The Internet of Things (IoT) seems to be the next big thing. New and upcoming operating system like Google Fuchsia and new technological developments like the Google Lens seems to be focused on it. But what is the Internet of Things (IoT) and how will it revolutionize the way we live? Read on to find out!
What Is Internet of Things (IoT)
According to Wikipedia, the Internet of things (IoT) is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data.
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In simpler words, the name is pretty self-explanatory. In the future, all your ‘things’ might have an internet of their own. This will let them send and receive data. The ‘thing’ can either be a physical object like your fridge or a virtual object which can be identified and integrated into communication networks. With IoT, you can envision a world where objects will be sensed and controlled across the network infrastructure. This will create opportunities for the integration of the physical world into the computer world. This will result in accuracy, efficiency, economic benefits, and reduced human intervention. Augmentation of IoT with actuators and sensors will make it a part of cyber-physical systems(CPS). CPS is a mechanism which is controlled and monitored with the help of computer-based algorithms and integrated with the internet and users. Basically, CPS is a system where physical and software components are intertwined and interconnected. Some examples of CPS are autonomous automobiles, smart cities, and medical monitoring. So basically, everything on IoT can be identified via its embedded computing system but it will also be able to operate within the existing computer infrastructure. It is estimated that by 2020, IoT will consist nearly 30 billion objects.
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Basically, IoT will offer an advanced connectivity of devices and services. IoT wants to go beyond machine to machine connectivity to cover other applications and protocols. The interconnection of embedded devices can take automation to the next level. Kevin Ashton from Procter and Gamble coined the term ‘Internet of Things’.
Application of Internet of Things (IoT)
The conventional method of reaching customers is via television, newspapers, and magazines. The world is now moving towards technologies that reach the target audience at the tight time and at the right location. The aim is to get the message to your targeted audience. Media industries use big data to capture data and target consumers. Internet of Things (IoT) will enable the media industries to collect and analyze behavioral data. Big Data and IoT work together. These two combined will let media companies gather data and accurately target consumers.
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With green revolutionists getting active everywhere, and rightly so, IoT can play a big role in environmental protection. IoT can help monitor air quality, water quality, soil conditions etc. Io can even help us monitor the wildlife. IoT can also prove to be useful in times of natural disasters like earthquake and tsunami.
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IoT will make it easier to monitor and control urban infrastructures such as railway tracks and bridges. IoT can alert city authorities about any changes that can be detrimental to safety. It can also be useful for maintaining a repair and maintenance schedule, by coordinating tasks and duties. IoT can also be incredibly useful during the times of crisis and emergencies by improving emergency response coordination and incident management.
IoT can improve the control and management of manufacturing equipment. It will speed up the production process, improve the response to product demands, and lead to greater optimization of the production process, with the use of sensors, networking machinery, and control systems. IoT can lead to greater automation of the production process and improve the safety of plants. The supply chain network can also be optimized by the use of IoT. In fact, IoT has so much business value, that it has given birth to a new subset of IoT, called IIoT( Industrial Internet of Things). IIoT can lead to the fourth industrial revolution, that’s how big it can be! The implementation of IIoT can generate around $12 trillion of GDP by 2030. As with the other applications of IoT, IIoT will work hands in hands with industrial big data.
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Integration of sensors and actuators with the internet can optimize the use of energy. IoT is expected to be integrated with all energy consuming devices, such as your television, bulbs, and switches, to communicate with power supply companies to balance power generation and consumption. IoT will also make scheduling devices easier.
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IoT devices can be used for remote monitoring of patients and emergency notification. Health monitoring devices such as blood pressure machines, heart rate monitors, and pacemakers can be used for remote monitoring with the application of IoT. Senior citizens can use specialized sensors so that their health can be monitored.
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IoT can help with the integration of controls, information processing, and communication across transportation systems. Application of IoT can cover all the elements of a transportation system, i.e. the driver, the vehicle, and the infrastructure. The interaction of these elements will facilitate communication, traffic control, parking, vehicle control, and safety assistance, amongst other things.
There are many planned and current applications of IoT on a large level to make room for better management of cities. The city of Songdo in South Korea is the first wired smart city which is near completion. Another ongoing project is the city of Santander in Spain. Basically, everything in these cities is planned to be connected and converted into a data stream that will be monitored and analyzed by computers with minimum human intervention. Other cities are using IoT to monitor and improve air and water quality, noise pollution, improving transportation efficiency, and traffic management.
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A number of IoT devices have been made for consumer use. For instance, connected cars, wearable tech, entertainment, smart homes, smart retail, connected health, and quantified self. Consumer IoT provides new experiences and interfaces. Because IoT is still in initial stages, a lot of these devices have not delivered an experience that is up to the mark and giving birth to expression ‘Internet of Shit’. Companies have come under fire for creating substandard IoT devices with poor security standards.
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Although IoT has a lot of wonderful applications, it has received its share of criticism. The first issue is platform fragmentation i.e. there are so many types of IoT devices working on different software that can make it difficult to create applications which will work consistently on inconsistent technologies. IoT devices can also be easy victims for security breaches because of amorphous computing. There are many privacy concerns too. IoT devices can be used for social control and manipulation. IoT devices can invade privacy. Smart homes can compromise the privacy of homes. Another challenge for IoT is cleaning and interpreting a huge amount of data. The semiconductor rich devices can also be harmful to the environment. The complexity of IoT and the concerns about privacy can prove to be a barrier for it.
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The Internet of Things (IoT) seems both exciting and scary at the same time. While it will make the world a more interconnected place and optimize operations, it will also invade our privacy. More than that, IoT is very complex. Interconnectivity of so many devices is not that easy. Let’s see how things go.
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Do the prospects of Internet of Things (IoT) excite you or scare you? Let us know in the comments below!