What is Internet of Things (IoT) ? Where are we now ? What is the future?
First of all IoT is not a new technology or new invention. IoT was there from the beginning when the Internet started. There were multiple devices connected to the internet. They pulled the data to and fro. They analyzed the data. They responded as per the conditions as well. But it was not labelled as IoT. Now we know, Internet is everything. So people started calling it as IoT… Internet of things… Because its the time to explode for this game changer… World demands it.
It will change the way all the machines and humans interact with the physical world. Now the IT (Information Technology) and IS(Infrastructure) world is shaping to adopt this huge explosion. Is it really shaped? No… Not yet. It is about to take its first step only. The market leaders and some new comers are highlighting there innovations in IoT adoption. But still it is just like a stone drop in a sea. If we are really following IoT, we will realize that it is not Internet of things — It is Network of Things.
Analysts expecting ~30 million IoT devices installed by 2020 and ~10 Trillion investments on IoT solutions. ~2X of return on investment by 2025. Now the biggest challenge is to convince the investors about the IoT benefits. How to convince them? With re imagination? Yes.. but not only with re imagination, re invention and replacement… The era of re imagination is mature. Now its the time for re invention. Re invention means replacing an existing things in a better way.
There are a lot of use cases and existing initiatives for IoT are available in the market. Connected home and connected cars are common use cases for IoT initiatives. We can expect some personalized and excellent user experience once the connected cars are established in our roads. Also think about the drones that will be making the difference in defense and security forces. Almost all the top defense units are started to investing in Drones and Robots.
In Retail space the beacons with mobile devices are already making the difference. Now the experiment with drones and tiny robots are going on in Retail. IoT is booming in logistics and transportation industry as well in a rapid manner. Lot of companies are already installed the sensors on shipping containers to identify the chances of damage as early as possible and respond to the condition in advance, lets say adjusting the cooling or heating system accordingly without human interaction.
We can also see the the real use cases and business opportunities in all the industries such as Health care, Banking, Utilities, Insurance etc…
Now lets looks into the technologies and devices which can be the catalyst for the IoT growth.
As we know now its Mobile era. Mobile and internet connectivity is a must need for day to day life. But Mobile is really a big THING in IoT? Lets just try to dig into it. Mobile is considered as a sensor as well as a data visualization tool in IoT. In a better imagination, Its an edge system which can process the data and give quick responses back. But considering IoT in a world map, Mobile is actually one of the sensors only, there are a lot more in this space. There are low cost sensors and devices available in the market which can help to get the live changes and the enterprise is slowly moving on to this direction. These devices are definitely a good catalyst for IoT growth.
From a manufacturing industry perspective, the machines are already connected to the sensors. We have machine readings (Digital) available through human machine interfaces. There are some sort of Alarms also already in place. Is this story over? No… Here comes the real role of IoT. In an industry changed invention, We replaced physical switches with systems such as SCADA and HMI. Now its the time of machines to respond to the situation without any human interaction. No SCADA… No HMI. Only IoT, things connected to the network.
As we know, Behind the scene internet is tied to IP Addresses. IPV6 will be one of the most helpful resent release for IoT . IPv6 uses a 128-bit address, allowing 2128, or approximately 3.4×1038 addresses, or more than 7.9×1028 times as many as IPv4, which uses 32-bit addresses. Just imagine the capability of holding the addresses.
The communication between devices such as sensors, gateways and the data processors/storage systems will be one of the major catalyst in IoT. We are far ahead in communication channels now. 3G,4G LTE,ANT, Dash7, Ethernet, GPRS, PLC / Powerline, QR Codes, EPC, WiMax, X-10 , 802.15.4, Z-Wave and Zigbee are already in a position to address this communication needs. But In current situation IoT is going to heavily depends on communication channels like RFID,BlueTooth, NFC, Wifi,Weightless,EnOcean and GSM.
From some analysts point of view, In a neutral internet age, the next IoT network will be the peer to peer wireless mesh network. But still there are a lot more to go in this space. There are some initiatives are sparking from large companies like apple. Apple introduces its Mesh networking framework in iOS 7.0 itself. Also we have devices like nested beacons are available in the market. Now its time for defining and following a global standard for this communication channel. Lets see the difference then.
The range of hardware devices that will drive an Internet of Things are really huge. Arduino to Raspberry Pi and now BeagleBone Black are driving the prototyping platforms which enable us to create our own IoT solutions. Also companies are already providing wireless system on chip solutions with its own certified built in security features.
Machine learning is also in a growing stage. Large companies like IBM, Mitsubishi, Intel, Microsoft etc… are investing on it and some solutions and chips are already in market.
Big Data and cloud technologies are giving solutions for growing data storage requirements and it is giving more pace to IoT implementations.
At the time of getting hands wet, there are a lot of concerns over the IoT expansion like security, privacy etc…
But without avoiding these facts we can simply say that “The IoT will be the next Big THING in everything”.