When the internet first became commercialized, people were stumped to find out that the internet gave us the ability to send data from one location to another across millions of miles.
The internet allowed us to connect with one another and expand our digital footprint while sharing original thoughts and ideas with each other. Then the internet gave birth to various social media platforms which have proven to be an unstoppable force that consumes the life-force of its users.
The internet recently birthed a new tool that is meant to make our lives easier and that is the Internet of Things, not to be confused with the actual internet.
Without the internet, the Internet of Things and all of the devices just basically send and receive data from their hub, because it’s the internet that connects them all and allows them to become functional and deliver the comfort and convenience that we rely on.
I am sure at this point you may be scratching your head as you try to understand what I am talking about.
Let’s take a step back and take a look at what smart devices are. Your television can be turned into a smart television if it can communicate with the internet to access content from something like Netflix or YouTube. Now, imagine being able to control your smart television from your office just as if you were at home.
The same goes for your ability to control electrical outlets, security systems, and even the ability to open the front door remotely, welcome to what is known as the Internet of Things, commonly referred to as IoT.
PERSONAL HEALTH AND IoT DEVICES
The revenue generated from IoT devices in 2017 was $171 billion with the ability to expand to $561 billion by 2022, according to market research. Intel predicts that there will be approximately 200 billion IoT devices by 2020. I didn’t believe that I had an IoT device myself until I took a look at my left wrist and noticed that I was in fact wearing a smartwatch.
Smartwatches collect data like your heart rate and pulse, the data is captured from the watch and transferred to the cell phone using an application. The data is then uploaded and delivered back to you. So, when you watch vibrates and tell you to move, you move because it’s the right thing to do. Personal health will be a large segment in which users will adopt IoT devices without knowing that they have done so.
SMARTER HOMES AND CITIES
Smart homes are another area that is growing faster than expected. Smart devices and equipment include washing machines, televisions, thermostats, lights, surveillance systems, electrical outlets, and locks among other devices.
These devices are able to function remotely and offer the convenience of enabling and disabling actions from afar. Imagine being able to turn on your air conditioner on a hot summer day while on your way home. No one wants to come home to a hot and muggy room when technology has allowed you to turn on the air conditioner remotely so that you arrive at a cool and comfortable home.
The same technology can be further implemented in an entire city. Many utility companies, like gas and water, have implemented smart meters that are able to communicate readings remotely, which saves on costs of sending an employee out to read the meter manually. Smart street lights and smart meters have been enabled in Barcelona, Spain thus reducing its carbon footprint.
The biggest and most exciting IoT application has to be with automobiles and self-driving cars. IoT devices essentially link vital components to one another and these include depth-sensing camera, vision computational sensor, navigation, and other components, allowing them to communicate in real-time. An interesting side note is that a majority of the technology used in self-driving cars also happens to be used in drones and smart farming equipment as well.
The race is on between car manufacturers to release self-driving and autonomous cars. The industry has seen setbacks, such as the Uber self-driving car which killed a pedestrian earlier in 2018. It is also true that the Tesla Motors “Autopilot” feature failure was the cause of three fatal car crashes. Nvidia, a major manufacturer of graphic cards, is also in the process of designing its autonomous software for self-driving vehicles.
The accidents are a sad reminder that the technology has to be thoroughly refined before it becomes available and released to the general public. However, the fact that self-driving cars are wanted means they will make a major impact on how we travel in the near future.
PRECISION FARMING AND FOOD SAFETY
Precision farming is the use of IoT technology to monitor conditions and increase yields and to take timely action that can affect the overall health of a crop, such as the use of pesticides when there is no pest to eliminate.
The current IoT farming applications involve the use of chips to monitor soil moisture levels, ideal farming locations, and estimated yields. The sensors relay all of this information to farmers which allows them to have complete control overproduction.
The data from the current season can be used and compared to analytical data from the previous season and used to increase overall performance as well. The ever-increasing human population has resulted in an ever-increasing demand for food.
Analyst predicts that the demand for precision farming is expected to increase to $9.5 billion by 2023 from the current $5.1 billion this year. Food Safety is also a major concern since 48 million Americans fall victim to foodborne illnesses every year, resulting in over 128,000 hospital visits and 3,000 deaths annually, and that’s only in the United States.
IBM is the market leader in blockchain technology and has been working with a growing number of companies to trace the origins of their edible products via a blockchain ledger. IBM was able to track the condition and origin of a product in just 2.2 seconds as compared to the process which would have taken at least a week using older methods.
THE HEART OF IoT DEVICES
Without the internet, all of these IoT devices would be rendered useless since it is the internet that allows all of these devices to communicate with one another. The only major flaw comes with selecting a service provider. Most individuals will simply choose to go with their local cable provider.
That’s never a bad idea, however, one important fact needs to be taken into consideration and that is what you’ll do when your local service provider losses internet connectivity.
The simple answer is that you need to have a backup in place or choose a provider with reliable internet service like the ones that are being offered in many spectrum deals. If you don’t, then you could be looking at a potential device failure based on the internet service you choose.