Internet of (every)Thing
Did you ever wish for a fridge that would just tell you what did you run out of? Would you like to forget about going in circles for ages before finding a parking spot? Would you like more efficient and enjoyable products?All this and more are possible with the growing technology of Internet of Things.
Today we are going to see, what is IoT, the endless opportunities it brings, and some great examples.
Internet of Things
Internet of Things means all of the devices which we can connect to the internet. It does not just consider your laptop and mobile. Smart devices, which we are able to connect to the Internet are appearing everywhere around us, and by 2020 there should be about 50-100 billion devices (data from SAP/ Intel and Ericsson).
The idea behind the Internet of Things is extending the Internet Protocols to wireless sensor networks, composed of sensors and actuators. It automates and manages communication between multiple devices.
What do these sensors and actuators do:
- Gather information from things and send commands to things
- monitoring: state information
- control: command enforcement
- Send information back and forth remote locations
- Store and aggregate information
- Analyze information to improve system knowledge
- Take decisions, in a human-assisted or autonomous manner
Easier- Internet of things describes each device with a sensor or small computer, which can be connected to other devices via the Internet. These devices can gather and analyze information, take decision and action even autonomously. They form a network with other devices via the Internet.
Internet of Things is not necessarily a new kid on the block. Before IoT remote monitoring and data were available for years. It was a central control system with some sensors, controllers, used in industries such as gas/oil distribution, traffic control, electrical power supply. These systems are called SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), and are widely-tested and reliable solutions. However, the systems are expensive, there is no interoperability, and are difficult to maintain.
Internet of Things came into being with 2 game changing improvements. The decrease of the cost and size of hardware, and better and cheaper wireless communication. This made various devices to the internet widely accessible and profitable.
Benefits of connecting everyThing
I would like to start here with a quote from Kevin Ashton, to inventor of the phrase Internet of Things in 1999.
"Conventional diagrams of the Internet include servers and routers and so on, but they leave out the most numerous and important routers of all: people. The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy—all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world. "
Internet of Things makes capturing data possible without using our precious human resources. We can gather plenty of information, to see more precisely how things work, and act on it. Moreover, we can program our devices to carry out actions automatically.
The IoT technology comes hand in hand with technological advancements in Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence processes all the data coming from IoT, provides insights, and decides which actions to take based on this data.
The most amazing thing for me, is what IoT and AI can do to increase customer experience and usability. Devices will be able to know exactly our needs, and completely personalize the experience for each customer by themselves. This will mean, that we can get completely comfortable and forget about day-to-day tasks, and turn our attention to more important issues, as our devices will take care of our needs. This means arriving to a comfortable temperature at home, turning of the lights without even thinking of it, or letting go of worrying about the safety of our home when away. It is a new era of products and workflow, which provides safer, more efficient and enjoyable experiences.
This can mean, smarter living, better cities, improved health care.
Sidenote- threat of connecting everything
We need to keep safety, and especially cybersafety. The sensors and mini-computers built into plenty of these devices are too small to have massive protection against cyber attacks. The threat imposed is not just dangerous to the device itself, but malicious attacks can spread on the network of connected devices.
The things of IoT
Have you seen Iron Man? Do you remember Jarvis? Well Jarvis is now real, it can be called Echo, Alexa or Google home. Voice enabled smart home assistants can help you control your energy consumption, the temperature, safety and so much more in your home. You can use NEST to optimize your heating and cooling system, or Roomba, a vacuum robot to clean your house when you are away.
Making a better living in an urban environment has been accelerated by IoT. Cities can monitor pollution, traffic, cleanliness, crime. They can provide citizens with information about parking spaces, public transportation, bike and car sharing programs real time. These cities are spreading across the globe, and there are great many examples in the article here.
Our health and wellbeing is a top priority. There are some devices which serve the general public health- look at Fitbit, and the different smart wearables, reminding you to move, monitor your heart rate, or even glucose level, or forks to help eating slower.
Healthcare can be greatly improved by applying sensors, and having bigger amounts of data available from our day to day lives. Smart devices can help building a healthier lifestyle, and can prove to be a life saving tool in emergency situations.
These are just some very brief examples on what this amazing technology can do for us, the sky is not even the limit. It can help us live better, safer, more enjoyable - by letting us concentrate on the really important things and taking care of the rest.
I am very curious to see: what would be a device you would find useful? What are you most excited about in IoT?
I am super happy to hear from you, do give feedback and comments!