What can we expect in the age of the IoT?
The IoT (Internet of Things) is pushing the boundaries of connectivity. The technology is expected to transform the way we interact with the world around us, with a purpose of improving efficiency and quality of life.
We’re talking about a system of intelligent devices making things fall into place at the right time around us; opening doors for us, preparing us warm cups of creamy espressos when we wake up in the morning, turning on our thermostats before we return home from work, telling us what route to take to avoid traffic congestion, and beyond. These devices communicate over the internet, and a number of IoT plans are already available for them.
Businesses across the globe are increasing their spending on IoT to gain a competitive edge. Image Source
What’s more, IoT systems can also help us avoid the drawbacks of human errors and misinformation by providing us with more accurate, insightful, and actionable data.
And experts believe that these benefits are the tip of the iceberg, as there’s a host of new IoT applications and use cases on the horizon. But right now, we discuss the aspects of society that currently benefit the most from IoT systems.
IoT gives us remote access to home appliance and other resources through our smartphones. Image Source
The IoT has brought about the concept of the smart home, where appliances are automatically tuned to ready it for use. With the IoT, homeowners control appliances and fittings around their homes through their smartphones’ screen and voice commands. Thermostats are set to your favorite temperature, T.Vs to your favorite channels while you’re on the road back from work, smart entertainment systems loading up your favorite movie and music playlist automatically, your fridge alerting you about food that’s about to expire and automatically placing orders to grocery stores or supermarkets for refills of depleted supplies, and so on.
IoT is increasingly being adopted into mainstream manufacturing for automation purposes. With automation, manufacturers can eliminate a great deal of human errors to allow for the creation of perfected products.
Besides automation, IoT can also be used to monitor and control manufacturing processes remotely. The technology is facilitating the remote monitoring and management of inventories and machinery. Industrial IoT systems can alert management about the depletion of stocks as well as potential faults in machines that require urgent attention.
IoT systems can also be used to monitor the environment in the workplace to ensure that workers are performing at their best form, and that the working environment remains ambient and free from toxins and pollutants.
With the Internet of Things, health ails can be diagnosed, treated, and prevented in a timely and efficient manner. Health practitioners can use various remote health monitoring devices to observe changes in heart rates, blood pressure, metabolism, and other vital signs of a patient to diagnose and treat various ailments.
These remote monitoring devices can help send distress signals to doctors and health facilities in cases of health emergencies. IoT systems can also be used to automate surgeries in a way that minimizes human errors.
The transportation industry has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of IoT in the early days of the new technology. Thanks to the technology, we’re seeing a rapid rise of automation in the industry, with more cars functioning with levels of automation ranging from 1 – 5 (depending on the extent to which human intervention is needed).
Vehicle automation is poised to dramatically reduce the rate of accidents on our roads. It’ll also help transportation and logistics companies automate tons of grunt work in managing their fleets and commute activities.
The retail industry is also gearing up to take advantage of the new technology. We’re seeing a rise in the sales of smart appliances that can be controlled remotely, such as refrigerators, air conditioning systems, furnaces, entertainment systems, etc.
There are also the IoT tags (also known as Radiofrequency identifiers) that retailers can use to remotely monitor their inventories to avoid any unpleasant surprises and wastage. And, soon enough, we’ll be seeing the wide adoption of “smart buttons”, which allows customers to re-order supplies for their home and offices through a simple tap of a button on their smartphone screens.
In a city as a whole, IoT systems can be used to improve the daily lives of residents, including through the remote monitoring and regulation of environmental factors, road traffic, street lights, parking meters, and more. These measures will be used to prevent noise pollution, environmental degradation, and heavy traffic jams across a city.
Final words – Can you benefit from the IoT?
We can expect a variety of new IoT applications to emerge in the nearest future. These applications will make our lives easier, safer, and more productive, creating benefits across a number of industries beyond the home. From manufacturing to farming, health, cities and beyond, the IoT will boost connectivity of both machines and living things, fitted with sensors that detect changes in the environment and communicating the information to systems where commands can be issued. The concept can apply to pretty much everything, making the benefits endless.