The Internet of things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects-“things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet.
Things have evolved due to the convergence of multiple technologies, real-time analytics, machine learning, commodity sensors, and embedded systems. Traditional fields of embedded systems, wireless sensor networks, control systems, automation (including home and building automation), and others all contribute to enabling the Internet of things. In the consumer market, IoT technology is most synonymous with products about the concept of the “smart home”, including devices and appliances (such as lighting fixtures, thermostats, home security systems and cameras, and other home appliances) that support one or more common ecosystems, and can be controlled via devices associated with that ecosystem, such as smartphones and smart speakers. IoT can also be used in healthcare systems.
Why Is Internet of Things (IoT) so important?
Over the past few years, IoT has become one of the most important technologies of the 21st century. Now that we can connect everyday objects—kitchen appliances, cars, thermostats, baby monitors—to the internet via embedded devices, seamless communication is possible between people, processes, and things.
By means of low-cost computing, the cloud, big data, analytics, and mobile technologies, physical things can share and collect data with minimal human intervention. In this hyperconnected world, digital systems can record, monitor, and adjust each interaction between connected things. The physical world meets the digital world—and they cooperate.
What Technologies Have Made IoT Possible?
While the idea of IoT has been in existence for a long time, a collection of recent advances in a number of different technologies has made it practical.
Access to low-cost, low-power sensor technology– Affordable and reliable sensors are making IoT technology possible for more manufacturers.
Connectivity– A host of network protocols for the internet has made it easy to connect sensors to the cloud and to other “things” for efficient data transfer.
Cloud computing platforms- The increase in the availability of cloud platforms enables both businesses and consumers to access the infrastructure they need to scale up without actually having to manage it all.
Machine learning and analytics- With advances in machine learning and analytics, along with access to varied and vast amounts of data stored in the cloud, businesses can gather insights faster and more easily. The emergence of these allied technologies continues to push IoT boundaries and the data produced by IoT also feeds these technologies.
Conversational artificial intelligence (AI)- Advances in neural networks have brought natural-language processing (NLP) to IoT devices (such as digital personal assistants Alexa, Cortana, and Siri) and made them appealing, affordable, and viable for home use.
What Is Industrial IoT?
Industrial IoT (IIoT) refers to the application of IoT technology in industrial settings, especially with respect to instrumentation and control of sensors and devices that engage cloud technologies. Refer to this titan use case PDF for a good example of IIoT. Recently, industries have used machine-to-machine communication (M2M) to achieve wireless automation and control. But with the emergence of cloud and allied technologies (such as analytics and machine learning), industries can achieve a new automation layer and with it create new revenue and business models. IIoT is sometimes called the fourth wave of the industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0.The following are some common uses for IIoT:
1. Smart manufacturing (visit Oracle Cloud Manufacturing)
2. Connected assets and preventive and predictive maintenance
3. Smart power grids
4. Smart cities
5. Connected logistics (visit Oracle Cloud Logistics)
6. Smart digital supply chains
How does it work?
Devices and objects with built-in sensors are connected to an Internet of Things platform, which integrates data from the different devices and applies analytics to share the most valuable information with applications built to address specific needs.
These powerful IoT platforms can pinpoint exactly what information is useful and what can safely be ignored. This information can be used to detect patterns, make recommendations, and detect possible problems before they occur.
For example, if I own a car manufacturing business, I might want to know which optional components (leather seats or alloy wheels, for example) are the most popular. Using Internet of Things technology, I can:
Use sensors to detect which areas in a showroom are the most popular, and where customers linger longest;
Drill down into the available sales data to identify which components are selling fastest;
Automatically align sales data with supply, so that popular items don’t go out of stock.
The information picked up by connected devices enables me to make smart decisions about which components to stock up on, based on real-time information, which helps me save time and money.
With the insight provided by advanced analytics comes the power to make processes more efficient. Smart objects and systems mean you can automate certain tasks, particularly when these are repetitive, mundane, time-consuming or even dangerous. Let’s look at some examples to see what this looks like in real life.
10 Real World Applications of IoT
1. Smart Home
With IoT creating the buzz, ‘Smart Home’ is the most searched IoT associated feature on Google. But, what is a Smart Home?
Wouldn’t you love if you could switch on air conditioning before reaching home or switch off lights even after you have left home? Or unlock the doors to friends for temporary access even when you are not at home. Don’t be surprised with IoT taking shape companies are building products to make your life simpler and convenient.
Smart Home has become the revolutionary ladder of success in the residential spaces and it is predicted Smart homes will become as common as smartphones.
Wearables have experienced a explosive demand in markets all over the world. Companies like Google, Samsung have invested heavily in building such devices. But, how do they work?
Wearable devices are installed with sensors and softwares which collect data and information about the users. This data is later pre-processed to extract essential insights about user.
These devices broadly cover fitness, health and entertainment requirements. The pre-requisite from the internet of things technology for wearable applications is highly energy-efficient or ultra-low power and small-sized.
3. Connected Cars
The automotive digital technology has focused on optimizing vehicles internal functions. But now, this attention is growing towards enhancing the in-car experience.
A connected car is a vehicle which is able to optimize it’s own operation, maintenance as well as comfort of passengers using onboard sensors and internet connectivity.
Most large auto makers as well as some brave startups are working on connected car solutions. Major brands like Tesla, BMW, Apple, Google are working on bringing the next revolution in automobiles.
4. Industrial Internet
Industrial Internet is the new buzz in the industrial sector, also termed as Industrial Internet of Things ( IIoT ). It is empowering industrial engineering with sensors, software and big data analytics to create brilliant machines.
According to Jeff Immelt, CEO, GE Electric, IIoT is a “beautiful, desirable and investable” asset. The driving philosophy behind IIoT is that, smart machines are more accurate and consistent than humans in communicating through data. And, this data can help companies pick inefficiencies and problems sooner.
5. Smart Cities
Smart city is another powerful application of IoT generating curiosity among world’s population. Smart surveillance, automated transportation, smarter energy management systems, water distribution, urban security and environmental monitoring all are examples of internet of things applications for smart cities.
IoT will solve major problems faced by the people living in cities like pollution, traffic congestion and shortage of energy supplies etc. Products like cellular communication enabled Smart Belly trash will send alerts to municipal services when a bin needs to be emptied.
6. IoT in agriculture
With the continous increase in world’s population, demand for food supply is extremely raised. Governments are helping farmers to use advanced techniques and research to increase food production. Smart farming is one of the fastest growing field in IoT.
Farmers are using meaningful insights from the data to yield better return on investment. Sensing for soil moisture and nutrients, controlling water usage for plant growth and determining custom fertilizer are some simple uses of IoT.
7. Smart Retail
The potential of IoT in the retail sector is enormous. IoT provides an opportunity to retailers to connect with the customers to enhance the in-store experience.
Smartphones will be the way for retailers to remain connected with their consumers even out of store. Interacting through Smartphones and using Beacon technology can help retailers serve their consumers better. They can also track consumers path through a store and improve store layout and place premium products in high traffic areas.
8. Energy Engagement
Power grids of the future will not only be smart enough but also highly reliable. Smart grid concept is becoming very popular all over world.
The basic idea behind the smart grids is to collect data in an automated fashion and analyze the behavior or electricity consumers and suppliers for improving efficiency as well as economics of electricity use.
9. IOT in Healthcare
Connected healthcare yet remains the sleeping giant of the Internet of Things applications. The concept of connected healthcare system and smart medical devices bears enormous potential not just for companies, but also for the well-being of people in general.
Research shows IoT in healthcare will be massive in coming years. IoT in healthcare is aimed at empowering people to live healthier life by wearing connected devices.
10. IoT in Poultry and Farming
Livestock monitoring is about animal husbandry and cost saving. Using IoT applications to gather data about the cattle’s health and well-being, ranchers knowing early about the sick animal can pull out and help prevent large number of sick cattle.