The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
A thing in the internet of things can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and is able to transfer data over a network.
Why IoT is important
The internet of things helps people live and work smarter as well as gain complete control over their lives. In addition to offering smart devices to automate homes, IoT is essential to business.
1. IoT provides businesses with a real-time look into how their companies’ systems really work, delivering insights into everything from the performance of machines to supply chain and logistics operations.
2. IoT enables companies to automate processes and reduce labor costs. It also cuts down on waste and improves service delivery, making it less expensive to manufacture and deliver goods as well as offering transparency into customer transactions.
3. IoT touches every industry, including healthcare, finance, retail and manufacturing. Smart cities help citizens reduce waste and energy consumption and connected sensors are even used in farming to help monitor crop and cattle yields and predict growth patterns.
4. As such, IoT is one of the most important technologies of everyday life and it will continue to pick up steam as more businesses realize the potential of connected devices to keep them competitive. Benefits of IoT
The internet of things offers a number of benefits to organizations, enabling them to:
• Monitor their overall business processes;
• Improve the customer experience;
• Save time and money;
• Enhance employee productivity;
• Integrate and adapt business models;
• Make better business decisions; and
• Generate more revenue.
IoT encourages companies to rethink the ways they approach their businesses, industries and markets and gives them the tools to improve their business strategies.
Some of the advantages of IoT include:
• Ability to access information from anywhere at any time on any device;
• Improved communication between connected electronic devices;
• Transferring data packets over a connected network saves time and money;
• Automating tasks helps improve the quality of a business’ services and reduces the need for human intervention.
Some disadvantages of IoT include:
• As the number of connected devices increases and more information is shared between devices, the potential that a hacker could steal confidential information also increases;
• Enterprises may eventually have to deal with massive numbers — maybe even millions — of IoT devices and collecting and managing the data from all those devices will be challenging.
• If there’s a bug in the system, it’s likely that every connected device will become corrupted;
• Since there’s no international standard of compatibility for IoT, it’s difficult for devices from different
manufacturers to communicate with each other.
Consumer and enterprise IoT applications
There are numerous real-world applications of the internet of things, ranging from consumer IoT and enterprise IoT to manufacturing and industrial IoT (IoT). IoT applications span numerous verticals, including automotive, telecom and energy.
In the consumer segment, for example, smart homes that are equipped with smart thermostats, smart appliances and connected heating, lighting and electronic devices can be controlled remotely via computers and smartphones.
1. In healthcare, IoT offers many benefits, including the ability to monitor patients more closely to use the data that’s generated and analyze it. Hospitals often use IoT systems to complete tasks such as inventory management, for both pharmaceuticals and medical instruments.
2. Smart buildings can, for instance, reduce energy costs using sensors that detect how many occupants are in a room. The temperature can adjust automatically — for example, turning the air conditioner on if sensors detect a conference room is full or turning the heat down if everyone in the office has gone home.
3. In agriculture, IoT-based smart farming systems can help monitor, for instance, light, temperature, humidity and soil moisture of crop fields using connected sensors. IoT is also instrumental in automating irrigation systems.