Internet of Things (IoT) are smart devices, vehicles, and even appliances equipped with electronic sensors, software, actuators, and connectivity that allows connection and data sharing in a wired or wireless system or network.
The possibilities are endless with IoT systems. Smart cities are moving out of conceptualisation phases to actual implementation because of this technology, which is under the arm of Artificial Intelligence and brushing elbows with Machine Learning. All these technologies are woven together to create smart cities and similar systems very soon.
IoT will revolutionise industries and sectors like agriculture, transportation and aviation, mining, energy, even businesses, and health care. IoT is reshaping the Internet as we know it, making the Internet even more integrated into our lives. IoT is the digital era’s next big thing.
Image Source: hIoTron
Gartner reveals that by 2020, most business processes and systems will have elements of the Internet of Things integrated into their systems and processes. Gartner identifies the following impacts that IoT will have on the side of both providers and consumers:
- Security: all the new smart devices and machinery will pose new cybersecurity threats that providers need to find solutions for.
- Privacy: the challenge is securing all the data being collected through multiple devices that control the IoT devices. If not secured, there can be breaches of privacy and other cyberattacks.
- Data: since significant data will be generated, the need for robust security protocols to keep all the data secured must be addressed. All collected and transmitted to be secure, both personal data (consumer-driven) and big data (enterprise-driven).
- Storage: There will be a need for storage infrastructure and management thereof. There will be a high demand for more storage capacity as data usage becomes more prevalent. The challenge is to find cost-effective means to harvest and store data right as early as possible, in preparation for the rise of IoT systems.
- Server Technologies: critical investments will be poured unto server systems as well.
- Data Center Network: Existing data centre WAN links are meant for moderate-bandwidth requirements. There is a need to increase that capacity significantly as IoT promises to radically change patterns of data transfer to the data centre for processing. Inbound data centre bandwidth requirements will also have to increase significantly.
Logistics companies were among the first to integrate IoT. Smart trucks were developed, with drivers using handheld scanners to provide real-time delivery alerts. Consumers can track their orders from the moment they purchased the product to every stage of the process until the item is delivered right at their doorstep. They get these notifications through email or their mobile phones.
Self-driving cars are now for real, and not just a figment of some movie writer’s imagination. Even regular cars are now using IoT for navigation and safety, also integrating entertainment systems into vehicles. Anti-collision sensors and parking sensors will soon become mainstream. Check out some developments on the way to the mainstream market soon:
- Forward Collision-Avoidance: with the use of forward-facing sensors, imminent collisions can be detected and increase braking force automatically to compensate for slow or insufficient reactions from the driver.
- Lane Detection: with the use of cameras, drivers can be alerted when they go off lane or if the sensors detect the driver has lost control, and automatically take over the steering wheel to bring the vehicle back to a safe steering pattern.
- Vehicle to Vehicle Communication: will be used, especially by self-driving our auto-driven cars. Manually-driven cars will also have this feature, following other sensors that will be integrated into most cars (anti-collision, etc.)
- Pedestrian Detection: Vehicles will now be able to detect pedestrians in their path and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a collision.
- Self-Parking: Already a reality, this feature will just further improve in the years to come, like drivers being able to leave the vehicle and the car ready to park by itself to a detected parking space. Cars will also have the ability to shut off and lock on its own without the owner.
- Software Download: cars will become like hardware devices for software, able to download, upgrade, and fix vehicles right at their owner’s garage. Tesla has already downloaded autonomous driving capabilities via the Internet.
IoT is changing the way industries function, from manufacturing, production line, distribution, and other aspects of operations. Operational efficiency is significantly increased and streamlined. IoT can conduct predictive maintenance and reduce maintenance costs by 30%, and cutting down on breakdowns by 70%. Detection of errors and malfunctions can be automated even in complex systems like water services and sanitation, aviation maintenance, and oil pumping stations. For instance, reducing failures by 1% for the global oil industry would add $19 billion more output per year. So, it’s not just to improve maintenance and operations, but to increase ROI by eliminating costs on breakdowns and malfunctions.
- Homes and Offices
IoT devices are now coming into our homes. Appliances such as refrigerators, air-conditioning units, thermostats, entertainment systems, home monitoring systems and other home appliances can now be controlled through the Internet, and even through mobile devices. For instance, Google’s Nest thermostat can adapt to the habits of the home’s residents and control equipment for cooling and heating to provide optimal temperature settings for optimised comfort and savings.
The same optimisation can be done for lighting, water usage and other appliances in the home that usually consume a lot of wasted energy. Even burners can be turned into smart devices to avoid accidents that can cause fires in the homes. Appliances can be set to run during non-peak electricity usage times. Refrigerators can now notify you when you need to replenish supplies. You can be alerted through your mobile phone, in real-time, gas leaks or smoke alerts. Preventive maintenance of these appliances can also be detected and conducted before breakdowns, avoiding costly repairs. Smart offices can integrate energy-saving benefits of IoT in their work areas as well.
- Health Care
IoT health devices like Google Fitbit and the like, have been around for some time now. These types of devices will continue to increase and may even be more of a mainstream requirement in the future as health care, and consultations become more prevalent online instead. Mobile health (mHealth) devices can do the following:
- Continuous glucose
- Blood pressure
- Infant care
- Oxygen level
- Brain activity
- Radiation exposure
- Pain relief
- Skin conductance
Hospitals are beginning to integrate these technologies into their healthcare systems, to augment what doctors could do and how many patients can be served. IoT can also be used to monitor medication usage in case of missed alerts or incorrect dosage. Health care workers in remote areas will also be able to get medical support better through IoT technologies, ensuring that quality consultation and services will be able to reach far-off places immediately.
- Cities and Infrastructure
Manual house and infrastructure inspections are very costly, limiting, and time-consuming. Through IoT technologies, sensors can be built into homes and infrastructure to gather data that can be used to conduct preventive maintenance and also troubleshoot any malfunction. It can be blown into city-wide operations, to make smart cities easier to maintain and improve, providing better services for inhabitants.
Conclusion: IoT will Make Our Future More Convenient
IoT should not be feared at all. As the IoT technology continue to be developed and incorporated into our daily life, we will see how our lives will be made more convenient. We just need to be ready.
John Ocampos is an Opera Singer by profession and a member of the Philippine Tenors. Ever since, Digital Marketing has always been his forte. He is the Founder of SEO-Guru, and the Managing Director of Tech Hacker. John is also the Strategic SEO and Influencer Marketing Manager of Softvire Australia – the leading software eCommerce company in Australia and Softvire New Zealand.