The Internet of Things
We’ve seen some major technological explosions in the last decade, such as the introduction of tablet computers, smart watches, 3D technology, artificial intelligence, and many more. We probably thought we had seen it all, but the Internet of Things (IoT) raises the bar higher.
What is the IoT? The Internet of Things refers to interconnected devices that share information and data among themselves through the use of the internet without a human to human (or human to computer) interaction.
The IoT has been infused into almost every aspect of our lives that many of us aren’t aware of. While most of us only think about things like driverless cars, thermostats, smartwatches, the IoT also encompasses industrial machines in the mining and farming sectors, robotics in healthcare, smart cities, and beyond. And with the emergence of 5G networks set to improve wireless network technologies and even satellites with Low Earth Orbit (LEO), all of these IoT applications will become even more widespread.
In this article, we take a look at the many ways the IoT performs so many functions in our lives.
IoT applications. Image Source
5 most impactful uses of the Internet of Things
From personal to organizational and governmental use, the IoT has a lot to offer a range of industries. Here are five uses of the Internet of Things that will have some major impacts.
Healthcare services are costlier than ever and we are approaching a stage where basic healthcare services could become out of reach for most people. This is largely due to the increase in population and the rise of chronic diseases. It is much believed that lives can be saved if symptoms are caught early, and the IoT can play a role in doing just that.
The IoT enables real-time monitoring from anywhere in the world via connected devices. In the case of medical emergencies such as heart failure, diabetes, asthma attacks, and more, this real-time monitoring comes in handy by being able to warn of health issues before they become severe.
A monitoring system benefiting from IoT technology could keep track of everyday bodily functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, the number of steps taken daily, water in-take reminder, and so on, and store data or send to your healthcare personnel.
IoT applications are becoming very common in consumer homes. From your Amazon Echo to your smart thermostat and smartwatches that already have data plans of their own, chances are you’ve experienced the IoT at home in one form or another. Imagine coming home from work, tired and all you want to do is take a hot bath. With the aid of IoT technology, you can choose your desired temperature for the bath and also run the bath before you get home, turn on your thermostat, and even talk to visitors at your door when you’re not home.
Shoppers pick, scan, and pay for items with the use of machines with little or no human interference. As of 2013, there were 191,000 self-checkout units worldwide. Now, those self-checkout systems have taken on a broader description, thanks to the IoT.
Today’s retailers can now enable customers pay for items without going through any checkout kiosks with the aid of QR codes placed on the item packaging. Those QR codes are scanned by the customer’s smartphone and payment is made. This eliminates long queues at checkout stations, and improves the customer experience.
This is a farm management technique for increased production using modern technology. It could be data management, soil scanning, and testing, cross-breeding, automated irrigation, and more.
Another concept that is becoming common practice with smart farming is the use of agricultural drones. This concept saves time and is easy to use, as covers over a large area in a short amount of time.
The IoT in farming also includes livestock monitoring, where farmers can observe the health of their cattle, especially the sick and pregnant ones, from the comfort of their homes and are alerted of changes in their status.
Smart cities are taking advantage of IoT applications, positioning different devices throughout to assist in data collection and effective running of the city. These devices help to monitor things like traffic and transportation systems, power plants, utilities, water supply networks, waste management, crime detection, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals and beyond, to improve efficiency and quality of life.
IoT applications are everywhere – from your home to cities and major industries such as mining, farming, and healthcare. The purpose behind the technology is to increase efficiency and improve quality of life. Sensors implanted in devices (or living things) collect data about their environments and communicate that data to determine if any changes are needed. Such automated detections can save costs, time, and labour, increasing the lure of the technology.