Internet of Things is an extensive ecosystem imbibing connected physical objects that are accessible via the internet. The word ‘thing’ in IoT could be either a human with a heart monitor or an automobile integrated with built-in sensors. Basically, there needs to a presence of objects that have been assigned with an IP address and holds the ability to gather and transfer data over a specific network without manual assistance. This technology assists the object to interact with internal states or external environment that impacts the decisions taken.
How the Internet of Things Function?
Basically, an IoT ecosystem involves web-powered smart devices that harness the potentials of integrated processors, sensors, and communication hardware in order to gather, send and act on data that they have collected from their respective environment. IoT devices share the collected sensor data by connecting to an IoT gateway or any other edge devices wherein the data is either sent to the cloud for analysis or evaluated locally. In some cases, these devices communicate with other closely associated devices and act based on the data they acquire from one another. IoT is capable of performing most of the tasks without any human intervention. However, humans can communicate with the devices in order to set them up, access data, give them certain instruction, etc.
The Growing Prominence of IoT
IoT centres on automation and logistics that work towards providing smart solutions, driving efficiency and convenience. With the growing popularity of IoT, industries are walking towards a new era of the digital enterprise where companies are forced to find innovative ideas to deliver their products and services. More than product or service the battle of surviving in the market is shifting to the kind of experience that comes with those products and services.
Practical Applications of IoT
By the year 2020, the number of IoT is expected to reach 50 Billion, speculating a cost saving and profit of USD 19 Trillion. Evidently, the hype around IoT is tremendous. Every day the marketplace is witnessing some unique IoT enabled product. The potentials applications of IoT are far-reaching. Below we have listed down a few popular areas where applications of IoT have begun to transform human lives.
1. IoT in Wearables
Over the course of a few years, wearables have experienced an exponential demand in the market. Tech-giants such as Google, Samsung, Apple, etc. have already invested in developing digital wearables. Have you ever wondered how these devices work?
Wearables are integrated with sensors and software that gather data associated with the users. The data is pre-processed to extract important insights with regards to the wearer. The pre-requisite from the internet of things technology for these wearables is small and highly efficient.
2. Iot in Farming
When we talk about the applications of the internet of things, smart farming is one of the overlooked businesses scenarios. While people think that farming doesn’t complement this technology like other industries like health, industrial, mobility, etc. does, there have been some significant advancements in the integration of IoT in smart farming.
IoT holds the potential to seamlessly monitor the farming operations and managing the enormous livestock, thereby revolutionizing the way farmers have been working for years. Presently, this notion is at the inception stage; however, this is one of the probable applications of IoT that can prove to be highly profitable and productive for the entire agro-industry.
3. IoT in Homes
Smart homes are one of the most talked about IoT applications that has also been featured on Google. What exactly are Smart Homes? Imagine, how great it would be if you can switch off the light after you have left the home in case you have missed doing that? Or unlock the door for your friends even when you are not home? These are some of the many use case scenarios of smart homes that are aimed at making life simpler and more convenient.
It is slowly becoming the benchmark for success in the residential spaces and expected to become as apparent as smartphones. Additionally, the products equipped in a smart home are also expected to save time, money and energy. Smart home conglomerates including Ecobee, Ring, Nest, August etc. are working towards rendering unparalleled residential experiences.
4. Industrial Internet
Industrial internet, also known as industrial internet of things (IIoT) is creating a lot of buzz in the industrial sector. This new technology is empowering industrial engineering by extending sensors, software, and big data to create top-notch machines. Experts are referring IIoT as a magnificent, desirable, and investable asset. The invention of IIoT is backed by the notion that smart machines are more precise and consistent as opposed to humans when it comes to communicating via data. The precision of data can enable companies across the world to make their process more efficient and have a better approach towards solving complexities. Furthermore, IIoT holds a staunch potential for sustainability as well as quality control. Applications for tracking goods, real-time data of inventory among supplier and retailers, automated delivery, etc. can boost the efficiency of the supply chain.
5. Energy Engagement
Smart grids are not a new concept; they have been popular across the globe for many years now. Owing to IoT, the power grid in the near future will not only be smart but also reliable. The primary idea behind the smart grids is to gather data in an entirely automated manner and further analyse the behaviour of consumers and suppliers in order to enhance the efficiency as well as the financial side of the electricity use. Additionally, they will also be able to identify sources of power outage quickly and at an individual level, thereby ensuring a distributed energy system.
6. IoT in the Healthcare Industry
While IoT applications are present in the healthcare industry, their prominence and utilization remain limited. However, in reality, the concept of connected technology and smart medical devices hold enormous potentials for healthcare centres as well as the well-being of people. According to research, the implementation of IoT in healthcare will be massive in the coming years. This integration is intended to empower people in order to lead healthier lives by using connected devices. The vital data collected from these devices will assist in the personalized analysis of an individual’s health and offer customized strategies to combat the specific health condition.
7. IoT in Retail
Internet of things extends a great opportunity to retailers in order to connect with their customers and enhance their in-store experience. Smartphones will provide a way for retailers to stay connected with their respective customers even when they are not in the stores. Staying accessible to the customer via smartphones and other technologies can help retailers build a long-lasting and reliable clientele and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. Furthermore, they can also monitor consumers buying behaviour and personalize their services. Such personalized approach enables retailers to retain their customers and pave way for greater traffic in terms of potential leads.
8. Smart Cities
Smart cities are a powerful application of IoT that continuous to grab the attention of the global population. Automated transportation, smart surveillance, smart energy management system, urban security, smart water distribution etc. are some of the examples of IoT’s application for smart cities.
It is expected to combat the common issues faced by people living in urban areas like traffic congestion, pollution, lack of adequate electricity supplies etc. Through sensors and web application, people can identify free parking, detect meter tampering issues, malfunction in the electricity system and so much more. In fact, many countries have already begun their planning to build smart cities and working towards proving quality and convenient lives to their citizens.
9. Connected Cars
In the past, automotive digital technology was more centred on optimizing the internal functions of vehicles. However, with the advent of IoT, the focus has now shifted to enhancing the in-car experience. A connected car is basically a vehicle which is capable of improving its own operations, maintenance and comfort of the passengers through onboard sensors and internet connectivity. Conglomerates as well as start-ups including BMW, Apple, Tesla, Google, etc. are working on developing connected car solutions.
10. Smart Hotel Rooms
Well-reckoned hotels brands are working on integrating the internet of things into their system in order to create more enhanced travel and stay experience for their guests. Replacing card-based door keys with smart apps delivers better safety and security to the rooms. Additionally, lighting and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to provide a personalized experience to visitors. This feature allows guests to set lighting and manage the room temperature based on their preference. It also facilitates easier check-in and allows visitors to avail a detailed list of hotels services in a matter of few clicks.
What Does the Future Hold?
These were top applications of IoT that we can witness in the coming years. With IoT on the forefront, there will be thousands of devices and applications interacting with each other and human intervention will be minimal. It is going to bring a prominent transformation in the way people used to live and work.