The Internet of Things (IoT) in the business world and our lives.
We are in 2017 and we are increasingly connected to everything that relates to the world, and this is substantially due to innovation.
Innovation is part of our history and since electricity, the telephone, the car and the airplane, which took years from their invention until they are in our daily lives, the population is constantly evolving, improving their quality of life day-by-day. The Internet of Things (IoT) is also part of this same innovation / evolution.
The term IoT (coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999) is used to describe the connectivity between our “things” and technology, facilitating the so-called M2M (machine-to-machine), making them both intrinsically connected.
We can say that, nowadays, we live in a world more of Internet of People than of Internet of Things. Compared to the Internet of People, which connects people through the internet, the Internet of Things connects things to the internet.
Things share their experiences with other things, choosing things, adding the capacity for meaning and communication with little or no need for human intervention.
In this way it can be defined that the IoT focuses on two components: Meaning and Network / Communication. The first is because of the computer’s ability to understand the world by itself and the second because sensors can be distributed everywhere so that they can obtain different types of information in different locations by sharing their information with the computer that will understand the world.
Can we then imagine the impact of IoT and how great it can become?
This notion is born (in 2008) at a time when it was identified that there were more things on the internet than people.
Some indicators from various sources tell us that:
- Currently there are over 10 million devices, the equivalent to 1.5 per person;
- It is estimated that in 2020 there will be over 50 million devices, the equivalent to 8 per person;
- $41 trillion will be spent over the next 20 years for infrastructures upgrades (by Intel);
- Because of IoT there will be 22x more data traffic in 2020 (by Frescale);
- 40% of all data generated by 2020 will come from connected sensors (by Fros & Sullivan);
- 96% of senior business leaders plan to use IoT in next 3 years (by Wired);
- 38% of businesses believe IoT will have a major impact over the next 3 years (by The Economist);
- 94% of businesses have already seen a return on their investments in IoT (by CMO.com);
- IoT will have the greatest impact on the customers support;
- IoT could add $10–15 trillion to the global GBP (by GE);
- The IoT will lead to a 25% reduction in asset maintenance costs and 35% reduction in downtime (by U.S. Department of Energy);
- $970 will be saved per year per fleet vehicle (by Cisco);
Through all these indicators, we can almost get a sense of the impact of IoT on our future. Almost, because this is perfectly predictable but at the same time unbelievable how it will interact / live with our day-to-day.
Sometimes it is easier for us to understand the real impact of IoT through examples, so let’s look at a fairly simple one but at the same time very useful:
An intelligent bracelet that screens vital signs (e.g.: body temperature, heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure, …), has detected that during sleep these are below the intended and tries to wake us with vibration, light or other, sending data of these signals to our medical service. At the hospital, doctors receive and analyze the data in real time and take action quickly and efficiently, and can even trigger an ambulance to our home, which takes us to the hospital for observation. This information about the ambulance is sent to our smartphone, indicating that it should arrive in X minutes. And the next day, the doctor gives us the good news saying that we are going to be well and that despite having suffered a heart attack, we avoid great damages because in a short time we were able to handle the situation.
This was all possible only because “things” communicated with other “things”.
At Load, we have experience in projects and challenges that enable us to help our clients improve their business strategies or even assist their employees in making day-to-day decisions based on IoT solutions. From monitoring solutions and statistical analysis, to solutions in which human interaction with “things” exists, in order to streamline and improve process decision making.
Internet of Things brings us many advantages and is the future (the next industrial revolution) already quite present. However, there are issues of high importance that should not be ignored, as it is the case of security, privacy and data protection. Certainly this is an excellent topic to be covered in the next article.