IoT applications connect multiple devices together and helps communication within them, ranging from smartwatches to air conditioners to fully automated cars. A recent report by Business Insider predicts that there will be about 55 million devices by 2025, a significant increase from 9 million in 2017.
What is the reason for such an exponential increase? What are the recent IoT applications that have taken the world by storm? This article explores the reason behind the increase of IoT applications and outline 5 real-time application adopted by various industries.
Why is there an Increase in IoT applications?
W. Roy Schulte,VP Analyst at Gartner, said, "Uses of the Internet of Things that were previously impractical will increasingly become practical". 10 years ago, an IoT application wouldn't have found any use in the market. Gathering data, uploading it to the cloud and then accessing it from a remote location would seem highly impractical. But now, with the advances in technology and with 5G around the corner – IoT is one of the major technologies in the market.
How does IoT work?
IoT is made up of two main elements the "internet" and the "things" that connect to the internet. I do not need to tell you what we mean by the "internet", but what are these devices that people are talking about. These devices also known as "smart" or "connected" devices, collect, process, send and act on the data they acquire from the surrounding environment using embedded sensors, processors and communication hardware. They can also communicate with all the related devices in the environment gaining insights from each other and then act on the basis of information received.
Humans interact with all these devices in the initial stages to determine which device has access to what particular information. However, the devices do most of the work on their own without human intervention.
To give you a better understanding, let’s look at an example, Philips Hue lighting system is designed to change the way traditional systems work with the usage of smart bulbs and is touted to be one of the simplest IoT Applications.
Now, you may ask, how is a smart bulb any different from a regular one? Firstly, you may set up a schedule for the lights to go on and off. Let's suppose you were in a hurry to the office and forgot to turn the lights off. In this scenario, the application will detect the lights which are switched on when they are scheduled to be off and will send you a notification on your phone via an application asking you whether to switch the lights off or to keep them on. This simple action will save you money and will also help in conserving energy. Secondly, this might not be one of the main factors, but it does fascinate people – you may change the color of the lights too. They could even match the color of the photos put up in your gallery.
Five real-time IoT applications:
- Retail and Supply Management: Amazon GO is a perfect example of this application. Just download the app, scan your code as you enter the store, pick up what you need and leave. The amount to be paid will be debited from your Amazon Wallet, as simple as that. The implementation is, however, a bit complex with AI and Deep Learning algorithms coming into the picture, but you cannot ignore the fact that this application wouldn’t have been possible without the use of IoT. The sensors on the commodity that you have purchased communicate with the reader at the checkout counter. Thus, in a matter of few seconds, all the information is transferred to the cloud, taking the level of automation to new standards.
- Smart Lock: A smart lock has all the basic applications of a standard door lock but with better features. A smart lock makes things easy, taking away the need to unlock your door manually, just a tap on your "smart" device will do the trick. Some smart locks even offer remote access, which means you can lock or unlock your door even if you are a thousand miles away from home. Now, why is this so important? Imagine you’re on a road trip and halfway into the trip you realize that the door isn’t locked, or you are notified that someone has tried to enter your house. You will instantly receive a notification on your phone telling that the door is unlocked, or someone is trying to enter your home. With a smart lock, you just need a connection to the internet to log in through your phone or laptop, click a few buttons and Voila! Your door is locked.
- IoT in Healthcare: With healthcare services not getting any cheaper and chronic diseases at an all-time high, getting medical treatment is proving to be unaffordable. While technology cannot eradicate chronic diseases at once, it can make medical treatment affordable and accessible. Let's look at it in this manner – IoT is the virtual bridge connecting doctors to patients and making diagnosis home-centric. This means, you can get medical treatment while sitting at home, which means better utilization of resources, reduced visits to the hospital and improved allocation and planning. IoT promotes real-time monitoring and with this, numerous lives can be saved. Also, in the event of a medical emergency such as heart failure, asthma attack, and stroke, a smart medical device that is connected to an app can collect information of the patient and send it to the physician in charge with an alert of the emergency.
- Logistics: Distribution centers are fundamental to logistic supply chains. Logistic companies have always strived to improve the operational efficiency at these centers. IoT has helped these companies achieve their goals in the following ways: Security, alarm sensors and CCTV both utilize IoT to help in detecting thefts and protecting goods. You can lock doors with just an app, receive alerts on unusual movements and access CCTV from remote locations. All this data can then be combined and analyzed to improve these shortcomings in the future. Optimization: IoT gives combined data such as the temperature of the center, performance of all the equipment, amount of inventory and many more. This helps in improving overall operational efficiency. Safety, for logistics companies the safety of their staff is paramount. There are many companies which are using IoT for the safety of their equipment and for protecting their staff from accidents. Imagine if you could receive alerts from a sensor placed in the forklift informing you about a possible defect without any human interference, you can immediately stop work and avoid fatal calamities.
- IoT to monitor and control pollution: Pollution is on the rise, especially air pollution. Industries and factories are considering IoT to monitor and control the amount of toxic gases being emitted into the atmosphere. If IoT is implemented, the sensors present in the factories detect the amount of gas. This data is then available to anyone who works at the company with the help of an app. Limits can be set manually on the sensors and if the amount of gas emitted crosses the limit, employees will get an alert on their phone or an alarm will ring indicating that they should vacate the premises. This feature improves the safety of the employees in the factory and provides a better work environment.
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In recent times, advancements have been made in the field of IoT and are flourishing across all various industries and markets. IoT not only helps organizations reduce and conserve energy but also helps in implementing automation, which was only an idea just a decade ago. It spans different use cases, ranging from IoT for smart homes to security to improving business efficiency, IoT has truly proved itself as a force to reckon with.
In a nutshell, IoT applications offer an array of benefits to the users. There is scope for many more interesting and ground-breaking applications. With companies hiring skilled IoT professionals to increase their business growth, IoT has emerged as one of the most lucrative jobs available in the current business atmosphere.