When posed with the challenge to come up with an exciting project to demo at our first ever (data) Science Fair, we wanted to develop something fun and unique to showcase the possibilities of IoT business solutions. With an office full of coffee addicts, we decided to develop a smart coffee maker that could turn on and off by sending a tweet. IoT(ea) and Coffee is a Twitter-enabled coffee and iced tea maker that was created using Arduino Uno, Python, and a Twitter API. By running a Python script on our local machine, we were able to connect to the GET status/user_timeline Twitter API. This grabbed the latest status from our Twitter account, and ran it through a series of If/Else statements and searched for the keywords “coffee” and “tea”. If one of those words was found, it sent an ASCII number to the Arduino IDE which ran a simple relay switch script. If the phrase was found, the Arduino board turned on a power switch tail which turned on the respective appliance.
You may be thinking, “this is cool and all, but I don’t need to tweet my coffee pot, so what does this mean for me?” Regardless of whether you work in technology or not, IoT devices will have an impact on your business in some way if they haven’t already. What IoT business solutions do is enable greater access to data as it connects businesses and consumers in new ways.
The biggest opportunity of IoT is, of course, the data. Smart devices are able to track and record consumer behavior, which can then be used to predict and make recommendations to incentivize future behavior. Within the healthcare industry, IoT has enabled the collection of real-time patient data with wireless scales, monitors, imaging devices and energy meters. Medical professionals can remotely monitor patients and leverage information gained from sensors to more accurately analyze their health. This has promoted a shift away from just managing symptoms to a new wave of preventative care through predictive data.
IoT has also improved efficiency within the agricultural realm as farmers are now able to collect and integrate data on weather, soil, air quality and crop maturity. Furthermore, the use of agricultural drones for crop health imaging and even wearable devices on livestock has eliminated the need for manual intervention as farmers can pinpoint specific livestock or areas of land that need attention, without spending days investigating themselves.
There are also a wide range of applications within the logistics and supply chain industries from GPS tracking on trucks to shipment monitoring and reporting. Vehicle sensors on cars and trucks to monitor driving patterns ensures safety compliance, and the collection and analysis of this data facilitates optimized shipping and driving routes, reduces traffic congestion, and can ultimately reduce operational costs.
At the end of the day, the real value of IoT business solutions stems from the ability to obtain the wealth of data these devices collect then organizing and analyzing it in a way to gain insights for innovation to improve business processes. It might feel overwhelming to know where to start, but that’s where folks like us can step in and lend a hand, whether that be developing a flashy new database, or building a Twitter-powered coffee pot for your office.
Click here to learn more about the (data) Science Fair and see more photos from the event.
This post was originally posted on Medium.