Kirsten Billhardt, Marketing Strategist for the Internet of Things, Dell
The holidays are a great time to relax and catch up with family and friends, but it is inevitable that the question, "How's work?" comes up. For me -- as someone who is thinking and writing and helping to shape Dell's role in IoT -- this simple question can be hard to answer. On one hand, it's new technology and very exciting. On the other hand, for non-techie relatives, it can sound like science fiction, or at least an episode of the Jetson's. I try stumbling through a layman's definition of IoT... "So, think of what would happen if there were more sensors in things...like this chair...and data from the sensors are collected and analyzed and decisions can be made...like maybe if nobody is sitting in the chairs, then the lights can be turned off."
I watch eyes glaze over and I see that no one is overwhelmed with a need for sensors in chairs.
But I have a new go-to example now -- and that is Connected Cows. I can say -- "IoT is where you add connectivity to things that were not connected before. Like cows!"
At this point, there is still confusion. But changing the conversation to something as friendly and accessible as cows has changed everything. Now there are smiles and a real interest to hear more. I can sketch out the story pretty quickly. I share how there is a dairy farm, Chitale Dairy in India, that was having a problem with low milk yields. So they tagged the animals -- with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags (I leave out this part) -- that, when scanned, transmits unique information on each cow back to the data center. Farmers can use their mobile phones to pull up information on each animal, and use this to better treat each individual cow.
For friends and family, this is quite enough. But for ya'll, let me continue the story...
Chitale Dairy now has a complete end-to-end "cows to cloud" strategy in place. Vishvas Chitale, Director, Chitale Dairy, says, "We've transformed our dairy operations using technology, and the feeding and breeding of animals is now monitored by computers. By automating the collection of data from each farm, we have improved animal health, leading to increased milk yield per animal. We've also streamlined the efficiency of our distribution channels for faster delivery of our milk products to consumers."
For IoT to become as big a deal as we think it should be, we will all need to find our own down to earth, practical examples that everyone can relate to. What's your favorite anecdote?