According to a McKinsey* report, the "Internet of Things" is one of the most profound technological advances seen in recent years.
The same consultants define IoT as “sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects that are linked through wired or wireless networks often using Internet Protocol (IP) connectivity”. The report adds that IoT goes far beyond the concept of m2m (machine to machine), where computers and mobile phones can communicate with each other, but consists of a far more complex network that shares decision-making information, and in many cases can take decisions itself, in accordance with predefined parameters. It connects households, companies and cities via wireless networks. It contains sensors, devices and applications that record and analyze the behavior of people and the objects around them. It uses the large volume of data generated by people and objects, both inside and outside the network, to offer all kinds of new services that improve people’s productivity and quality of life.
However, for many people IoT is still perceived as little more than a selection of intelligent applications for the home and for clothing that are connected to their watches or smart phones. Whereas, the true range of opportunities that this new paradigm opens up is unimaginable.
Smart Home: also known as “Home Automation”, which describes connectivity within the home. It includes thermostats, smoke detectors, entertainment systems, and any connected device inside the home.
Wearables: This describes connected clothes and an endless array of accessories, such as watches (Smart Watch) and bracelets (Smart band).
Smart City: This includes a wide variety of opportunities, such as public transport management, city water distribution, urban security management, smart refuse collection, and many others. They exhibit a tremendous potential to improve the quality of life for many people.
Smart Grids: Intelligent networks that support basic city services and can use information regarding the behavior of utility providers and consumers, such as electricity, water, gas, etc. to improve the efficiency, availability and costs associated with this market.
Smart Industry (Industry 4.0): “Connected factories” have an enormous potential to apply IoT, according to researchers and large IoT market participants such as Cisco.
Smart Health: Concepts such as connected health care, telemedicine, and intelligent medical devices have enormous potential both for providers and for the welfare of patients in general. Without doubt new advances in real time preventative health monitoring will improve medical decision-making based on large data sets.
Smart Retail: Challenges in this segment include proximity marketing, improvements to the shopping experience, empirical research into the behavior of consumers by analyzing their location on the sales floor, and smart payment solutions.
Smart Farming: The Internet of Things can be applied to remotely controlling farming and monitoring large numbers of cattle, which is an interesting example.
Smart Banking: Systems that make the customer experience for banking services more friendly and comfortable ensure that IoT has a wide range of applications in this sector.
Smart Buildings: Also known as “Building Automation”, which describes automated management systems applied to facilities or buildings in the production and services sector, such as industrial plants, hotels, hospitals, office buildings, airports, technology parks, banks, universities, etc. Their purpose is to reduce energy consumption and increase comfort and safety.
IoT technology is based on three layers. The hardware layer that includes sensors, the communications layer that is mainly comprised of wireless networks, and the software layer that includes data storage, data analysis and a wide range of potential user applications (front end).
Rapid evolution in new technology is the main reason behind the exponential growth in IoT in recent years. However, a key factor has been the ability to integrate various components, such as hardware, software and communications, which had previously operated independently. It is essential for IoT service providers to take a panoramic and integrated approach to the problem and articulate solutions that put the user right at the center.
Applying IoT projects to a business environment requires integration specialists from a company that has the experience and the ability to understand the business problem being addressed. A company that understands these processes and how they can be successfully supported by technology using sensors, interconnection and communication systems, computing infrastructure, business applications and operational support services. In general, these are projects whose success lies in an integrated and holistic approach to the problem.
*Source: Report: “Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy (Mckinsey, 2015)”
** Source Internet”