Why is everybody talking about IoT?
In the movie “Terminator”, Skynet, an artificial general intelligence machine with sensors everywhere, tries to destroy the human race. James Cameron created one of the most popular antagonists of all the time with this character with a superpower to receive real-time information about almost everything. Looking past the moral aspects of the character, Skynet can help us to understand the latest technical jargon “The Internet of Things”.
Internet of Things, a term that many users have been bespattering the search engine with is not a new idea; it had been there for a decade now. Often IoT is related to consumer-oriented products like smart watch, smart home, and fitness band and so on. But in fact, it is the network connectivity or internetworking of the smart devices rooted in software, sensors, and actuators that facilitate these objects to collect and exchange data. Big Question, what does it means in real life and why everyone is going gaga over it?
What Actually IoT Means and how it can change your everyday life?
IoT is as simple at its core as connecting devices over the internet, letting them interact with us and each other. What if your car could tell you that your fridge is out of veggies and you need to pick them up while going back from work? The idea of smart homes to save energy, turning to heat remotely, set it to turn down the temperature on a sunny day. These are a few oversimplified examples of IoT. But, it is more than smart homes, connected home appliances, and if we trust the hype, Internet-connected sensors and applications will shortly be facilitating every vital aspect of our lives.
Internet of Things is here ever since the development of microprocessors and network-based instruments companies in the process industries but the question is: how it is actually beneficial? How would it impact our lives? How would it benefit our businesses?
It would enable the production of smarter products…
A few years back, the function of cell phones was only restricted to making calls and sending messages. But today, our phones have turned into smartphones, capable of doing almost everything for us. Similarly, other objects that we carry in our pocket are expected to become smarter than before. At first, internet-enabled frying pan, a smart tennis racket, a smart yoga mat, might look like a just another fancy idea, but all these can be considered as the first forays of the Internet of things. However, which one of such products will thrive and which one of them will go the way of Pet Rocks that only time will tell.
It would facilitate smarter business operations and decisions…
A big part of the IoT is high-tech sensors. This path-breaking innovation can be attached to everything from the building materials to yogurt cups, enabling them to record and send data to the cloud in order to improve the services and products. It will also allow businesses to collect more specific product feedback. For example, Rolls Royce aircraft engines contain high-tech sensors that enable transmitting real-time data on the engine’s function to the monitoring stations at the airport. Further, this information enables the detection of any aircraft malfunctions before they become calamitous, and possibly to prevent any airplane disasters. Similarly, Microsoft uses software that collects data and feedback about its product line to pull down the least popular ones and to focus on the most popular ones.
It would revolutionize the business model…
IoT signals the possibility of a major change in the business model for some specific businesses. John Deere — an American corporation that manufactures forestry machinery, diesel engines, and drivetrains that are used in heavy equipment, and lawn care equipment. For decades, they were selling tractors that made farming easier and more profitable. But if we look at the company’s recent products, data connectivity have been added to their products. This provides information to the farmers about the type of crops that should be planted, planting season, and even the most suitable plowing route. This means that eventually, they can sell agricultural data or information as much as they are selling farming products.
Overall, the IoT is representing a shift in paradigm, an overall tilt in how we see the world. It stands today where the internet revolution stood in the early 1990s.
The Internet of Things has great promise to the future, yet it is facing business, policy, and technical challenges. The early adopters will need to demonstrate that the sensor-driven business models create superior value without compromising data privacy and data security, particularly for uses that touch on sensitive consumer information. Legal liability frameworks for the automated systems will have to be established by governments. On the technical front, the cost of sensors and actuators must fall to levels that will promote their widespread use. Networking technologies need to evolve to facilitate free flowing of data among sensors and actuators. Sophisticated software to aggregate and analyze huge volume of data to guide automated systems more appropriately will be required.
Within a few years from now, everything would be connected, and IoT will be an integral part of our everyday lives like today our smartphones are just phones. Someday, a system like Joaquin Phoenix’s love interest in the movie “Her” will be real but first, we need the Internet of Things that can facilitate our lives better and function more efficiently.
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