The Internet is transforming every part of our daily lives, from our homes and offices to the cities around us. Today, we live in a world where some of our devices are connected to each other and to us. For example, Wearable Fitness devices that enable us to connect to our scales, or smartphones that allow us to connect to our lights.
However, imagine this on a bigger scale, where billions of devices are connected to each other, everything from cars and phones to wearable devices, appliances and jet engines. It is predicted that there will be 25 billion devices running on the IoT by 2020.
What is the IoT?
The Internet of Things (IoT), also known as the Internet of Everything (IoE), enable us to control objects and devices around us using the internet and smartphones, in order to gather information and which can be analysed. For example, allowing us to control the settings of our home lights using a mobile device.
The IoT was officially established in 2008 and as of now, there are 12 billion devices working on it. In 2010, Google came up with the self driving car which was a milestone for the IoT. Nowadays, there are a wide range of devices involved in the IoT such as security systems, cars, medical devices, electronic appliances and jet engines.
How do IoT Devices work?
IoT devices, are known as connected or smart devices which can communicate to other related devices by a process called machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. They are also able to respond to the information they get from each other. Living beings can interact with the device to initialize them or to access the data, but the devices do most of the work on their own without the need of human interactions. This has been made possible due to the use of high-end technology and nano components, as well as the internet.
These devices also generate massive amounts of Internet traffic, including lots of data that can be harnessed to make these devices more useful whilst also being manipulated for other purposes.
This technology provides us with real-time information with which we can monitor our home remotely. Sensors in buildings can help reduce unwanted disasters and warn us when an infrastructure is in danger of collapsing. Gadgets out in the open, can monitor for changes in environmental conditions and warn us of upcoming natural calamities.
Applications of the IoT
Smart home is the most used application of the IoT. Wouldn’t it be amazing if your door could automatically unlock when you arrive home, or if you could switch off your home lights and the A.C while you are away from home? This is all made possible by the IoT. Smart home help us to save energy, time and money all whilst making our lives a whole lot simpler.
Wearable tech includes Virtual Reality (VR) headset, fitness tracking devices and smart watches. These devices collect different types of data from the sensors embedded within them and help track the activity of the user. Fitness devices help monitor health and fitness data, while smart watches notify users regarding activities on mobile device and VR Headsets let us play games and enjoy videos.
Connected cars are cars that are able to optimise themselves for decision-making thus allowing them to avoid accidents. The Automobile Industry is diverting its investment towards technologies involving the IoT by making cars that can be controlled by smartphones.
Companies like BMW, Mercedes, Tesla and tech giants like Google are involved in the Research and Development (R&D) of connected and driverless cars.
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Industrial Internet and Big Data Analysis
Industrial Internet and Big Data are the new buzzwords in the tech industry. Data generated by the IoT devices are collected in real-time which help tech companies analyse the nature of their users on a large-scale thus providing them with more helpful services to increase efficiency, connectivity etc.
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A smart city is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of the overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability. Smart cities help us to solve the issue of traffic management, pollution and also the shortage of energy supplies.
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Agricultural Use of the IoT
Due to the increase in population, there is a high demand of food across the world and farmers, with the help of the government are using insightful results generated by geospatial data to increase the amount of yield. Soil requirements and control of water are some simple uses of the IoT in agriculture.
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Smart retail is useful to guide customers across the store. There are many uses of the IoT in the retail sector including automatic updating of the stock, sensor control across the whole store and the tracking of a customer’s path across the store to help improve the layout of it. Also, auto updating the cart whilst shopping and offering discounts to customers on their mobile screens.
Smart grids will provide more electricity to meet the rising demands, increased reliability and quality of power supplies, increased energy efficiency and will be able to integrate less polluting sources into power networks. It will aid in decreasing management costs and also reduce peak demands hence helping to decrease the cost of electricity.
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Healthcare and Medical Devices
The IoT will help to connect medical devices to the internet and allow them to be monitored remotely. Also, it will help in gathering medical data through which predictions can be made regarding the health of the patients, based on their previous health data and thus helping in increasing the average lifespan of humans.
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At it’s current pace of innovation, the Internet of Things (IoT), or the Internet of Everything (IoE). will give us an automated world that we see in sci-fi movies and will decrease human interactions as everything will be machine handled.