In the early 20th century, the invention of irons, microwave ovens and washing machines created a wave of mechanical innovations. Internet technology then revolutionized the way we work and interact. The Internet of Things is the next evolution, premised on the use of data for immense possibilities. Explained in simple terms, Internet of Things refers to a growing network of internet-connected and internet-enabled computing devices. The emergence of Wi-Fi and the indispensability of hardware like Bluetooth sensors has made it possible to connect devices like never before. Internet of Things offers real and meaningful uses to solve problems of different types and across all complexities.
Benefit to consumers
Imagine being notified on your iPhone that your main door has been opened, water has collected in your basement, or there is some activity in your house, when you are away. Home automation is just one of the many exciting possibilities of Internet of Things. Google’s $3.2 billion acquisition of home automation company Nest Labs and Apple’s introduction of Internet of Things platform Homekit are signs of the developments to come. Homekit allows you to turn lights on or off, or lock or unlock your doors through your iPhone, by co-coordinating different third-party home automation accessories. Nest Labs, which is known for its connected smoke detectors and thermostats, is exploring security and health tracking systems. The ability to connect everything together can offer benefits in the form of time savings, greater security, on-demand information and much more.
Benefit to businesses and governments
In Cincinnati, Internet of Things (IoT) technology is helping citizens optimize critical waste management processes by monitoring those who exceed waste limits. The ‘pay as you throw’ program has seen residential waste volume fall by 17% and recycling volume increase by almost 50%. By recording tag data, time, GPS co-ordinates and weight of garbage pick-up trucks, the technology records missed pickups, automates data collection and billing, and provides municipalities useful insights on enhancing service. The technology will also be used to plan routes for sanitation crews with an objective to optimize operational and fuel efficiency. Smart electricity grids, water systems and meters working in IoT technology are expected to improve efficiency and deliver billion dollar savings.
Cisco is using IoT to deliver more customized messages through its outdoor advertising. It has flagged off this initiative near San Francisco International Airport. The company’s internet-connected billboard provides messaging tailored to drivers’ speed. The billboard monitors live traffic data and tweaks the length of its messaging based on the traffic speed in the vicinity.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Internet of Things promises great benefits for consumers, businesses, governments and indeed the planet.