Last Sunday I attended an interesting session at Oracle OpenWord. It was a session about how Federal Express, an American company who delivers parcels, used the electronics in cars that monitor tyre pressure, a lot of parameters from the engine and the gps of the car to collect huge amounts of data. With this data they could coach drivers to drive more fluently to save fuel and prevent excessive engine and tyre wear. They saved money because they optimized routes and minimized the time of cars running idle. They could also inform the customer exactly when the parcel would arrive, because they could see live how well the trip is going (deviations or accidents and a very lucky drive were all noticed and used to update the estimated time of arrival).
I thought it was an inspiring session, because they used what is already there (the car electronics, a database), and combine it with a small device that sends all this information via the phone data network to the organization. Then they add clever analytics software and they are much more in control, and can use and maintain their equipment much more efficiently. In the past there was a little buffer taken for many things, now that is no longer necessary, because they can see exactly when, for instance, the tyres of the car need to be resurfaced, because one can see the exact mileage.
The next day Mark Hurd was talking about predictions he had made, and proving that they were right. One of them was that much more devices in our lives will be connected with each other to make our life easier. Until now I had the idea that all these things were not going as fast as he had predicted them.
But suddenly I realized that even in my own life a lot of things are being combined with each other to comfort my life: if I start up my Blu-ray player, my TV is automatically started, my ‘toon’ (smart thermostat and domotica controller) measures how much power I use and tells that to the power company, so that I don’t have to fill in a end-of-year measurement manually anymore. If I step into my car, my phone is automatically connected, and the app ‘flitsmeister’ is automatically started because it detects that the phone connects to my car. If I Google a restaurant on my phone, I can let google maps guide me to there, if I hear a good song, I can let Shazam listen to it, and find the song’s title for me. When I booked Oracle OpenWorld with my credit card, the bank called me to check if that was a normal, wanted transaction.