Part three of a three-part blog series on enhancing the Internet of Things (IoT): Part one introduced the standard IoT concept, part two explained how to boost analytical and security effectiveness and this part details the boost in delivering efficiency using innovative technologies to automate actions.
IoT and the RPA performance boost
IoT systems still require their derived decisions to be carried out, so enter the next IoT boost, “Robotic Process Automation (RPA).” RPA consists of software and hardware robotics. It includes drones, robotics, virtual reality and augmented reality that can perform tasks automatically or augment human delivery.
For an explanation of RPA, this Deloitte video, 7 Robotic Skills and the rise of robotic and cognitive organisations, explains the basics well. While RPA fits into the final phase of an IoT process, it can also be used to perform across the data capture and analysis phases.
The enhanced IoT process
Drones and IoT
A drone is a small flying device which can be programmed to either carry small objects to a known destination or conduct surveillance of an area or object.
Drones are useful in automating IoT actions requiring surveys or deliveries. It should also be noted that while conducting the survey it can also perform the role of data capture to be sent back for analysis.
For deliveries, Amazon is piloting a drone delivery project to deliver small parcels within 30 minutes of the purchaser selecting it from their account. For more information about this the following extract, “First Prime Air Deliver,” is very informative.
For surveys, this article, “Cyberhawk achieves 50% cost saving for one of North sea’s largest offshore operators,” outlines the benefits of using drones.
Robotics and IoT
Robotics relates to the automation of a set repetitive task by either a physical or virtual machine. Robotics have been in use in both guises for a long time, either on production lines or as web bots.
Forrester estimates that by 2021 there will be over four million robots doing office, administrative and sales-related tasks, which matches the positive note from consultancy firm Everest Group in the CIO Magazine article titled, “Building a business case for offshore robotic process automation.”
Physical robotic machines are common on a manufacturing floor but less so on external works sites. The Meet SAM, the bricklaying robot video introduces SAM, an automated robot bricklayer used in the construction industry.
Software robots are used extensively to perform administrative office tasks, as described in the CIO Magazine article above.
Virtual reality, augmented reality and IoT
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) aim to enhance the visual experience of manual performance, by merging the virtual and physical worlds for the benefit of the user. This “Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality” blog from AR Company “Augment” explains, succinctly, the difference between the two.
While both technologies are heavily used in the gaming world, their business applications are many from VR used in dry runs and training to AR in enhancing the information being provided in a physical situation.
An example of where AR is used in manufacturing today is in this Harvard Business Review article titled, “Augmented Reality Is Already Improving Worker Performance.”
Welcoming in the ‘augmented process digitization’ era
Throughout this series of blogs, I have described how each phase of the IoT process can be boosted from the standard and how by performing these boosts that the practical uses and potential for IoT to add value is greatly enhanced.
I believe this welcomes in a new era, driven by IoT and broadened by technologies such as RPA and Blockchain, into augmented process digitization, delivering economies of scale via the intelligent application of technology to support business goals.
Whether you are considering these, designing processes around these, piloting these or have these technologies in operation today, I would welcome a discussion to consider the next stage of your evolution with technology.
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