What’s the Internet of Things?

Prior to SWANApalooza in Denver, March 5-7, 2018, keynote speaker Michael Hoffman was asked what he felt could yield the biggest opportunity for the solid waste industry. Hoffman’s answer? “Integrating the Internet of Things (IoT) and other progressive technologies into the solid waste paradigm,” he said.

But what is the Internet of Things (or IoT)? A simple definition from Forbes magazine says IoT “is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other).”

But, according to Network World, IoT is much more than the convenient connection of household devices like a coffeemaker or washing machine to your smart phone. And this is probably where Michael Hoffman is headed as he looks at the future of solid waste systems.

In looking at the bigger picture, Zach Supalla in Network World says, “the most compelling applications of IoT are the ones that you’ll never interact with. From manufacturing to environmental conservation, IoT is already quietly being used to overcome a wide variety of long-standing challenges.”

He gives the example of an internet-connected temperature sensor warning of mechanical over-heating. The warning allows the machinery to be fixed before it breaks, saving money through avoided downtime and repairs.  Supalla goes on to say that, “across all the most promising IoT applications [is] the ability to solve problems before they happen.”

This is why Hoffman sees great potential in the use of IoT for the solid waste industry. We’ll update this post after his keynote address at SWANApalooza next week to share more of his thoughts on the implications of IoT on solid waste systems. Michael Hoffman is the Managing Director and Group Head of Diversified Industrials Research of Stifel.

Photo credit: monicaodo | iStock | Getty Images Plus

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