IoT or the Internet of Things is a fast-growing networking of physical devices through the internet. This enables devices to communicate with other devices and systems. The aim is to create a unified environment that boosts efficiencies. It is estimated that by 2020 over 20 billion devices will be IoT enabled.
The transformation will be sweeping as our lives become integrated with sensors, real-time data analytics, and cloud computing platforms to lay the foundation for the next technological revolution.
The immediate impact of IoT would be in making people and tasks more efficient. This implies that we’ll see higher output with the same inputs. Then we move to a level where the same output can be maintained with lesser input. This means we’ll get more items manufactured and multiple tasks completed using lower and lower units of energy, effort, and resources.
IoT Solutions Are Energizing the Corporate and Entrepreneurial World: The Future Is Here
Corporates and entrepreneurs are sensing that IoT enabled solutions are laying innovative foundations for growing businesses and transforming the way consumer needs are satisfied.
IoT Sensing and Analytics Boost Manufacturing Capabilities
Every process, every piece of functioning equipment has embedded sensors that relay data on actual performance. The data is transferred in real time to the cloud where analytics reveals how the manufacturing process is stacking up against preset targets. The system immediately locates problem areas and bottlenecks in production. Personnel on the factory floor set things right. This eliminates waste of time, energy, and resources, and improves factory output.
Preventive maintenance is a very time consuming, energy draining, and resource hungry job that slows manufacturing. Workers remain idle when machines are shut down for maintenance. IoT replaces prevention with predictive maintenance.
Sensing and data analytics can pinpoint the precise moment when machines reach the peak of their performance, and when they need servicing. Instead of a regular schedule of maintenance shutdowns, machines receive servicing only when they need it. Maintenance crews can be freed from time-wasting repetitive jobs and can be diverted to other tasks.
IoT Improves the Efficiency With Which We Consume Energy
Our living and working spaces require lighting and temperature adjustments, and we consume a lot of power to run appliances and machinery that emit light and modulate temperature. When light, heating, and power sourcing devices become IoT enabled, smart algorithms will sense changes in the environment and adjust device usage accordingly.
If there’s no meat in the freezer, temperatures climb down to optimum; if nobody is in a room, room heaters and lights are either automatically switched off or dimmed to low-energy mode. This is a great way of reducing our energy bills, saving money, and leaving a lighter carbon footprint.
Google uses a combination of IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to keep data centers cool. Thousands of sensors take snapshots of temperature settings every few minutes and relay the data to a cloud. The AI decides what to do and relays instructions back to the center that automatically adjusts the power settings. With minimum operator supervision, Google used IoT and AI to cut its energy bill by 15 percent.
IoT Boosts Agricultural Productivity While Conserving Resources
In an external environment, weather monitors detect changes in the weather, and sensors measure the moisture content levels in the soil. This enables IoT enabled devices such as a drip irrigation system to release water in minute quantities as needed instead of wasting water through unmonitored levels of frequent field irrigation. In this manner, IoT conserves water. In a greenhouse, sensors and connected devices optimize temperature, light, and humidity to increase production.
Inventory Management Becomes Efficient, Curbing Waste of Manpower
When you tag industrial finished goods with radio frequency identification (RFID) or Near Field Communication (NFC) tags, you can easily identify and locate a product among thousands of items in a large warehouse. This helps companies to streamline warehousing while saving the labor costs involved in searching, labeling, moving, and correctly placing goods in allocated spaces.
Retail stores benefit enormously through IoT. You’ll know the precise quantity of each and every item. You’ll know which items are moving fast and need replacement. Products that stagnate can be disposed of to cut inventory costs. You free up display shelves, use less labor, and you maximize sales with a leaner inventory. Many retail giants have leveraged IoT to free up floor labor, transforming them into creative customer leads executives and relationship managers.
IoT Brings Revolutionary Change to the Healthcare Sector
Chronically ill people, the elderly, and patients under intensive care require a high degree of personalized supervision. Remote patient monitoring is the IoT solution which is boosting the quality of healthcare and patient safety.
IoT enabled medical devices transfer data in real time to the cloud where information regarding the patient’s medical history and current health indicators are monitored. An algorithm can be programmed to detect and alert caregivers to minor alterations in basic parameters that impact health adversely.
IoT minimizes human error, and the patient receives emergency care when it’s needed the most. As the data is generated from the patient, the services can be personalized to each individual instead of following a general healthcare protocol.
Ongoing Projects Where IoT Solutions Impact the Quality of Life
- Environmental sensing is alerting us to catastrophes before they occur. Sensors in the air, water, and land are collecting and creating a huge repository of data. Data analytics combined with AI algorithms are enabling us to predict life endangering catastrophes like Tsunamis and earthquakes, thus saving precious lives.
- Law enforcement is strengthened using protective surveillance and criminal tracking. IoT enabled traffic signals, cameras, and smart sensors reduce traffic congestion points, detect traffic violations, and guide motorists to vacant parking lots, saving time and fuel besides enhancing safety.
- Workers handling hazardous waste live dangerous lives. Special equipment and bodysuits offer protection only against direct contact. But IoT enabled sensors provide advance warning. Sensors and IoT enabled scientific equipment can detect dangerous chemicals, harmful radiation, virulent pathogens, poisonous gases, and contaminated water before workers come into contact with them.
Sci-Fi Scenarios That IoT Solutions Unfold
Your family is away and you’re returning to an empty home. You ask your car to suggest a dish that you can cook. The car contacts the fridge and the pantry and gets a quick inventory of the ingredients so you can prepare the dish you like. On reaching home, the oven has already warmed up. A voice helps you locate the ingredients you need, and guides you through each step of the cooking process. You are reminded that you have to attend a function nearby. When you return, the dish you cooked lies warm and inviting in the oven, and you dig in.
Such a scenario goes far beyond just making you more efficient. IoT solutions make the environment shape itself to satisfy your needs and wants. In the process, IoT creates a life-enriching, life-altering experience that leaves you safer, happier and more productive. You’re also better connected to the people and devices around you.