for young farmers but also for veteran farmers
2. Utilization of IoT in the automobile industry
The automobile industry is often cited as an industry that is actively utilizing IoT. It is used in various ways to improve the convenience and safety of drivers. A typical example that is attracting attention is the "autonomous driving system" for the purpose of reducing traffic accidents.
Especially in Japan, which has become an aging society, there is a tendency for more drivers to want to drive safely even if their motor function and cognitive speed begin to decline physically. Even for such elderly drivers, it is beginning to spread as a technology that can provide safer and more comfortable driving.
For example, Toyota Motor's "ITS Connect". By directly communicating between "road" and "automobile" or between "automobile" and "automobile" using the frequency dedicated to ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems), it exists in a blind spot that cannot be captured by conventional sensors mounted on automobiles. It informs the driver of "people" and "cars".
In addition, a buzzer alerts you when the driver may overlook the signal or be distracted.
3. Utilization of IoT in the logistics industry
IoT is widely used in the logistics industry such as inventory management, receipt / shipment management, and delivery management.
The larger the scale of warehouse management and operation, the more limited people can handle. In addition, if the warehouse is not managed accurately and reliably, delivery to customers may be delayed or mistaken, which may affect sales.
In 2018, Sanritsu, which provides comprehensive logistics services such as packaging, transportation, and warehousing, introduced the Swisslog automatic robot-controlled picking system AutoStore. AutoStore uses a dedicated container to automatically carry out warehousing and delivery. Then, the expiration date for each product, defective product inspection at the time of inventory, etc. are managed by the port. In this way, it has become easier to manage the expiration date and inventory control within the distribution center, and it has become possible to give appropriate delivery instructions according to the inventory status of each distribution center, leading to more efficient operations.
4. Utilization of IoT in agriculture
The use of IoT is also advancing in agriculture. It should be noted that the aging of agricultural workers, labor shortages, and shortages of successors can now be overcome by utilizing IoT. We are building an environment where new farmers can easily enter by converting experience values such as cultivation intuition cultivated through experience into data.
With the aim of solving similar issues, Semboku City, Akita Prefecture, introduced the IoT solution "e-kakashi" for agriculture provided by SoftBank to two paddy rice farmers in the city as a demonstration experiment in 2019. e-kakashi is a system that installs sensors in the fields, collects data on the cultivation environment, and allows you to check it on the management screen through the app.
In addition, by accumulating data, you can receive guidance on cultivation from SoftBank staff with AI and doctoral degrees in agriculture (academic). This can be expected to improve productivity even for young farmers with low experience points. In addition, it enables scientific approaches that were not noticed by the intuition cultivated through experience.
By constructing an agricultural work management system that utilizes IoT, the possibilities for agricultural development are expanding even in the future declining birthrate and aging society.
Click here for details on e-kakashi cases in Semboku City, Akita Prefecture
5. Utilization of IoT in the medical / long-term care industry
The use of IoT is advancing in various places in the medical industry, such as improving patient safety measures and services, and reducing the burden on doctors and nurses.
Nipro, a medical device manufacturer, has developed a system called "Nipro Heartline" that supports telemedicine. Patients' home measurements such as body temperature, blood pressure, and pulse rate are sent to medical institutions in real time and shared with stakeholders. In addition, the videophone function makes it easy to share image information of the affected area. In addition, you will receive a warning if the value deviates from the value set by the doctor in advance, so you can respond quickly even if you are far away. It is also expected to be used in regions where there is a growing shortage of doctors.
The IoT is also being used in the long-term care industry. The long-term care industry continues to face a serious labor shortage. In addition, as the population ages, the number of elderly people suffering from dementia who use long-term care facilities is increasing. Under such circumstances, IoT beds that notify elderly people who use long-term care facilities are attracting attention as an aid to living a safe and secure life. For example, caregivers will be notified if a user leaves bed when they should be sleeping. By doing so, we can quickly detect wandering behavior and prevent accidents such as falls and wandering. In addition, in beds where IoT is used, it is possible to collect information such as weight and breathing at bedtime and use it as data for maintaining health.
6. Utilization of IoT in the manufacturing industry (factory)
Japan's "manufacturing" with high technology has a good reputation in the world, but there are various problems such as labor shortage and excessive dependence on skilled workers. As a solution to these problems, the manufacturing industry is also using IoT.
At Yamaguchi Seisakusho, which manufactures metal stamping and dies, we are using IoT to grasp the operating status of production equipment, which is linked to efforts to further strengthen our strengths. Introduced the tool "Σ Warrior" provided by KMC. The tool can be installed in a wide variety of production installations, and the company has installed it in eight installations. As a result, the operating status of machine tools can be collected and presented to customers as needed. In addition, since the production process can be grasped with data, it is also used for reviewing waste for efficiency. We have achieved short-term delivery of 70 to 80%.
7. Utilization of IoT in the real estate industry
The real estate industry is also seeing the use of IoT.
Ichigo, a comprehensive real estate company that develops various real estate-related businesses such as J-REIT operations and solar power generation, has developed the "THE KNOT" series, which creates new value by renovating existing hotels. In "THE KNOT TOKYO Shinjuku," which was reopened in August 2018, we introduced "Smart Key," which utilizes SoftBank's IoT platform, instead of the conventional cylinder key.
By linking the API between the "Smart Key" system and the "Hotel Management" system (sharing application functions), it is possible for guests to automatically perform check-in and check-out without staff intervening. became. Various effects have been obtained, such as greatly reducing the burden on staff and eliminating problems such as lost keys.
The future of IoT
The IoT is making progress in various industries, and its spread is accelerating. According to a survey by IHS Markit, the cumulative number of IoT devices installed in 2018 reached 30 billion. In addition, we expect that it will reach 80 billion units by 2025. In addition, according to the "White Paper on Information and Communication" released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in 2017, it is estimated that economic growth by 2030 will reach 1,495 trillion yen due to the progress of social reform by IoT.
As shown in the cases seen above, IoT has the potential to evolve further in the future as it is being used in various industries. For example, it may be used to reduce the disparity between urban and rural areas. By operating a production line at night when electricity prices are low, or by operating a smart factory that can operate 24 hours a day, it may be possible to maintain and improve productivity while improving the working environment of employees. In this way, the further evolution of IoT will not only reduce the burden of work, but will also lead to freedom from restrictions such as "place" and "time", and will enable a variety of work style choices.
In addition, the time will come when all "things" in the world, such as home appliances, automobiles, logistics, and medical care, will naturally be connected to the Internet, not just in Japan. In the near future, you should be able to enjoy its convenience regardless of the country or region you live in.
Challenges associated with the evolution of cutting-edge technology (IoT, AI, big data)
Iot Challenge: Security
Although IoT is expected to become more widespread in the future, some issues have been pointed out.
The first issue is "security measures". The number of IoT devices is huge, and some of them do not have sufficient countermeasures. In addition, since IoT devices are familiar "things", the awareness that they are connected to the Internet tends to be weakened, and the security awareness of users tends to be low.
On the other hand, problems can cause enormous damage. In fact, cyber attacks targeting IoT are on the rise.
Therefore, in February 2019, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, and multiple Internet providers collaborated to start a research project "NOTICE" for IoT devices that could be abused in cyber attacks.
With the start of NOTICE, we are investigating devices that may be misused for cyber attacks, such as using passwords that can be easily guessed for IoT devices on the Internet, and notify Internet providers and alert them. I will.
In particular, for companies that have a large number of information assets such as customer information and product information, security risks such as leakage of confidential information due to cyber attacks and unauthorized access will cause great damage to corporate activities. It is necessary to be aware that strong security measures for devices and equipment are a major premise for the utilization of IoT, which is effective for business improvement.
Another major issue is the lack of human resources. The spread of technology requires people to understand and advance it.
According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's "Survey on the latest trends and future estimates of IT human resources," the number of new employees in the IT industry is decreasing year by year, even though the IT market continues to expand. The shortage of human resources in the IT industry will become more serious in the future, and it is expected that the shortage will increase to about 590,000 in 2030.
Furthermore, among IT, IoT is called advanced IT technology along with "big data" and "AI (artificial intelligence)" and requires specialized knowledge, so the shortage of human resources is even more serious.
The era of utilizing IoT as a matter of course in both business and daily life has arrived. It is important not only to enjoy convenience as a user, but also to understand issues related to IoT. In order to utilize IoT on a country-by-country, company-by-company, or individual-by-individual basis, it can be said that it is necessary to understand the current environment, take thorough measures against possible problems, and introduce them.