The increasing amount of data generated by electronic chatter between today's wired-up everyday objects can be exploited to help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) enjoy productivity gains.
Last year, the Singapore Industrial Automation Association (SIAA) ramped up efforts to help staff from SMEs benefit from exploiting the "Internet of Things", as this is often termed, once the companies' staff are properly trained.
The "Internet of Things" involves objects - such as Web-connected watches, appliances and cars - collecting and exchanging data to help people make decisions.
It is a "critical enabler of productivity and efficiency", said association president Oliver Tian during a recent conference at the Singapore Expo.
The association and the Institute for Infocomm Research held two seminars - one last December and one last month - for 100 SMEs in the tourism and health-care sectors, to show them how this connectedness could benefit their businesses. Another seminar is slated in June for about 150 firms.
Having everyday objects connected to the Web could help the health-care sector with patients' rehabilitation, said Mr Ramesh Venkatraman, the association's special-interest group chairman.
He offered this example: It can be challenging for an elderly patient just discharged from hospital to return for frequent checks. However, if he has sensors attached to his limbs, the sensors can monitor his movements when he does rehabilitation exercises and send the data to the hospital to track his progress.
Not all employees might have the skills to implement such solutions. So, SIAA is in talks with polytechnics, universities and member companies to develop training programmes. These are slated to be rolled out by year's end.
"One programme is for supervisors and managers, to help them understand what the 'Internet of Things' can do for their businesses. Another goes into the nuts and bolts of technology implementation," said Mr Ramesh.
This article was published on April 30 in Digital Life, The Straits Times.
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