A figmentation of yesteryears, nurtured futuristic dreams, the smart offices, homes, voice controlled devices, self-driving automobiles and all that your mind can conjure, if not a reality yet, is a distant possibility with the emergence of “Internet of Things (IoT)”. The history of IoT in itself is quite revolutionary in nature.
The ‘What’ of IoT takes the Internet a step beyond merely connecting people together (business, social communication) or with systems (e-commerce, internet banking) to a level where it becomes all about inter connectivity of machines and systems by the use of sensors and actuators, collection and interpretation of information based on which actions can be taken to enhance productivity.
The immense possibilities and opportunities that it opens for physical and digital entities to interact either through artificial reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) with or without human interactions brings to fore numerous applications that it can assist with.
With every new technological advancement, the first thing that comes to mind, is how IoT works, how would it impact us, our business and the society as a whole. There’s always two sides to a story, coin, it all depends on us as to which of the sides do we associate or relate with.
So let’s focus on the positive impact that it brings rather than the ‘machines taking over the world’ scare or ‘losing jobs’ because at the end its just our figmentation brought to reality, let’s give credit to ourselves, if it ever comes to that, we will be a step ahead!
Our Dwellings are becoming smarter:
“Village” is fast becoming a term that is nostalgic with the migration of more and more people towards the cities or better still converting the villages into cities. With that the challenge of increased demand for water, energy, proper infrastructure, planning, pollution control etc. can all be made easy with proper deployment of an IoT enabled infrastructure.
The four components of an ideal smart city are, Smart User (us), Smart Building (the abode), Smart Grid (Power Supply) and Smart Information & Communication Technology (ICT) (The enabling component).
Installation of sensors in buildings and roads allows the government to come up with a 3D virtual representation of the city thus putting in place proper measures with in depth analysis at hand.
The use of data and technology, an IoT based Smart Cities works towards more efficient and sustainable infrastructure. Citing few would be reduced energy consumption with Smart city lighting, coping up with traffic congestion by smart routing of vehicular movements or re-routing based on real time data, early warning systems to counter and mitigate losses due to accidents and natural disaster as the information can be predictive or just in time for early responders, hospitals and police.
Hands off the wheels (Driverless Cars):
Scary thought at the beginning but with IoT it is much safer than with “hands on the wheels”. The concept of Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) and Autonomous Electric Vehicles (AEVs) would see a major reduction in human driving errors and the environmental benefit of reduced carbon emissions.
The typical IoT architecture for such, if it becomes a daily norm would include intelligent field level road side units, LiDAR & RADAR sensors, field sensors, backend software’s, ML analytics, all in tandem will work towards managing, optimizing, identifying potential risk, improving safety, timely security alerts in real time, better and safe traffic management ensuring unhindered mobility.
Donning IoT (Wearables):
Let’s just not limit our thoughts, as most of us would do to smartwatches or smart glasses, there are many wearables that are not only futuristic but also fascinating. A near field communication (NFC) ring taking care of the hassle of carrying credit cards, house & car keys with intelligent technology at a finger approach.
Worried about your posture, ‘Smart Posture Trainer’ preventing, strengthening and training your back and core muscles, smart shoes, smart gaming simulators, smart bands for blinds and the list goes on. One can only wonder at the various applications of IoT in our day to day lives.
IoT Impact on Industries:
The opportunity that IoT presents to businesses and industries to increase automation, analytics and data processing will drive change and innovations for decades to come. Variety of industries take it as a tool that offers them a lot of flexibility making it useful in different environment. Taking a look at some of the major industries where this disruptive technology is driving functionality.
Smooth and secure Manufacturing Industry:
The industry 4.0 or smart factory is no longer just a concept but a reality, if we go by statistics, 67% of industrial manufacturing companies are following ‘smart factory’ initiative, (The Atlantic). The intelligence backed devices can work in unison on a production line. Data collection and status check on equipment’s allows fail safes to be put in place, automated maintenance and recovery can be programmed to be initiated.
Analytics can help with programs that can help in iterating workflows and streamlining processes on the go. Not to mention optimizations and insights that has become possible by IoT backed data and analytics.
Reaping Benefits of IoT backed Agri “culture”:
Drones for field monitoring, soil monitoring sensors, water management, machines for routine operations, all internet connected assist farmers to keep a better track of crops and live stocks. Ever growing demand for food and the effects of climate change can be countered by the advancement of smart technologies.
Sensors around the farmland allows collection of data on temperature, soil, data that can prove essential to forecast weather and help in decision making as to when to sow, harvest etc.
The move from traditional farming to more effective precision farming is being fuelled by IoT.
IoT Energized “Energy Sector”:
Revolutionizing every facet of the energy sector, right from generation, transmission and distribution to the interaction between the customers and the companies, application of IoT is the force that has led the energy sector on a massive transformational path.
With it, remote asset monitoring and management has become easy and efficient, sensors tuned in to parameters to measure vibration, temperature thus optimizing maintenance schedules. Other sources of energy such as solar, wind, have also gained traction. The IoT powered smart grid technology assists in detecting fluctuations in power supply and demand, reacts autonomously and provides operators with data required to manage demand.
Never ending Story or so it seems:
IoT will spearhead and continue to present new opportunities for digital innovation, many of them will either be new or improved technologies. The forecast made by Gartner of 25 billion connected things in use by 2021 is only a precursor of things to come. As it matures, the legal, social and ethical issues will grow and would include ownership of data, its interpretation all keeping in mind privacy, compliance and adherence to regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
With infonomics and data broking set to become a strategic business asset, buying and selling of IoT data will become a part of the system by 2023.
The limitless future of IoT due to technological advancements and our desires to integrate devices and the possibility to connect machines and people on land, in the air or at sea, it would be interesting to watch how technology matches up with connectivity.
The potential that IoT has to increase the availability of data, finding ways to leverage its power in accordance with and within ethical frame is another story for another time.