IoT for OEMs: Benefits, Use Cases, and How to Get Started
In this article, we show how Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) can benefit from the Internet of Things (IoT). Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
- How Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) Can Benefit from IoT
- How OEMs Can Get Started with IoT
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What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers the billions of computers, devices, machines, objects, and other “things” all over the world that use the Internet to communicate and share data. These constituent parts possess their own unique identifiers (UIDs) and can transfer data over a network without human-to-human or human-to-thing interaction.
Common IoT applications and devices include smart devices, such as phones, watches, speakers, heart-rate monitors, and other wearables; smart appliances like Wi-Fi refrigerators, washing machines, and thermostats; smart cars, vehicles, machinery, and equipment; and smart sensors, meters, and beacons like traffic meters, environmental sensors, and Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) beacons.
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How Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) Can Benefit from IoT
IoT facilitates near instantaneous sharing of important information gathered by connected devices all over the world. This creates countless new opportunities and possibilities for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Indeed, by building products, parts, and devices capable of interacting with a variety of digital tools, systems, and solutions, you will be able build products which are not only more efficient and valuable, but which also enable high-value services and features. This will help you maintain a competitive edge in your industry and create new ways to generate revenue without expanding your suite of products.
You’ll be able to:
- Build More Valuable Products
- Offer Concierge Services
- Analyze Diagnostics and User Behavior
- Facilitate Over-the-Air (OTA) Updates
- Enhance Customer Experiences
- Enable End Users to Download Digital Content
- Allow for the Creation of Distinct User Profiles
- Enable Easy Maintenance Scheduling
- Leverage Location Intelligence
- Make it Easier to Find Lost or Stolen Equipment
- Use Geofencing to Optimize End User and Partner Engagement
- Identify Partner Marketing Opportunities
Let’s look at each of these examples one by one…
Build More Valuable Products
IoT makes it possible for you to enhance the value of your equipment by offering integrated services. These can be complimentary services or upsell opportunities.
Offer Concierge Services
On-demand services are a great way to differentiate your products. For example, in the automobile industry, subscription-based communications services have become a common feature. Concierge services like GM’s OnStar, Ford SYNC, BMW Assist, and Mercedes mbrace offer in-vehicle safety, emergency services, hands-free calling, turn-by-turn navigation, and remote diagnostic systems.
Analyze Diagnostics and User Behavior
Likewise, IoT can be used to analyze and share diagnostics with end users. Returning to the automobile industry, on-board diagnostics (OBD) enable drivers to track things like tire pressure, engine oil levels, fuel consumption, washer fluid levels, and more. Not only does this promote driver safety, but it also increases vehicle longevity.
While diagnostics sharing can obviously benefit ordinary commuters, it’s perhaps even more valuable to organizations that manage large fleets of vehicles — like shipping companies, transportation companies, taxi and limo services, public transportation services, and urban mobility startups. Moreover, similar use cases exist for farming equipment, heavy machinery, domestic appliances, and more.
Facilitate Over-the-Air (OTA) Updates
You can even use IoT to keep products and devices always up to date via OTA updates. Tesla famously uses this capability to make sure their vehicles always have the latest and greatest infotainment system features and capabilities.
However, let’s consider another example from the automobile world. Imagine a car dealership with a fleet of 100 cars and trucks. Making sure those vehicles are equipped with the latest telematics features can be a pain in the neck if updates must be pushed car-by-car. However, with OTA capabilities, fleet managers can push these updates remotely, from a centralized management application.
Another example comes courtesy of the corporate security world, where Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) play increasingly important roles in keeping corporate infrastructure secure. By enabling IT managers to push OTA updates to corporate laptops, smartphones, and devices, companies can bolster security and reduce device downtime without significant interruptions to productivity.
Enhance Customer Experiences
IoT can also make things far easier and more convenient for your end users. For example…
Enable End Users to Download Digital Content
Give products the ability to manually or automatically download music, podcasts, audiobooks, movies, and other digital content.
Let’s say you manufacture exercise equipment; your users might want to download or stream videos from their favorite YouTube fitness influencers on your treadmills or stationary bikes. Likewise, if you manufacture smart speakers, they might want to download audiobooks or albums directly to your speakers.
Allow for the Creation of Distinct User Profiles
You can also enable users to upload their personal settings across devices, equipment, and other products.
Going back to the smart fitness equipment example, there’s a good chance that each treadmill you sell will have multiple users. Moreover, each user likely has their own preferences. These might be anything from treadmill speed and inclination settings to fitness goals and entertainment preferences. Rather than store these user profiles directly on the equipment, they can be stored via an associated mobile app on user devices. This way, no matter which of your products users work out on, they’ll always have their own settings readily at hand.
Enable Easy Maintenance Scheduling
IoT can even facilitate the scheduling of maintenance directly from a product or vehicle, or with an associated mobile app.
Let’s look at an example from the agriculture sector. If you manufacture farming equipment, such as tractors, balers, or combines, your customers will occasionally need to have them repaired. If your equipment comes with an associated app, complete with real-time OBD tracking, you can make it easier for end-users to contact authorized mechanics and communicate any issues they may be having. Moreover, mechanics will have instant access to relevant information like model, model year, and date of last repair.
Leverage Location Intelligence
Finally, IoT enables OEMs to gather location intelligence from Bluetooth beacons, sensors, Wi-Fi hotspots, and other devices. This data can be leveraged in a variety of ways, for instance…
Make it Easier to Find Lost or Stolen Equipment
If a device is lost or stolen, an associated app can be used to track it down. Companies like Apple already make good use of this capability. The ‘Find My’ app, which comes standard on most iOS devices, allows users to track down lost AirPods, iPads, MacBooks, and other Apple equipment.
However, BLE (Bluetooth low-energy) trackers can be attached to just about anything — keys, wallets, auto parts, shipping pallets, hospital equipment, etc. Location intelligence can therefore be used to find equipment across continents and within houses, hospitals, and other buildings.
For this use case, it is also important to leverage multiple connectivity technologies. For example, if a lost device connects to a Wi-Fi network, the network’s SSID can be used to determine the device’s specific location. In other words, if you see that the lost device connected to “Starbucks WiFi,” you’ll know exactly where to look when you go out to retrieve it.
Use Geofencing to Optimize End User and Partner Engagement
A geofence is a virtual perimeter established in a real-world geographic area using GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi, or cellular data. Depending on how a geofence is configured, mobile devices or RFID tags that cross into or out of geofenced areas trigger certain actions — mobile push notifications, text messages or alerts, targeted advertisements on social media, etc. Geofencing is a great technique for tracking vehicle fleets, shipments, location-based marketing data, and more.
Identify Partner Marketing Opportunities
Following on from that last point, location intelligence can be used to identify partner marketing, affinity marketing, and affiliate marketing opportunities. By identifying where end users go throughout the day, you’ll be able to better understand their behavior and interests. Likewise, by tapping into the Wi-Fi SSIDs they encounter, you’ll be able to see which restaurants, stores, and other locations they visit. These audience insights can be used to make informed decisions across your business.
How OEMs Can Get Started with IoT
No matter how OEMs approach the IoT space, Pareteum has all their connectivity requirements covered. By integrating Mobile/Cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity in 200+ countries and territories, with intelligent network selection for optimized performance, cost, and reach; Pareteum can guarantee an always-best-connected experience for any IoT solution.
The Pareteum Smart Network is composed of four primary features:
- Mobile Connectivity for IoT — Top tier voice and data connectivity from mobile networks all over the globe.
- Wi-Fi for IoT— Door-to-door Wi-Fi connectivity in tens-of-millions of commercial and community venues, hundreds-of-thousands of restaurants, cafés, and coffee shops; tens-of-thousands of hotels and hospitality sites; nearly 700 airports; and thousands of airplanes from dozens of the world’s leading airlines.
- Wi-Fi SmartConnect — Automatically connect to Wi-Fi or cellular networks based on quality of service. Reduce connectivity costs by offloading to Wi-Fi.
- Last Mile VPN — Secure all Wi-Fi connections to protect against crippling cyber-attacks and devastating data breaches.
Without connectivity, smart devices and IoT deployments lose much of their appeal. By leveraging Pareteum’s Smart Network, IoT solutions can stay connected, no matter what, at the lowest possible costs.
Pareteum is an experienced provider of Communications Platform as a Service solutions. We empower enterprises, communications service providers, internet service providers, mobile operators, full MVNOs, light MVNOs, early-stage innovators, developers, IoT (Internet of Things), and telecommunications infrastructure providers with the freedom and control to create, deliver, and scale innovative communications experiences.
The Pareteum platform connects people and devices around the world using the secure, ubiquitous, and highly scalable solution to deliver data, voice, video, SMS/text messaging, media, and content enablement.
For more information on Pareteum’s IoT solutions, set up a meeting!