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Will the Internet of Things change the way we do business?

The twentieth century was one of change. Change on a scale that man had never been before. The motor car changed the way people and goods were moved, the telephone changed the way we communicate, automation changed the way that goods were manufactured, the radio and television changed the way we are entertained and computers changed the way we worked.

At the start of the twenty first century we have seen computers and smart phones change the way we interact socially and are entertained. What we are seeing now is the development of Machine2Machine (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT), delivering data and improving efficiency.

We are seeing the worlds population increasing and fossil fuel resources diminishing, meaning the cost of travel & transportation will increase further. The cost of people will increase as the West expects the East to comply with their health & safety standards, and the East expect Western living standards. The environment will continue to be major concern.

The digital age is changing the way humans interact and think and our ability to plan ahead is no longer needed as everything is now available at the swipe of a touch screen. This behavior change is crossing into industry and customers are demanding improve levels of service and are expecting suppliers to do their thinking and planning for them.

In industry the supply chain is evolving with more co-operation between suppliers and customers.
Contracts are not just based on price. Suppliers will be expected to innovate in order to become more efficient. The data M2M and the IoT provide enable this innovation.

Let's take remote tank level monitoring as an example, where level readings are transmitted from customers tanks to somewhere else such as a server. The supplier knows tank level so the customer no longer needs to check and re-order - or forget to check, forget to reorder and run out! This means the supplier can replenish efficiently, visiting each tank fewer times but delivering the same volume of product. Fewer miles leads to lower costs and less CO2.

The customer can see centrally the delivery has taken place and reconcile the invoice and at the end of each month can see their stock levels and understand their balance sheet. Thefts and leaks can be detected, as can illegal fills (when a competitor makes a delivery into your contracted customer).

For suppliers of bulk liquid products this technology enables a new approach to sales. It's not just about the price but the service as well. It allows the customers behaviour to fall in line with the digital age where everything is always available and we don't need to plan ahead. M2M facilitates cooperation between the customer and the supplier. It's the suppliers toolkit to create a strong, lasting relationship.

M2M is reality. Companies such as Powelectrics provide affordable, reliable technology for a range of applications such as tank level monitoring. This technology is helping their customers lower their operational costs whilst building stronger relationships with their own customers.

The business winners over the coming years will be those that embrace M2M technology.

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