Introducing IoT examples using Bluetooth!

Bluetooth, which was previously only intended for short-distance one-to-one communication, continues to evolve day by day, and since the release of version 5.0, it has enabled communication between multiple devices over long distances. And with products that support these uses, their uses continue to evolve.

A new technology using next-generation Bluetooth that is attracting attention is its use in IoT (Internet of Things). Using Bluetooth not only makes it easier to utilize IoT, but also enables highly accurate data exchange in limited ranges, such as indoors, where data communication has been difficult until now. So, specifically, what can be done with Bluetooth x IoT? In this article, we will introduce specific examples.

Introducing IoT examples using Bluetooth

table of contents

  1. Four examples of using Beacon
  2. Case 1. Mimatsu Co., Ltd.
  3. Case 2. Marui Textile Co., Ltd.
  4. Case 3. KAI Industries Co., Ltd.
  5. Case 4. Nestlé Japan Co., Ltd.
  6. Case 5. Kirin Beverage Value Vendor Co., Ltd.
  7. Utilization of Bluetooth (Beacon) x IoT depends on your ideas

Four examples of using Beacon

Beacon is a small Bluetooth module developed using BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy/Bluetooth with low power consumption), which is the next generation standard of Bluetooth. It has the feature that it can be used for a long time by using a button battery without requiring a power supply.

Beacon allows the transmitter and receiver to communicate, allowing the receiver (smartphone, etc.) to locate and transmit information. Many people think of GPS (Global Positioning System) as a positioning technology, but it has the disadvantage that it is not suitable for indoor use. For this reason, Beacon is superior indoors and can obtain accurate location information.

In addition, since it is possible to transmit information to receivers that approach Beacon, marketing measures based on behavioral economics are being developed, and various possibilities are being explored in modern business. Here, we will introduce four IoT examples that utilize Bluetooth.

Case 1. Mimatsu Co., Ltd.

At Mimatsu Co., Ltd. in Kyushu, which engages in a wide range of assembling machinery and equipment, including building parts and precision machined parts, the problem of lost trolleys was becoming increasingly serious. There were many cases in which carts used when delivering assembled products to customer companies were not returned, and the time spent searching for missing carts significantly reduced productivity.

Therefore, we introduced a system that captures position information using beacons, and by attaching a beacon to each trolley, we were able to display a list of the locations of each trolley on a factory map. By solving the “problem of lost trolleys”, there is no longer any need to spend time searching for trolleys, leading to an annual reduction in man-hours of approximately 3%.

Case 2. Marui Textile Co., Ltd.

Marui Textile Co., Ltd., a textile manufacturer based in Noto Town, Ishikawa Prefecture, is actively utilizing IoT, making it possible to meet a wide range of needs while keeping costs down. The company uses Beacon to attach sensors to looms so that employees can read operating information when they bring the terminal close to the loom.

As a result, even if a problem occurs, it is now possible to easily identify the cause. In addition, since the sensor can be retrofitted to obtain information from meters and movement, it can be used even with older models, leading to improved maintenance accuracy and productivity.

Case 3. KAI Industries Co., Ltd.

KAI Kogyo Co., Ltd., which employs 60 people involved in metal processing in Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefecture, is able to track progress and man-hours at the factory by obtaining location information on work instructions using Beacons. This system consists of work instructions being moved around the factory along with products and parts.

Moving the position of a work order means that the work done by the previous machine tool has been completed, and moving it means that the work has progressed. By measuring the time between each movement, it is possible to accurately grasp the number of man-hours, and as a result, it is possible to discuss improvements based on the data, which increases worker motivation.

Case 4. Nestlé Japan Co., Ltd.

Nestlé Japan Co., Ltd., which owns brands such as KitKat and Nescafe, has successfully increased shipping efficiency by using Beacons to visualize truck location information and status. When the driver arrives at the truck waiting area, information such as the destination, vehicle number, and driver’s contact information is registered on the Beacon tag and handed to the driver.

By using Beacon tags, you can determine the location based on this information, so you can know where the truck is going and when. We have completed a system that prepares for shipment according to the destination of the next truck and calls the driver at the best time. According to measurements by Nestlé Japan Co., Ltd., driver restraint time was reduced by 30% before and after the system was introduced.

Case 5. Kirin Beverage Value Vendor Co., Ltd.

Kirin Beverage Value Vendor Co., Ltd. is developing a service where LINE and vending machines are connected via Beacom, and users are given drink points each time they make a purchase from the vending machine. Every time a user accumulates a certain number of drink points, they can obtain a special ticket that allows them to redeem a drink for free, and they can accumulate points on LINE.

This is a high-value-added service that allows you to easily accumulate drink points as there is no need to download a new app.

Utilization of Bluetooth (Beacon) x IoT depends on your ideas

In a smart campus project promoted by a private university in China, thousands of Bluetooth routers are installed on campus, and approximately 4,000 students wearing wristband-type IoT devices are able to check their arrival and departure from school, manage attendance, and collect biodata. Health management and behavioral tracking are carried out through monitoring.

Furthermore, ABB, a global power manufacturer based in Zurich, Switzerland, has installed IoT devices on various machines operating at customer sites and remotely monitors their conditions to detect signs of failure before they occur. We are proceeding with the demonstration of a predictive maintenance system to deal with this problem.

New initiatives using Bluetooth (Beacon) x IoT are progressing around the world, and added value is expected to increase further in the future with combination use with 5G networks and location search functions using Bluetooth 5.1. Utilizing Bluetooth (Beacon) x IoT depends on your ideas. Why not take this opportunity to consider Bluetooth (Beacon) x IoT, which can solve various management issues?


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