IoT Business Case #3: Need Based Servicing

 In IoT Applications

The first blog post of this IoT series we introduced 10 common IoT business paradigms F3 Wireless has come across over the years. In this segment, we’ll explore what we’re going to call “Need Based Servicing”.

This is one of the most intuitive uses of IoT. It’s simply the idea of only servicing or attending to those members of a fleet that need it. For example, think about municipal garbage cans in parks and on street corners. Some of those garbage cans will reach capacity faster than others. The conventional way of dealing with the garbage can is to have a truck go out periodically, maybe 3 times a week, to empty it. The truck has an assigned route, and every can is emptied regardless of how full it is.

When you apply Need Based Servicing, each can has a sensor that reports how full it is. This allows intelligent planning of routes, resulting in the minimum number of trucks and miles to service only the cans that need to be serviced. This means only doing the work that’s needed to be done is done at any given time, so it’s inherently more efficient.

Need Based Servicing can be applied to any situation with a “drive a route” or “check on something” and “deal with it” based on that information. Specific examples F3 has experience with include:

  • Garbage collection
  • Recycling collection
  • Medical sharps collection
  • Secure shredding services
  • Specialized fluid reclamation
  • Battery recycling
  • Pest control
  • Vending machine servicing

All this business model requires is adding sensing capabilities to the device in the field and the ability to report the status of that sensor. In some cases, that’s really easy because some devices already have electrical power. In other cases, recent advancements in batteries, energy harvesting and power management are what enable solutions that were never practical before.

Another major enabling factor is unit cost. The costs of cellular radio solutions have dropped dramatically in the last few years. The cost for cellular service has also dropped significantly, especially when using a IoT focused MVNO vs. trying to use retail SIM cards. A cellular device’s service costs can be $15 a year. A pervasive myth around cellular is that service costs are $40 a device per month. That’s only true if you’re streaming a lot of data. F3’s software developers and system engineers are experts at minimizing such recurring costs.

So we return to the business value of IoT that we introduced in our first blog post in this series:

  • Make money
  • Save money
  • Legal compliance
  • Reputation protection

Saving money is pretty intuitive with Need Based Servicing, the garbage collection example demonstrates that value. Being able to document that you did what was required and what was best in the situation achieves compliance and reputation. But what about creating new markets and making more money? What can we do with high quality, sufficiently frequent sensor data that we couldn’t before? Well there’s the question those closest to the business can answer. Often only the people who live and breathe a business are going to be able to see the potential to create new markets.

Need Based Servicing is already transforming how some businesses work. Something as simple as routine maintenance can be turned on its head simply because we can now make it only necessary maintenance instead of routine. Consider how this could affect your business, with F3’s technical capability you just may invent a whole new market.

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