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IoT innovation and business transformation in action

A discussion with a senior engineer at Ingram Micro’s Business Transformation Center

June 11, 2019

Located on Ingram Micro’s Buffalo, N.Y., campus, the Business Transformation Center (BTC) is a unique facility where IT vendors can showcase their latest technology and where channel partners and their customers as well as Ingram Micro associates can see this technology in action in real-life business scenarios.
 
The BTC showcases solutions for retail, healthcare, education and other verticals alongside Ingram Micro’s data center. Visitors experience firsthand how the technology can help them achieve specific business outcomes, transform their operations and create new opportunities in the digital age.
 
IoT is one of the key areas of digital transformation being featured at the BTC. We spoke with Michael Mason, a senior engineer at the facility, about some of the current technology that’s on display there.

Which IoT solutions are currently showcased in the BTC?
We have 4 end-to-end solutions with all the components (sensors, gateways, connectivity and platform):
  • Roambee and LinkLabs/Airfinder, two solutions for asset monitoring and shipment tracking
  • Chargifi, a smart charging station
  • Buddy, a solution for utility monitoring in buildings, which has not been installed yet at the BTC

We also have an analytics platform from Tibco called Spotfire, which is typically included in IoT discussions.

In what settings are the IoT solutions being shown?
Buddy will be shown in our data center working in conjunction with temperature sensors in our hot and cold aisles. We will show how the technology measures power usage and monitors the HVAC.

The Chargifi smart charging station appears in various areas of the BTC—in our retail storefront, education space and conference rooms. It provides a service anywhere you want people to stay longer.

Airfinder is shown in our healthcare space. We use it to locate the carts and sometimes the people in this area.

Roambee Bees and Beacons are shown in our retail space. We demonstrate how they track assets there. We also take the Bees for a ride regularly to show outdoor tracking in the Roambee portal. 

What specific verticals/applications do these solutions address?
Tibco Spotfire can address any of the verticals. We have a dashboard showing examples of various vertical market use cases.

Chargifi really can be used in a variety of industries as well, but it plays really well in hospitality environments, such as bars, restaurants, casinos and sports venues.

Though Airfinder is currently being featured in our healthcare space and is certainly functional there, we see it fitting in more in manufacturing, used for asset monitoring and shipment tracking.

The Buddy solution is suitable for use in any building that wants to be smart.

What are your and the BTC's specific plans for growing your IoT showcase?
We have an agreement with our IoT division to bring in new solutions as they become available. Since “transformation” is in our name, these thought-provoking IoT solutions are primary drivers for the goals we want to accomplish in the Business Transformation Center.

We’ll continue to roll out new solutions. The very next pieces we bring in, though, will probably be multivendor kits rather than end-to-end solutions. We’re still working out the specifics.

What specific IoT requests have you gotten from partners/visitors who contact/come to the BTC?
The most recent request was for a sensor that could measure whether a garbage can is full or not. This came from an end user who owns various properties and would like to get an update on when a waste management situation needs to be addressed.

We currently don’t have a sensor that does this specific sort of thing, but we’re in negotiations to bring someone on board to help facilitate this.

How can customers engage with the BTC?
Customers can email our team at btc@ingrammicro.com or reach out to their Ingram Micro representative. Either way, a visit to the BTC is a great opportunity to see IoT in action and explore its potential for your business.