In PwC’s emerging tech labs, in our offices, and at client sites, we’re piloting a number of IoT projects that can save time and money through greater efficiency. One of PwC’s earliest experiments, the Smart Cooler, was designed for an international beverage company that wanted to capture more accurate compliance and activity metrics for its branded beverage coolers. We developed a prototype that uses embedded sensors to address key business issues. This IoT retail innovation demonstrates how a connected network of simple sensors can be deployed and how their outputs can be interpreted to derive valuable insights about internal and environmental conditions.
PwC has helped many clients with preventive and predictive maintenance projects that leverage sensors and analytics to determine wear and tear on industrial equipment (such as pumps), aircraft, and autos. Predictive maintenance not only helps clients to optimize resources spent on maintaining equipment but also reduces downtime and prolongs asset life.
More recently, PwC has provided end-to-end IoT solutions—from the sensors and connectivity through the reporting and analytics. PwC custom built a sensor to count money from bill readers in electronic gaming machines. This project involved all of PwC’s lines of services: Advisory provided the technology (hardware, integration, cloud, reporting, and analytics), tax provided the calculations for the tax bureau, and assurance provided spot audits to ensure the validity of the reports.
We also are helping our clients with innovations for energy management in buildings, as well as smart offices and smart buildings. In these solutions, multiple sensor deployments help to monitor temperature, humidity, and occupancy and to control lighting and HVAC systems. Door sensors send alerts to indicate how often an area is used or if a restricted area is entered after hours. Other sensors include soil moisture meters to optimize the watering of plants and lawns, leak detectors, garbage sensors to optimize trash pickup, and electronic pest traps that notify maintenance when a trap has sprung. The advantage comes from aggregating all of this various sensor data into one “data hub” that provides correlated information and insights, rather than the standard “point solution” that is available today.
Another interesting area leverages AI and cameras to perform facial recognition and adaptive analytics. PwC is developing solutions that use adaptive video analytics for intruder detection (alerting security of patrons on a “banned list”), for queue management, for counting crowds and watching people flow (which provides demographics, such as gender, age group, and ethnicity) and for identifying how long it takes to cater, fuel, clean, and load an airplane. It will be important for enterprises to know the data privacy rules and policies for collecting and using data. PwC has a security and privacy practice solely focused on data and biometric privacy rules and on helping clients understand the impacts of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other regulations.