IoT: The Rise of Smart Everything
If you are not yet familiar with IoT - you should be. IoT is not just a buzz-filled acronym. Over time, IoT has permeated into our homes and businesses, and now affects how we interact with devices, and how those devices in turn enhance and simplify our daily lives. Each day, this technology becomes more pervasive as manufacturers and software companies push to introduce new functionality and data sources into the products we use every day.
IoT a Brief History
According to Wikipedia the concept of IoT began in 1982 when a vending machine was connected to the internet at Carnegie Mellon University in order to report inventory and beverage temperature. Since that time, the concept of IoT has evolved to include a wide range of devices from smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi enabled appliances, Wi-Fi enabled thermostats, farm equipment, robotics, personal assistants and all other forms of home and commercial aA
A Simple Definition of IoT
In short, IoT stands for the “Internet of Things.” Essentially, IoT is a broadly defined area of technology that refers to the integration of internet connectivity into all the devices and objects we use in day-to-day life. This internet connectivity gives devices and objects the ability to send and receive information, to take action on this information, to monitor, and to control those objects remotely. This functionality is made possible by a wide variety of sensors, and technologies such as artificial intelligence.
IoT Has Had an Enormous Impact Across a Variety of Industries
Most people can grasp the concept of, and the impact that IoT has had in residential applications, where the term “Home Automation,” has become synonymous with this technology. It is hard to picture a home where Alexa, or other personal assistant has not become a member of the family.
But, where the definition of IoT gets a bit broader is when you look at its use in various industries such as finance, healthcare, energy, manufacturing, retail, agriculture, communications, etc. These applications of IoT are not as understood as its ubiquitous presence in the home. Forbes points out a perfect example of how IoT will revolutionize the retail space, “The world’s largest online retailer enables consumers to order products with the tap of a button through its Amazon Dash service, making the execution of the purchase easier for consumers. The second installment of Amazon Dash introduced Amazon Dash Replenishment Service, which is a platform for manufacturers to incorporate this system into their own products in one of two ways: either a manufacturer builds a physical button into their hardware for shoppers to use when reordering products or the technology can measure usage of consumables and enable reordering to take place automatically.”
One of the most significant ways that IoT will impact industries across the board is that will provide companies with data-driven analytics that can be leveraged to improve things like operations, productivity, quality, etc. Because of IoT, businesses have access to far more information than they previously had which makes it easier and more cost-effective to make improvements that will ultimately improve not just the bottom-line, but customer satisfaction, energy-efficiency, and safety as well. The potential of how IoT can facilitate automation means that, what we are likely to see is that anything that can be connected to the internet, will be connected to the internet!
Current Landscape and Future Challenges of IoT
The contemporaneous rise of IoT and artificial intelligence creates many challenges and opportunities for businesses in areas such as improving their customer’s experiences with their products, and in leveraging the enormous amount of data network connectivity can provide them. For residential products, manufacturers are now tasked with the protection and responsible use of massive volumes of new data. As we have seen with multiple companies’ mismanagement of data, public backlash can be swift and severe. Challenges posed in commercial applications will be leveraging this technology to improving and automating processes and speeding up product improvements in order to maintain a competitive advantage. For the companies that get this right, there are enormous benefits to gain.