What is Internet of Things really?
Simply put, it is things connected on the Internet.
What a surprise!
And by things, I mean devices. Already more devices than people are connected to the Internet. According to research by Cisco 50 billion things will be connected to the web by 2020. When world population is around 7.5 billion.
Just to impress you even further, it is estimated that IoT will add 1,9 trillion dollars to the global economy over the next 10 years (Cisco). Interesting, huh?
IoT is here and it is already affecting the way we live our lives and the way businesses function. It is about time we all understand the term, grasp the challenges it poses and appreciate what the future brings.
I believe it is important that all citizens of our world know about the recent technological developments, understand their basic functionality and make the most of them.
It is through this technology that our world is going to become even more efficient and even more rewarding.
How does it work?
Internet of Things is not about devices and data. The main aim of this technology is the collaboration of elements with a purpose: to find a solution to a problem. An IoT strategy offers a holistic approach to problem solving.
This web of things involves three main elements:
- devices for collecting data
- clouds that store data
- software that analyses data and turns it to meaningful information
What is Internet of Things used for?
As depicted in the graph below, the top three markets are smart city, industry and buildings. Not far behind we see cars, smart energy, agriculture and health services.
At home IoT applications include:
- light bulbs
- per feeding
- energy monitoring
In buildings there is applications in:
- structural integrity
- energy consumption
- emergency alerts
In transport there is applications in:
- smart parking
- public transport
- shipping and supply chain
In health IoT offers applications for:
- monitoring the elderly
- caring for patients more efficiently
- remote diagnostics
- bio wearables
- hospital hygiene
Not to forget the smart cities and the general industry where applications include:
- waste management
- utilities smart grid
- augmented emergency services
What are the benefits?
IoT is expected to add 1,9 trillion dollars to the global economy over the next 10 years. How is that going to happen?
The potential of this growth is driven by four parameters:
- Improved performance of existing processes
- Reduced costs for energy and maintenance
- Innovative services
- New revenue streams
To be more precise and give you a better idea of the IoT potential here are some examples:
• In smart buildings it is expected that huge savings will be generated simply by lowering operating costs and reducing energy consumption.
• In smart cities, savings are generated through efficient waste management as well as innovative management of parking spaces. Citizens will be able to find and reserve the closest available space and local authorities can implement demand-based pricing.
• In the health sector there are devices for monitoring patients, people with disabilities and special needs. There are motion detectors and sensors that can immediately notify for help if someone has had an accident.
Challenges posed by Internet of Things
As with every significant development, this technology poses challenges both to organizations and governments. They include:
- Technological standardisation which is still fragmented
- Rapid innovation which poses significant challenges to governments
- Appropriate governance of holistic approaches
- Security, privacy and compliance
According to Samsung’s Open Economy document, more than 7.3 billion devices need to be made secure by their manufacturers by 2020.
Organisations have valid concerns about security, privacy, transparency and compliance. This is a challenge for businesses that function within IoT but one that is addressed by technology giants such as Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon Web Services and others.
Hopefully I was able to convey the meaning of the term Internet of Things without the use of overpowering terminology. I really do admire the fact that IoT is created with intention and that each application serves a specific purpose. Each time it is tailor-made to provide a solution.
The scale of the benefits is mind-blowing, and I am most impressed by the potential for change in our world. Positive change.
I feel it is our duty to learn as much as possible about those developments, to be prepared and make the most of them at home, at work, in our community.
It is for our collective benefit that we have to make the most of all those technological advancements.
Human creativity has been moving us forward for centuries. This is yet another step!
I would love to know your thoughts on this. Are you also excited about IoT? Send me a reply and let me know.