What Does the Internet of Things (IoT) Mean for You and Me?
IoT or the internet of things has become omnipresent in most technological areas of our lives, whether we realize it or not. The reason for the increasing popularity of IoT is really pretty simple. It has transformed several aspects of our daily lives beyond recognition. As per projections, by 2020, there will be 31 billion devices connected to IoT. This is roughly 3 devices per person on this planet. And THAT, is a lot!
Let’s delve deeper into this.
What does this intriguing term, the ‘internet of things’ mean?
The meaning of the term internet of things is the technology by which everyday objects like appliances, vehicles, medical machinery – basically any device, can connect to the internet and share and receive data via it.
For example, the device you are using right now to read this article is an IoT device. Not just phones and computers, but almost any machine can now be connected to the internet. There are IoT coffee machines that send alerts when they are low on coffee. IoT-connected beds check and record data about your sleep patterns – the list is nearly endless.
What Does the Internet of Things Mean to Us?
IoT helps consumers in our daily activities but has also become a significant part of the routine working of many domains. From manufacturing to healthcare, every domain now uses IOT to make new breakthroughs. In practice, for a consumer, the internet of things means a smart home where sensors automatically adjust light and heating in the house depending on the time of the day, weather conditions, and room occupancy. In industry, it enables smart manufacturing units, where with the help of IoT, defects are identified and corrected before they can cause major damage.
Clearly, IoT is extremely versatile, which is why varied industries rely on IoT today.
Internet of Things in Healthcare
IoT is revolutionizing the healthcare domain. Doctors are able to remotely monitor and assist patients. They are also able to collect data using medical devices like insulin pumps with the help of IoT. This has helped reduce the death rate caused by delayed treatment. IoT also helps hospital staff manage inventory and keep track of the location of medical equipment like IV material and stretchers.
Today, we wear smart watches and health trackers that monitor our heart rate, the number of steps we have walked in the day, and our sleep patterns. Such on-the-go health technology is possible only because of the development of IoT.
Internet of Things in Home and Security
We live such times that our homes can be connected to us even when we are on a different continent. You can control the lights in your home and even switch the AC on while driving back home so that you are welcomed by a cooler home. You can open and close blinds while sitting on the sofa and program your coffee maker to greet you with fragrant coffee when you wake up in the morning.
One of the most fascinating IoT devices is the smart refrigerator that helps you decide the menu based on the ingredients available in the fridge and automatically orders food items that you have run out of.
There is a new IoT device by Amazon called the Amazon key, wherein the delivery person can scan the barcode on the package to open the door of your home and drop the package inside the house. As soon as the door opens, a camera starts recording the movement of the delivery person and when the door closes, the delivery confirmation is sent to the owner.
Internet of Things in Farming
In farming, it is difficult to predict the amount of moisture and nutrients needed by plants and under/over watering is a common issue faced by farmers. Internet of things helps us solve this problem using sensors. These sensors collect information about the soil and analyze it to give the farmers exact data about the quantity of water and fertilizers needed. Money wasted in over-watering or providing excess fertilizer can be put to better use to help farmers and the environment.
Internet of Things in Transportation
IoT is making its way into the transportation industry. Smart cars are the next big thing. Cars that drive themselves and find the perfect spot. What else could you ask for? Self-driving cars make roads safer because machines are more efficient and tend to be less prone to errors that can cause accidents. Smart cars can reduce the number of accidents caused due to sleepy and tired drivers, rash driving, and so on.
In addition to smart cars, drones are gaining increasing attention today. Drones are used to deliver packages and thus help in reducing traffic on the roads. They are connected to sensors that help you track your package and are a much faster mode of delivery than courier services.
The use of IOT in transportation helps identify issues in trains, airplanes, and ships. It can help in reducing the number of accidents caused due to faulty machinery.
Internet of Things in Manufacturing
Smart manufacturing units help in revolutionizing the production of goods.
According to a survey conducted by TCS manufacturers who used IOT solutions in 2014 witnessed an average 28.5% increase in revenue between 2013 and 2014.
The meaning of internet of things is manifold in manufacturing. It helps manufacturers track the raw materials used for manufacturing. It can prevent delays and help meet deadlines. It also collects data about product availability in various stores globally and helps in replenishing them on time. Such a system is extremely useful for inventory management and analyses of market trends to avoid supply shortage or inventory overload.
Internet of Things in Energy Savings
As we discussed, the internet of things ushers in the era of smarter homes with the use of smart lights and appliances. These smart lights also help in saving energy.
IoT helps to control temperature and lighting remotely. Sensors detect the occupancy of a room and switch the lights, fans/air conditioner off when there is no occupancy. This helps in saving energy and reduces ones energy bill to a great extent. You can control the temperature of your refrigerator when you are on a vacation and will get alerts if you have left any lights or appliances on in your house or office. In a multi-storied office building, these smart lights can help save a lot of energy.
Internet of Things in Smart Cities
What is the meaning of the internet of things in smart cities?
Smart cities are another great area where the internet of things can do wonders. Smart cities can integrate their devices and systems of daily operation to IoT and all can benefit from the data collected. This can help manage traffic and reduce the wait time in parking spots by notifying the driver about the availability of parking spots in a particular area.
It makes it possible to manage city waste efficiently and makes the recycling of all waste a reality. It can send alerts regarding the condition of roads and other infrastructure to city officials to prevent accidents, etc.
The Internet of Things is Here to Stay
As we have seen, IoT has become a major part of most domains and is advancing each day. If your home or business is not yet a part of this major revolution, it is time to analyze how you can benefit from this technology.
That being said that, IoT also calls for unprecedented amounts of security because any breach can make the data vulnerable to cyber-attacks and physical dangers. As with every invention, appropriate preventive and security measures are a must if we wish to enjoy the benefits of convenience, luxury, and efficiency offered IoT.