What is the IoT?
The Internet of Things or IoT refers to the connecting of a device(s) to the Internet and/or each other. It’s a giant network of connected “things” which also includes people. As Forbes put it, the IoT relationship is between people-people, people-things, and things-things. It can include everything from cell phones, coffee makers, light bulbs, and locks to the jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig.
Where is it used?
A number of opportunities are emerging in various sectors thanks the adoption of the IoT:
- Consumers: Enhances the use of smart homes, which helps consumers use energy and appliances more efficiently
- Retail: Helps retailers understand the peak times when customers visit their stores and which stores, helping them improve the productivity of employees and optimize promotions
- Medical: Helps doctors monitor patients remotely through the use of wearable devices
- Military: Can be used for proper resource allocation during times of war, in threat analysis, and for monitoring troops
- Industrial: Is used for SCM, monitoring of industrial devices, production process optimization, and energy control
- Automotive: Helps with managing traffic at peak times
- Environment: Is being used to predict weather and track endangered species
- Agriculture: Is being used in crop irrigation and crop logistics
- Security: Used for access control, audit trails, and location tracking
How big is its impact?
The analyst firm Garner predicted that by 2020, there will be over 26 billion connected devices (some predict it will be much higher--over 100 billion). Our smart homes are soon going to expand into smart cities, where interconnected technology is used to enhance communication between devices, and help in efficient use of resources. You can bet that 5 years from now, anything that can be connected will be connected, and our lives will feel much more seamless and simplified because of it.