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IOT in the wellness industry


For about 2 years I have been dealing intensively with the topic of the Internet of Things, first in general, then later specifically industry-specific solutions and developments.

The Internet of Things is coming towards us at great paces in all areas of industry and smart homes, but what about the wellness industry?  Admittedly, the wellness industry is rather a small, special peripheral area in the large production sector, but I also see enormous development potential here.

What is IOT?

The term “Internet of Things” (translated: “Internet of Things”) refers to the increasing networking between “intelligent” objects both with one another and with the outside world.  Various objects, everyday objects or machines are equipped with processors and embedded sensors so that they are able to communicate with each other via the IP network.  This data is saved and can be evaluated for analysis purposes.

History of IOT

The origin is in 1968 when Richard Morley first developed a so-called Programmable Logic Controller (PLC).  The PLC was designed as a kind of special industrial computer to control manufacturing processes.  In 1983, PLC devices and computers (PCs) could then be networked based on PLC and the Ethernet standard.  The decisive boost was given to the IoT with the introduction of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 and the introduction of the Internet protocol TCP / IP in 1992. It is not far from the idea of ​​the IoT: IoT denotes the  Networking of physical objects - vehicles, machines, household appliances or other devices - which, equipped with sensors and APIs, are connected to the Internet and exchange data.  The invention of the term dates back to the British Kevin Ashton in 1999.

According to a study and estimate, the IoT currently comprises 16 to 20 billion machines.  Another 10 billion will be added over the next four years.

My first attempts with IOT

The start with IOT in the wellness industry was a little more difficult than expected, because in contrast to other branches of industry there were almost no devices that could communicate directly with the Internet.  But there were detours that I could use, such as various industrial protocols Modbus RTU and IOT gateways.  So my first project was to connect a steam generator to the cloud and process the recorded data there.  In the cloud, I was now able to capture, save and graphically display all of the steam generator's cyclically transmitted data.  I was amazed at the variety of data, from the operating status of individual components to error messages, I was able to track everything in real time via the cloud.

The question arose for me, what is the purpose or purpose of recording and storing the data of a steam generator in the cloud?

Let's imagine a customer calls the customer service and reports that his steam generator is no longer working, now the customer service can view and analyze the data in the cloud, he finds that after the start the inlet valve for the water opens but the level opens  not changed in the steam cylinder.  This leads to two conclusions, either the customer's water supply for the steam generator is closed or the inlet valve is defective.  The service technician can clearly identify the source of the error, which saves time and money.

Further advantages, error messages from the steam generator are automatically sent to customer service by email and before the customer sends a fault message, the service can react.  Or a consumer product such as  Fragrances are used up, and the system can reorder them automatically.  This enables customer service to act instead of just reacting.  In conjunction with Microsoft Dynamics, the process can be created completely automatically.  Microsoft Dynamics creates a work order in which spare parts and employees are already assigned to the defect.  It would also be very helpful to carry out this repair using augmented reality glasses such as the Microsoft HoloLens, which I was able to test in Zurich this year.  This way, the repair can be fully documented.

The message about the upcoming maintenance of the steam generator (depending on the use by the customer) can also be sent automatically to the customer service, who can then plan for predictive maintenance, e.g.  if a service technician has a different job near the device.

IOT experiences

Various components have already been implemented within our PLC control, here I have implemented measuring methods and error messages for forwarding in close contact with our supplier, who builds and programs our PLC controls.  Error messages from technical devices or temperature sensors are forwarded directly from the PLC via email.  An important point was the measurement of the condition of heating elements in the sauna heater, these values ​​are measured without tension in ohms.  If the specified value is not adhered to, an error message is sent to the customer service via e-mail, who can now replace the heating element concerned before it fails completely and the set sauna target temperature can no longer be reached.  Customer service can also act here before a failure occurs.

Wellness, health and IOT

Another area that I find very interesting is the health area in wellness.  Here the IOT is predestined to actively support the user to make optimal use of his sauna or steam bath depending on his physical and physical condition.  We all know them, intelligent watches that store different values ​​of the body throughout the day, and the user can manually add certain information, such as  the calories consumed throughout the day.  In the evening, the user could synchronize this data with his wellness control in order to create an individual program with the right temperature, humidity and fragrance.  The result would be optimal recovery.

Use of data

The recorded data of a wellness facility can be used sensibly to improve product development or marketing, because user behavior is also recorded, when the customer uses his sauna or steam bath, what is the average length of stay, which program the customer chooses most frequently and which fragrance  he uses.  Data that help the company tailor tailor-made solutions and products to the end customer.

Opportunities and use

The question of the areas of use of the driver or drivers for the Internet of Things can undoubtedly be answered by optimizing resource use, reducing costs, increasing employee productivity, increasing work efficiency, optimizing supply chains, increasing customer loyalty and increasing customer satisfaction.

One of the main benefits of the Internet of Things is the ability to use digitally networked products, services and solutions as a manufacturer to penetrate deeper into the value creation structures of its customers.

One of the main phenomena that can be observed in a wide variety of industries is the change from a product provider to a service provider.  The increase in service offers instead of pure product sales often leads to higher interaction between a provider and his customer.  Digitization increases this again.

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