Exploring Internet of Things in a connected world

What is Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept whereby a large number of devices are interconnected or share data or “talk” with each other. While the concept already exists in computer networks, the concept of IoT expands greatly upon it, connecting mobile and computers to each other which includes a multitude of sensors, devices and other items.

A single closed system, ie a house, would theoretically be able to have a network of devices that are all interconnected and share data with each other. For example, it means that a temperature sensor and the air conditioning unit could be programmed to automatically turn on and off depending on the external temperature sensor. Aside from single closed systems, IoT can actually move into larger systems and networks, where multiple closed systems can become part of a larger loop. A neighborhood can actually share information with each other within the system. An alarm or security system can trigger within the entire apartment or even in a neighborhood by triggering other home’s alarms, so in the case of a fire, multiple units or homes can be alerted in the nearby vicinity.

While merely connecting systems is already impressive, the larger impact of IoT is in the sharing of data. By using sensors and other devices all connected to a larger system, traffic can be monitored in real time, and feed data to vehicles. By linking the vehicle with either traffic cameras or satellite imagery, a real time description of the current situation can be fed to every vehicle without needing to use a phone app for traffic.

Applications of Internet of Things

IoT is a groundbreaking step towards automating workflow processes as multiple devices can now transmit data to a controlling unit, the unit can now utilise all the data given from multiple devices to analyze and react. One of the largest possibilities that can be implemented is the concept of “smart” items or “smart” networks. The “smart” network is one that can react to given inputs to produce the desired output. A smart car can use sensors to automatically apply brakes when there is an obstruction within a certain amount of distance, a smart refrigerator can automatically place an order to a grocery delivery service when a weight sensor detects a lower than acceptable weight, or a smart factory can automatically adjust production based on demand data from store fronts.

Business Applications of Internet of Things

By connecting multiple devices to a network, businesses can streamline and automate a majority of its operations. By collecting multiple different sets of data from a network of sensors and then analyzing that data, businesses can then create effective methods based on the same external inputs. Business teams can now automatically measure KPIs through a variety of devices.

A retail sales team can take a motion sensor and collect the total number of people that enter the store, compare the total number of shoppers to the total number of sales transactions and calculate a conversion rate for the store. By removing the need for a manual clicker, the business can then be able to calculate all of the data without relying on any manual inputs, thereby eliminating human error and manual processes.

Future of Internet of Things

Industry standardization will become more prevalent with IoT , as it will require a form of standard practices and technologies . Standard practices, transmitters and receivers will need to be developed through cooperation from multiple companies and competitors. Data collection is already a large factor in business decisions today, but IoT can expand greatly upon existing methods by including larger quantities and breadth of data.

IoT will enable businesses to generate extensive amount of data pertaining to customers and processes and hence data analytics will become increasingly prevalent to businesses. As businesses are now able to collect a much larger amount of data and correctly analyzing them, they will require talents who are well versed in embedded systems and big data to synthesise and extract valuable insights so as to help businesses craft out their competitive advantage.

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