We use sensors, electronic devices, and software in our day-to-day lives. The coalition of these devices over a network is what is termed as the Internet of Things (IoT) With IoT being the next (or current?) big thing, we see every technology expert trying to connect their products over the Internet. Right from medical applications to the mechanical industry, which includes the jet industry to gas pipelines. The use of the Internet of Things is even extended to devices used on farms.
And of course we would want various devices to be connected at our home. Connecting various devices, or things, in our home is challenging primarily because it isn’t something that we can invest on a lot. Also, we would want those devices to be reliable. With the sudden rise in the number of software devices that we have to deal with, devices like smart phones, Apple TV and so on, the number is only going to go up and we cannot afford to provide the same attention to each one. So these devices have to look after themselves a bit more. The future of the Internet of Things is to connect all these devices. So if hundreds of these devices are connected now, there would be millions of devices connected in the future. Since its inception in 1999, there hasn’t been an exponential growth in IoT. So what is stopping it from growing further?
Typically, we have devices such as a sensor connected wirelessly through some kind of gateway device to the internet. Then the device is connected to a cloud service which stores the data and also performs some analytics on it to transform that data into useful information. This in turn is connected to a user device, which these days is a smart phone. In every industry, the same architecture is followed with different industries using varied end user devices instead of a smart phone. This means every industry involved has to reinvent things and there’s very little reuse of the data present which results in the industry doing a lot to bring their solutions to the market. The problem lies in different industries using different physical standards for its wireless interface.
What’s the Industry’s Plan?
To use the Internet of Things optimally, we need to connect a device to different industries through varied media. For that to happen, the different industries need to have a common physical medium. To move to the next step in IoT, we have to overcome these hindrances. Over time, as the cost of the hardware decreases, there will be a common standard in place. The key would lie in the use of M2M applications. From the business prospective, the aim would be for these M2M applications to contribute to cost savings, productivity and customer experience transformation. A part of it would also depend on service providers who will have to thoroughly analyse their strategic priorities and capabilities before determining the best way to market every aspect of the IoT model.
The advances in the Internet of Things include applications that would be connected to a device known as the “Killer application”, which would be termed as the Facebook of Internet. The future of IoT also lies in use of sensors to connect varied devices. Along with the use of sensors, Internet of Things systems could also be responsible for performing actions. Intelligent shopping systems, for example, could monitor specific users' purchasing habits in a store by tracking their mobile phones. These users could then be provided with a list of similar products or even special offers on their favourite products. The location of items that they need could be shared.
IoT certainly stands tall, between the shifts in technological advances, be it tailor-made searches to monitoring the needs and data of the users. With technology changing shape at the next dawn, the Internet of Things promises to gather the best of all worlds and put it to use in daily life.