In a nutshell, the Internet of Things is the concept of connecting any device to the Internet and to other connected devices. The IoT is a giant network of connected things and people – all of which collect and share data about the way they are used and about the environment around them. That includes an extraordinary number of objects of all shapes and sizes – from smart microwaves, which automatically cook your food for the right length of time, to self-driving cars, whose complex sensors detect objects in their path, to wearable fitness devices that measure your heart rate and the number of steps you’ve taken that day, then use that information to suggest exercise plans tailored to you. There are even connected footballs that can track how far and fast they are thrown and record those statistics via an app for future training purposes. How does it work? Devices and objects with built in sensors are connected to an Internet of Things platform, which integrates data from the different devices and applies analytics to share the most valuable information with applications built to address specific needs. These powerful IoT platforms can pinpoint exactly what information is useful and what can safely be ignored. This information can be used to detect patterns, make recommendations, and detect possible problems before they occur. Let’s look at some examples and business areas to see what IoT, Internet of Things looks like in real life.
The industrial segment is one of the fastest-growing markets. Industrial IoT (IIoT) is one of the fastest and largest segments in the overall IoT space by the number of connected things and the value those services bring to manufacturing and factory automation. This makes hardware and software tools to monitor physical devices. Traditional information technology roles have been administered differently. The IT role will concentrate on security, groupings, data delivery, and services. As the IoT becomes prevalent in industry and manufacturing, these worlds will combine especially with predictive maintenance from thousands of factory and production machines to deliver an unprecedented amount of data to private and public cloud infrastructure. Some of the characteristics of this segment include the need to provide near real-time or at real-time decisions for operations technology. This means latency is a major issue for IoT on a factory floor. Additionally, downtime and security are a top concern. This implies the need for redundancy, and possibly private cloud networks and data storage. Following are the main industrial and manufacturing IoT use cases and their impact:
Consumer-based devices were one of the first segments to adopt things being connected on the internet. Consumer IoT came into form as a connected coffee pot at a university in the 1990s. It flourished with the adoption of Bluetooth for consumer use in the early 2000s. Now millions of homes that have smart thermostats, smart lightbulbs, living assistants and smart door locking system . People too are connected e.g. with Apple Fitbits and other wearable technologies. The consumer market is usually first to adopt these new technologies. We can also think of these as gadgets. All are neatly packaged and wrapped devices that are essentially plug and play. Ecosystems have often emerged or grown around wearable technology, enabling more diverse services and applications for customers. The following are some of the main consumer IoT use cases:
This category refers to any space where consumer-based commerce transacts. Additionally, this category refers to why we include financial institutions and marketing fields in this area. These include traditional banking services and insurers, but also leisure and hospitality services. Retail IoT impact is already in process, with the goal of lowering sales costs and improving customer experience. This is done with a countless amount of IoT tools. This segment measures value in immediate financial transactions. If the IoT solution is not providing that response, its investment must be scrutinized. This drives constraints on finding new ways to either save costs, or drive revenue. Allowing customers to be more efficient allows retailers and service industries to move customers quickly, and to do so with less staffing resources. Some of the retail IoT use cases are as follows:
Farming and environmental IoT includes elements of livestock health, land and soil analysis, micro-climate predictions, efficient water usage, and even disaster predictions in the case of geological and weather-related disasters. Even as the world population growth slows down, world economies are becoming more affluent. Hunger and starvation crises are rare. Food and Agriculture Organizatio (FAO) said, that the demand for food production is set to double by 2035. Significant efficiencies in agriculture can be achieved through IoT. Using smart lighting to adjust the spectrum frequency based on poultry age can increase growth rates and decrease stress on chicken farms. Other uses include detecting livestock health based on sensor movement and positioning. A cattle farm could find animals with the propensity of sickness before a bacterial or viral infection were to spread. Edge analysis systems could find, locate, and isolate heads of cattle in real time, using data analytics or machine learning approaches. Intelligent fertilization and irrigation systems increase grain yield and productivity. Some of the agricultural and environmental IoT use cases are as follows:
The energy segment includes the monitoring of energy production at source to and through the usage energy at the client. A significant amount of research and development has focused on consumer and commercial energy monitors such as smart electric meters that communicate over low-power and e.g. LoRaWan long-range protocols to real-time energy usage.Many energy production facilities are in remote or hostile environments such as desert regions for solar arrays, steep hillsides for wind farms, and hazardous facilities for nuclear reactors. Additionally, data may need real-time or near real-time response for critical response to energy production control systems. The following are some of the use cases for energy IoT:
Smart city is a phrase used to imply connecting intelligence to what had been an unconnected world. Smart cities are one of the fastest growing segments, and show substantial cost or benefit ratios especially when we consider tax revenues. Smart cities also touch citizens' lives through safety, security, and ease of use. For example, several cities are fully connected and monitor trash containers and bins for pickup based on the current capacity, but also the time since the last pickup. Smart cities are also impacted by government mandates and regulations, therefore there are ties to the government segment. One of the characteristics of smart city deployment may be the number of sensors used. Some of the smart city IoT use cases are as follows: