If we can imagine the internet to be a garden, today there are more number of varieties of flora and fauna than ever before. The Internet is no longer a network of computers. It now encompasses almost every form of an internet-connected device including home security systems, factory equipment, automobiles, fitness trackers, why even robotic vacuum cleaners!
International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts that IoT spending will increase with a CAGR of 13.6% between 2016 and 2022. The net investment that will flow is pegged at $1.2 trillion.
IoT is enabling enterprises to build an intelligent future where devices can connect to the internet and exchange information with each other. It is not just information that they exchange. Advanced IoT systems are also capable of commanding other devices in their network thus creating a digital mesh of intelligent systems.
IoT will connect devices to the internet and churn data on a real-time basis that creates human value. We are not far from the future where machines can act on their own depending on programmed cues.
How exactly is it going to happen? Let’s a quick
Health monitoring and patient treatment
The burgeoning world population combined with a shortage of doctors has made nations look at alternate ways to provide preventive healthcare. IoT makes it possible to monitor patient health remotely using fitness trackers and wearable sensors.
The highlight of these patient wearables is that they can be worn like any other gadget. They are non-invasive in nature and can also be monitored using a mobile app or by a caretaker.
Doctors can also access centralized patient data that is collected from IoT-enabled patient wearables and stored on the cloud. Remote patient monitoring is a reality that IoT make mainstream.
Crop and livestock management
From soil to the cloud, IoT’s expanse is literally infinite. It has use cases in the least expected and imagined applications, like crop and livestock management. IoT is taking the world closer to smart agriculture where farmers will be able to make the best of technology to grow crops and reap harvests with maximum yield.
One proven area of Internet of things in agriculture is greenhouse automation. Greenhouses are controlled environments where crops are grown with ideal climatic conditions. The controlled environment and ideal climatic conditions help to maximize crop yield.
IoT helps extend the productivity of these greenhouses by automating the irrigation and lighting systems. Internet of things sensors sown in the soil helps monitor moisture level, fertility and humidity levels. The automated monitoring results in maximized yield.
Worker safety, well-being and efficiency
According to the International Labor Organization, at least 2.78 million deaths occur due to accidents in the workplace. Despite all the processes and safety gear, worker safety is a challenge that most employers are grappling with.
Luckily, the Internet of things has a solution that can promote worker safety, well-being and also efficiency. Honeywell has demonstrated the possibility very well by using IoT sensors to detect gas leaks. IoT’s proactive intervention and alerts helped avert a major gas leak at the Australian Port (Source).
Early warning & disaster prevention
Humanity is far from being capable of averting natural disasters. But, IoT can help us to be prepared before disaster strikes. Internet of things with sensory capabilities can spot anomalies in weather patterns like wind velocity, tidal force, temperature, etc. which can help plan for disaster preparedness.
Take for instance wildfires. Wildfires result in a rapid increase in temperature, CO2 levels and also a sharp decline in moisture. IoT sensors can combine these parameters and create detailed information that will enable firefighters and emergency support volunteers to take proactive action. They can even identify the areas that need immediate evacuation where the fire has the maximum potential to spread rapidly.
Smart cities & urban infrastructure
Our cities are getting instrumented. Our neighbourhood is becoming intelligent. There is a metamorphosis of sorts happening in the urban landscape. From traffic signals to underground cables, almost every major urban infrastructure is getting internet-connected with the help of Internet of things sensors.
The future cities enabled by IoT will have digital and physical surroundings blending together to form an immersive experience for denizens. From smart traffic systems that divert traffic based on route density to building HVAC systems that change climate settings by sensing population density within the room, a whole lot is going to happen in the days to come.
The city of Amsterdam is already on the works to offer home energy storage units and solar panels for a house that are connected to the city's smart grid (Source). Like Amsterdam, several other cities like London, Copenhagen, New York are on the works on similar IoT-grounded urban projects.
Connecting to the future
The Internet of things will play a pivotal role in building the future. It will connect everything ranging from coin-sized devices to large manufacturing boilers to the internet thus creating a digital mesh of connected devices. These connected devices will spew a large amount of data which if collected, assimilated and worked upon can turn around business economies and daily lives. In short, IoT is enabling us to create a future enterprise of tomorrow. And the work is already in progress.
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