Communication has been a very important part of human civilization from ages. In the past, communication was mainly between people, but these days technology allows us to communicate with machines, devices, and gadgets. Based on this idea, technologists added digital sensors with intelligence to the basic devices to make them communicate without human input. In this article, we will look at the Internet of Things (IoT), examples of IoT, essential requirements for IoT connectivity, industries using IoT, benefits of IoT, security and privacy issues of IoT, and its future scope.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Kevin Ashton in 1999 coined the term ‘Internet of Things (IoT)’, which is a network of sensors, devices, vehicles, and home appliances. IoT is built on hardware, software, actuators, connectivity, logic, and capability to exchange information over the internet, which we can monitor and control. Application of IoT in business and manufacturing is known as machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity/interface.
Examples of IoT
We can make any device a part of an IoT network if we can connect it to the network and provide control. An IoT device can be a simple toy for a baby or a self-driving car. For example, a light-bulb, motion sensor, smart thermostat, and connected streetlight can be part of an IoT network if we can control these using a smartphone app.
Some examples of IoT devices are as follow.
- Smart TVs
- Smart speakers (Amazon’s Echo and Google Home)
- Home security systems
- Smart thermostats
- Smart electric meter
- Commercial security camera
Figure 1. Internet of Things (IoT) Network.
Essential requirements for IoT connectivity
Connectivity is the heart of an IoT network. We have different methods to connect and share data between devices. These methods can be a standard Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, or Long Term Evolution (LTE). Edge Computing is the latest trend where more processing is done on-device and less and more useful data is sent to the cloud to reduce cost.
Industries using IoT?
IoT also has application in various industries such as Healthcare, Transportation and Logistics, Manufacturing, Education, Smart Cities, Banking and Finance, etc.
Figure 2. Application Industries of IoT.
Benefits of IoT
Implementation of the IoT makes our environment (office, home, and vehicles) more connected, smarter and measurable. Industrial implementation of IoT is called Industrial Internet of things (IIoT), where we are adding sensors to devices, components, and machinery. In an enterprise, the benefits of the IoT depend on its specific usage. Here we list some of these benefits.
Benefits of IoT in an Enterprise/Industry:
- IoT enables the enterprises to have more and better access to the data related to their products, services, and internal systems.
- We can apply Data Science to analyze this large amount of data to draw insights about the products, services and associated systems.
- An enterprise can use these insights from the data to reduce waste, make more profit, and improve the satisfaction of customers and employees.
- Data from the components and machinery tell us about its present condition and predicts its future outcome.
- With this real-time data collection and analysis, we can take corrective action at the right time to minimize the downtime and maximize the run-time of the system.
- In the logistics and transportation industry, the data collected from these sensors make the supply chain more efficient.
- In the healthcare industry, the use of IoT devices can provide real-time location and body parameters of the patient to provide timely care and support.
Security and Privacy Issues of IoT
IoT sensors are collecting and transferring extremely sensitive personal data. So, security and privacy of IoT devices and the data that they collect and transfer are of big importance. New research is being conducted to tackle this challenging issue.
Future of IoT
Future of IoT seems to be very bright as this is feeding and empowering Data Science and Artificial Intelligence in a big way. Data from IoT networks enables us to have better tracking, monitoring, prediction, management and control of various systems in different industries. Manufacturing, transportation, healthcare and utility sectors show more potential for IoT growth in the coming future. At Regenesys Data Science programme we work on the data from these domains in the projects.
Written by: Dr. Parmod Kumar, Senior Associate Faculty at the Regenesys Institute of Management. You can reach me at email@example.com.