JB HOMER Retained Executive Search, specializing in executive search for technology and operations talent in a global market

Judy Homer
JB Homer Associates
In this issue of the President's Letter, Jeff discusses

Smart Sensors and how they lead
to Smart Data:
A smarter way of doing business

In this digital age, companies are looking at strategies to best leverage data from its operations. The evolving use of embedded smart sensors has brought forth the adoption of predictive analytics and artificial intelligence tools to analyze vast sets of data generated by these sensors in order to better predict outcomes, analyze consumer behaviors, gain operational efficiencies, reduce costs and increase the return on investment.

Technology's role is to gather, measure, and monitor these massive data sets and turn it into 'smart data' reporting for evaluation and action by the business leadership. In recent conversations with Chief Information Officers and Chief Digital Officers, we uncovered ways smart sensors are being utilized across a variety of industries:

  • Retail:
    Embedded smart sensors are changing the way retailers learn about their customers and control merchandise. By combining RFID tags with a smart store analytics platform and beacon technology, retail stores can collect in-depth market data and intelligence on customer preferences and behavior, as well as dramatically reduce losses from misplaced product and inventory shrinkage.

  • Supply Chain:
    Smart sensor technology is transforming this industry through the placement of RFID tags into products which provide just-in-time inventory data on the location and the condition of the products as they are transported from one destination to another. These sensors provide data to allow greater visibility into the end-to-end supply chain process, improve on-time delivery performance, predict transit times and provide real time alerts to mitigate the risk of loss or damage to the products.

  • Manufacturing:
    Pulp & Paper manufacturers are utilizing smart sensors to generate large data sets to predict when parts on continuous and batch digesters may fail by measuring variables such as vibrations and temperature changes, and trigger predictive maintenance protocols based on the insights gathered.

  • Transportation:
    Smart sensors are being utilized by the airline industry to generate and gather data to predict when airplane engine parts may break down. In terms of baggage handling, smart chips are being placed on traveler's bags to track their location and help address the costly problem of lost luggage.

  • Biotech / Healthcare:
    The data received from ingestible SmartPills is being utilized for early detection of heart disease and cancer. Biological and chemical sensors are used to detect diabetic issues instantly - sensors worn on a patient's wrist can instantaneously detect a diabetic attack and provide a signal to inject the proper amount of medication into a patient in real-time.
Smart sensors and smart data initiatives offer companies opportunities to gain a more accurate and thorough understanding of their business in real-time and translate those insights into strategies to predict outcomes, enhance the consumer experience, lower costs, and optimize profitability.

Smart sensor technology is impacting many industries and improving the quality of people's lives. Its future is limitless - further development is already taking place in areas such as wearables, biometrics, smart homes, and driverless automobiles.

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