What is IoT?
Internet of things (IoT) We have only imagined our pets talking to us but have you ever imagined your house talking to you or your car, door talking to the light switches! The Internet has made this possible connecting almost everything present around us. The refrigerator, washing machine, microwave and even your pots, now nothing is untouched by the digital world.
Significance of IoT across various sectors
We have only imagined our pets talking to us but have you ever imagined your house talking to you or your car, door talking to the light switches! The Internet has made this possible connecting almost everything present around us. The refrigerator, washing machine, microwave and even your pots, now nothing is untouched by the digital world. Everyday things having their own IP addresses will soon be the reality. This communication of things has become the latest vision of technology claiming to improve our lives. Yet, we are at the prelim stages of IoT. IoT will open up new streams of revenue, business models, and insights in technology. At larger scale it would be useful to both private users giving them a higher quality of life, comfort, security and to the corporate it would help in reducing the cost, gained efficiency and better control over their businesses. IoT is going to bring a wave of new categories to the markets. New forms of wireless connections and protocols, new business models with reduced costs of ownership, and hassle-free UI/UX to mention few. Various technologies such as Wi-Max, Bluetooth, Wifi, Low Power Wi-Fi, LTE, regular Ethernet and the very latest Li-Fi, are already being used to link various parts of IoT to sensors but this year would see Sigfox, LoRaWAN and 3GPP’s narrowband (NB) being tested. Companies, on the other hand, would get major benefits with IoT. Remote work, inventory tracking, and management, efficiency and productivity, speed and accessibility, are few realms where the technology would work wonders.
Smart home devices allow the owners to control and monitor a broad range of verticals like improved home monitoring, access control, security, and energy efficiency. Many brands in smart homes are collaborating over a variety of appliances to make them smarter, more efficient and secure. Many devices such as Eskesso, Samsung smart fridge and Genican are adding real convenience to everyone’s lives in the best ways possible. Amazon Echo is another smart device that works as a CPU for all your home gadgets. Another famous device Learning Thermostat, manufactured by Nest, automatically adjusts the temperature of the house through embedded sensors. These devices are a bit costly right now, because of the development costs and relatively lower sales. But with more advancements, the prices are expected to fall making them more affordable to an average consumer. Soon we could also see personal assistants and robots moving inside our houses and this is just one small part that IoT is going to transform. Even in the healthcare industry, IoT is making a mark. The concept of ‘smart beds’ is being implemented in a few hospitals that can detect the patient’s movements and adjust the height accordingly so that there is no need for nurses or any human intervention. There are also home medication dispensers coming up which track if medication is taken on time or not with the help of the data stored in the cloud. Health information trackers helping with patient-physician interaction are also opening up ways for smarter devices to deliver great results in the field of healthcare. With technology beginning to get implemented everywhere, it will fetch great results by reducing costs, improved outcomes of treatments, enhanced patient experience, reduced errors, enhanced management of drugs and improved disease management.
Apart from IoT being used smart homes, smart security systems or energy equipment providing comfort and personal well-being, it has progressed towards making cities smarter. With the aim of linking intelligence and information with devices, various companies are working to establish a network of interconnected devices. The amalgamation of analytics, big data, and ubiquitous connectivity are ushering in immense new potentials such as to control and manage devices, the capability to monitor remotely and to build insights from a plethora of data. Hence IoT is actively changing the infrastructure of cities completely by reducing traffic congestion, enhancing public transportation, creating more efficient and cost-effective municipal services and keeping people engaged and safe. IoT is linking a number of smart devices each day and in the coming years, we would be surrounded by around 24 billion IoT devices. Now that is some big news! Apart from smart homes, smart energy-saving systems, smart devices also help people track their own health with improved and fuller medication feedbacks. Connected cars link up with the infra of smart cities to transfigure the usual ways that drivers earlier followed. But with these benefits also come the risks.
Researchers at MIT and Michigan have found too many loopholes in some big brand smart devices which could give hackers more entry points to breach the security. Thus more companies are putting security in their products as paramount. After the attack caused by the Mirai botnet late last year, it was a wake-up call for everyone and more efforts are needed in the future to keep the hackers away. Few of the security concerns that we may note here are:
A surfeit of data – too much data is being added every second by the IoT devices and this will definitely create entry points for the cyber hackers
Intercepting unencrypted data – these connected devices can be hacked to virtually invade a person’s house or office. Even a smart house meter can be used to track down your daily activities as proved by the German scientists
Public confidence – In 2015, Control State of the Smart Home found out that people were very much concerned about their information getting stolen from smart homes. This could be one major reason why consumers won’t switch to IoT that easily
The Internet of Things is the next level of automation and the emergence of newer technologies will definitely improve many aspects of our lives be it at work or home. This year would see IoT grow into a multi-trillion dollar industry only if the security and privacy concerns are looked through.