So what does the term ‘Internet of Things’ mean? The ‘things’ stands for every physical device, appliance or anything else that has electronics in its structure and is enabled for connectivity to the internet and capable of sharing information and data with other devices without the need for human instruction other than at the onset.
Every one of these devices has a unique identification due to the embedded mini computing technology in it. When we consider how the number of connected devices has grown exponentially over the last decade, the term starts to make sense. We have home intelligence systems, computers, mobiles, refrigerators and other appliances that are connected and collect information and can be sent instructions over the internet i.e. these can all be controlled remotely. There is more integration of technology with the physical world than ever before. We have pacemakers which are installed in human bodies that send data to the patient’s doctors anywhere in the world, there are systems that monitor our sleep and the quality of it, our workouts, our food, the list is endless.
While these are all things that are already present in our lives in one way or the other, it brings to mind that there might be other possibilities in other fields where IoT is set to change the way we live and do things.
Changing things at home
Smart homes are already a thing, with one being able to use biometrics to lock the house, set the coffee pot to start brewing at the same time as the morning alarm. People are setting the temperature settings from office so that they get home to a warm or cool house depending on how the weather is outside. Lighting can be controlled so that pets do not have to wait in the dark for owners to show, energy consumption can be controlled from remote locations, security systems keep the home safe in the absence of the owners. You can check to see if you put the oven off in case you cannot remember. The applications are endless.
Changing things at work
Thanks to the internet and connectivity the nature of the traditional 9-5 has also changed drastically. More and more people are opting for work at home options, or running businesses from cafes or anywhere they can sit with a Wi-Fi connection. In manufacturing units, now everything can be computerized and placed on a network. It is possible to execute process and quality control using technology and setting parameters for it. This reduces labour and allows for greater efficiency. It also allows for some manufacturers to work around the clock.
Service information networks and systems can be used to collect and collate data; therefore the plant can be monitored in real time. This can allow for optimization procedures to be implemented, increasing energy efficiency, the use of more environmentally friendly processes and allow them to be implemented with more ease, a large number of sensors can monitor various aspects of the processing or manufacturing plant and identify where changes can be made or where there are inadequacies that can be fixed at the earliest.
There are already new business models and the older methods and ways of doing business have changed. There are more efficient algorithms that identify trends in the market that can allow for businesses to take advantage of changes in their field at the earliest.
Looking at cryptocurrency, one gets a good idea of how the world has changed. It is no longer dependent on paper money or currency as recognized by a government or even a gold standard. There are multiple types of currency out there that are now being traded in and recognized as a viable form of exchange.
Smart classrooms have already been introduced and now there are programs that teach each child according to their individual capacities. Online learning has already got a wide audience and people are now learning from the comfort of their homes from some of the best minds in the world. Universities are now offering diplomas and degrees online itself which are recognized by companies and other organizations. Digital learning has made the whole world a campus.
The use of IoT and AI to create interactive learning helps students understand concepts more clearly and see how the interactions might actually work. If a child has complex chemistry or mathematical equations shown to him/her and is able to experiment with them objectively, his understanding and comprehension of the topic with be that much deeper and not just superficial memorization techniques.
With IoT companies are able to collect data and identify trends, collecting the news has become a global phenomenon, as now it is easier to track celebs and other famous people because of their Instagrams or pictures taken by fans on the road. Celebs themselves are more interactive allowing for fans to glimpse into their lives more regularly. Advertising has also changed as now online ads are customized based on a user’s profile and data collected from his or her internet usage.
The use of wireless sensors and the collection of weather data allows for farmers to be better prepared for any change in the environment. Farming techniques can be automated with ease which makes it useful for countries with large tracts of land but less human workforce. Farmers can take decisions to improve their productivity and minimize waste. It is easier to keep track of which large tracts of land and reduce mistakes which may occur by forgetting which tract of land has already been fertilized or not and which needs how much water based on which grain or vegetable is being grown over there.
IoT has already drastically changed the world we live in. People from even the late 1980s would be hard pressed to recognize the world today, as technology has integrated and improved almost every area of life and human-machine interaction is the norm, not the exception.