Connected Devices that make up the Internet of Things are expanding to the billions opening up new use cases across industries.
We have become more connected than ever before through the development of connected devices, or the Internet of Things (IoT). Kevin Ashton, co-founder and executive director of the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), first mentioned the term Internet of Things in 1999, but the first device to be connected to the Internet was actually a Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University in the early 1980s. A little over ten years ago, we were able to access the Internet through a laptop or a desktop computer. Today, IoT consists of everyday devices that are connected to the Internet, such as fitness trackers, vehicles, smart televisions, doorbells, light bulbs, home security systems, thermostats, and refrigerators.
With the introduction of Internet connectivity, we can transform any object into a “smart” object. These devices can communicate with one another in ways that can make life simpler, more informed, and thus a better life to live. These devices can also detect the behavior of your customers to help you understand their needs more clearly.
Just think of the possibilities-like a virtual model that sees you looking at them and smiles back at you. Or, what if the lighting around a product changes to a warm color, giving you the encouragement to make a purchase? That would certainly be more enticing than going online and buying it on Amazon. We can imagine a world where shoppers could signal a department store sales associate their location, the product they want to try on, and their size, all without ever having to download an app. This is how connected devices can bring ‘one-click happiness’ to our existing world.
IoT devices can also be implemented in a range of different sectors from marketing and sales, banking and financial institutions, education, health care, agriculture, and many more. For example, a plant and soil monitoring system can monitor soil conditions of a plot of federal land, controlling water usage, and determining custom fertilizer using sensors. Mobile learning can be implemented via digital collaboration and engagement of teachers and students via a 24/7 accessible education tool.
What the IoT Means for the Future
According to the number of studies and research did by “The Statistics Portal,” there will be tens of billions of data-spouting devices connected to the Internet by 2020. And they’re already changing how we live and work. It is estimated that there will be up to 31 billion connected devices installed base worldwide from 2015 to 2025, bringing the overall IoT market projection to be worth more than one billion U.S. dollars annually from 2017 onwards.
Use of connected devices and applications of smart sensors are exploding, changing with them virtually every aspect of our lives. Traditional industries are being transformed right before our eyes in ways we never imagined, which means it’s time for businesses to take action and ensure they are incorporating IoT capabilities into all their offerings. So far, we’ve to see IoT devices being used in the home to manage energy, security, lighting, and appliances. Factories are optimizing operations and costs through predictive maintenance. Cities are controlling traffic and applying IoT for public safety. Logistics companies are tracking shipments and optimizing routes. Restaurants are ensuring food safety in fridges and deep fryers, retailer is deploying smart digital signage and implementing advanced payment systems. And I’m blown away by how “smart” our vehicles are getting, including driving themselves!
Because of these boundless opportunities, those of us in the IT industry have been brainstorming new applications for this transformative technology. Because the Internet of Things is not just about connecting these devices to the Internet – it’s about creating a smooth interface between these connected devices and the people who use them.