物联网 (IoT) 在家庭自动化、智慧城市和各行各业中的应用日益广泛。如果您已经评估过部署IoT 设备来管理您目前手动处理的流程的想法，但尚未付诸行动，那么您可能会对投资回报感到疑惑。为了以不同的方式做事，最初的现金支出、业务中断以及时间和精力的投入是否值得？
是否要进入这一领域的问题通常不是从 "我为什么要参与IoT ？"这个问题开始的。而是从效率、过时的技术、规避风险或减少开支等问题开始的。例如，企业主经常会提出以下问题之一：
When you're in business, avoiding expenditures can be as powerful as building out new ways of creating revenue. Turning to automation, for example, can support a predictive maintenance model that prevents unnecessary truck rolls for servicing machinery that is not in need of servicing.
Think about an application that delivers data points from an industrial tank, such as temperature and liquid level, and provides alerts for any sudden changes or abnormalities. If service personnel can remotely monitor their installations, and rest assured that they will receive a notification in the event of any issues, those expensive and needless truck rolls become a thing of the past.
Reducing inefficiencies in your business operations can also improve output, reduce time to market, and even improve expenditures related to workplace injuries. As an example, imagine placing a sensor and a radio device in a dangerous location such as an oil well or mine to sense conditions and send data instead of requiring an employee to venture into that environment on a regular basis to manually gather data? That employee can be better put to use analyzing the data gathered, instead of risking injury.
- 利用 GPS 和车队分析来优化卡车路线，以节省时间和成本。
无论您是想确保生产设施中的机器处于最佳工作状态，还是想确定路灯的开启和关闭时间以实现最佳节能效果，抑或是利用IoT 技术检测风力涡轮机的最佳角度和速度以实现最佳效率，IoT 解决方案都能为分析数据的收集和由此产生的流程改进提供支持。
We tend to think of the IoT as wireless devices and sensors talking to one another, but in fact it is so much more. Many companies today are improving operations and even growing their customer base by implementing IoT solutions. Some ready examples are wearables that provide tracking and monitoring services to the wearer, such as Fitbit technology.
Creating a popular commodity is certainly one of the best ways to grow a customer base using IoT. But in fact the possibilities are endless, from smart carts for a rapid check-out and improved shopping experience, to sensors for water bottles that send a signal when its time to hydrate. There are many more possibilities for IoT in this arena.
- 如果在你的店门口有一个虚拟的迎宾员，欢迎新顾客并引导他们了解当天的特价商品，或者确保他们在餐厅的下一个空位就座，你会怎么做？Prsonas提出了这个问题，然后利用Digi 的蜂窝路由器开发出了实现这一功能的技术。现在，该公司为各类企业提供全息技术，使他们能够提供独特的店内体验，收集客户数据以提升他们的体验，甚至开展业务。
- 回到车队和供应链，如果一家快递公司能缩短送货时间，更高效地为客户提供服务，那么仅客户保留率和正面的口碑反馈就值得在IoT 上进行投资。
IoT 和投资回报率：Digi 客户的实例
让我们看几个 Digi 客户通过实施IoT 解决方案节省成本的例子。
ElectriCities is a non-profit organization that provides customer service, safety training, emergency assistance and government advocacy to 90 member municipalities and 1.2 million customers throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Additionally, the organization maintains a complex network covering thousands of square miles, and collects data from meters and telemetry equipment to provide communications and management services to its member utilities. They needed to find a cost-effective way to communicate and transfer data.
The traditional method of installing copper 56k circuits to each site was cost-prohibitive and increased the risk of lightning strike damage. An alternative communications method, such as fiber optics, would reduce the threat of lightning strikes but still be prohibitively expensive. And it was overkill for the relatively limited bandwidth needs of each site.
The organization turned to Digi for a reliable LTE solution for frequent meter reading that would support communications with a range of different device types. Working with Digi, they identified the Digi WR31, an intelligent 4G LTE router, as their solution of choice. The cost savings were massive.
Yearly lightning strike costs were decreased by $20,000 per site by using wireless routers. Meanwhile they were able to dramatically reduce the hours spent troubleshooting and repairing equipment. That improvement coupled with reduced maintenance contracts, resulted in an additional savings of $30,000 per year, per site.
The Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) performs a range of industrial services, including facility investment planning, design, construction, environmental compliance and restoration. At Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC), an AFCEC team manages the soil and groundwater contamination sites under the Superfund program.
JBCC, a 22,000-acre military base on Cape Code, has been holding military training on the site since 1911. Contamination from chemical spills and fire training activities led to identification of the site for the Superfund program, and a required cleanup. The challenge was that AFCEC was paying $2,000 per month for landlines to support data transfer from the restoration equipment.
Also, certain circuits had hardware problems that created frequent service interruptions. They turned to the Digi WR21 cellular router, a versatile product for both commercial and industrial environments. The Digi WR21 can provide primary and backup WWAN connectivity over 3G/4G/LTE with RS232/422/485 serial support and dual Ethernet, as well as flexible options for connectivity and power, along with extended temperature ranges that can handle the harsh deployment environment.
Additionally, Digi Remote Manager®, a cloud-based network management solution, supports fast cellular router configuration, secure firmware updates and monitoring. When we spoke with the AFCEC team, they fully anticipated rapid and impressive ROI, with an expected 100-percent payback for the hardware in less than six months. The eight landline connections they planned to replace cost AFCEC a total of about $1,300 per month, and the replacement wireless connections would only cost $355 per month, resulting in an excellent ROI.
Owlet Nightshift, developed by Schréder and located in Mainz, Germany, supplies intelligent tele-management systems to monitor and control outdoor and roadside lighting. The company sought to provide an IoT-based street light management solution that improved lighting management and saved maintenance costs. And there was a critical need. Lighting maintenance can account for a full 40% of a city's energy expenses.
Schréders Owlet Nightshift solution incorporated Digi XBee Zigbee modules and ConnectPort X4 cellular gateways. Each intelligent light is equipped with a high performance LED array and a Digi XBee Zigbee module. The radio modules allow groups of lights to form a Zigbee mesh network that connects to a cellular WAN through the cellular gateway. Every node can then be centrally monitored and the lighting program can be changed by a technician via a desktop or handheld smart device using Owlet web-based management tools.
As a result, municipalities using Owlet Nightshift can save up to 85% of their lighting energy costs:
- 软件中已集成了节能方法，可最有效地利用 LED 技术，节省 8%至 10%的能源。
- Owlet 可将 LED 阵列调暗到适合各种条件的水平，而不是传统的全输出恒定状态，从而节省 25% 的能源。
- 客户可以定义调光配置文件，在夜间安静时降低道路上的灯光亮度，然后在高峰时段（如上下班高峰期）增加灯光亮度，从而额外节省 30% 至 40%的费用。
In summary, the time has come to evaluate the Internet of Things for its benefits in cost reduction and other ROI metrics.
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