Are you interested in finding out what is the Internet of Things (IoT)? It is an ever-growing technology which opens doors to new opportunities in multiple sectors ranging from retail, industry, utilities, public administration, transport and tourism; to the transformation of entire cities into smart cities. It can also help you identify, create, and innovate business opportunities and lines of business. The Internet of Things is a digital transformation facilitator that offers infinite possibilities to companies.
To get an idea about its popularity, 90% of the users of IoT are convinced of its importance. Once a user experiences the advantages of connected things thanks to IoT, they are hooked to it’s benefits. For this reason, we have seen an increase in the number of people buying and using IoT solutions.
Thanks to the emergence of increasingly sophisticated connected devices, we are now at the full start and development of a new era of business productivity. Experts predict that more than half of all new businesses will have incorporated the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2020, making them more automated and saving millions, bringing greater process productivity through their implementation. However, with these high expectations, many business leaders are asking the question:
What is IoT and how can it realistically and practically help my business work smarter?
What is IoT or the Internet of Things?
The term Internet of Things was first coined in 1999. However, the first example of its application was in the early 1980s. Amazingly, it was a Coca Cola vending machine that first implemented an IoT device. Located at Carnegie Mellon University, the vending machine was connected to the web by a team o programmers, who were then able to obtain consumption data for the products. Via the connection, they could check the availibity of the stock of drinks and the temperature of the cans by means of sensors that measured their degree of refrigeration.
In its most general sense, the purpose of the Internet of Things is to use the devices as a tool to make us more efficient. To achieve this, there are 4 essential components that helps us gain a better understanding of what has happened and predict what will happen.
The core of IoT
- Sensors capture real world data (such as: temperature, movement, location…)
- Connectivity sends sensor data to platforms where it can be processed.
- Service platforms converts data into information and actions
- Data analysis generates a better understanding and decision making process
Today, there are billions of devices around the world connected to the Internet that constantly collect and share data. Thanks to wireless networks and smaller, more powerful processors, it is now possible to connect almost any device. In Industry connected factories make use of the connection of devices and machinery which can be applied to any location, such as airports. Other use cases include the connection of production plants and the use of robots to improve production lines.
Changes in company processes thanks to IoT
Impeccable production, maintenance, customer satisfaction, among others, are the pillars of business efficiency. IoT devices allow companies to create new business opportunities and introduce new ways of interacting with their customers. This helps them improve the workflow, production and much more.
Another aspect that stands out in the use of this technology is associated with savings. Many companies have already begun to use IoT solutions to increase sustainability, with: energy monitoring, intelligent lighting, intelligent charging of electric vehicles and inside climate control. But the benefits don’t stop there. With the same network connection, the system can integrate other IoT devices and applications. Examples include: asset tracking and monitoring, air quality measurement, proximity detection and machine optimisation.
Connection of IoT devices in everyday life
Let’s imagine that an alarm clock wakes us up at 6 a.m. and is able to tell your coffee maker to turn on and start making coffee. Now imagine that your printer knows it is running out of paper and automatically orders more. Imagine if your watch could tell you when you’ve been most productive while at work. The uses and benefits of IoT for personal use are also endless, generating Big Data that deserves to be analyzed.
The application of IoT in everyday tasks is infinite. Another great example can be found in the so-called smart cities. In which tasks such as waste management services, intelligent irrigation, pollution control, etc. are already carried out. It is likely that you are surrounded by these devices and do not know it yet. Check inside this list and list how many there are in your environment.
- Houses with automation systems. Devices linked to safety and energy saving.
- Smart bands, smartwatch or fitness bands.
- GPS trackers.
- Smart smoke alarms.
- Smart locks.
- Smart door bells .
Future of the Internet of Things
While some countries are still wondering what IoT is, it will soon dominate the world. The consulting firm Gartner predicted that the automotive and business IoT market will grow at a rate of 5.8 billion units by 2020. This will mark a 21% increase over last year (Goasduff, 2019). Soon everything that can be connected will be connected, forming a comprehensive digital system in which all devices communicate with people and with each other.
Imagine how in the future a car interconnected through devices such as Movistar Car will know your work schedule and notify your colleagues about a delay in the meeting if you get stuck in a traffic jam. Our interconnected future will undoubtedly bring much value and great opportunities for everyone.
Households also embrace this technology in an immersive way. We are at a time when technology is very much present in our lives. As users, we must make use of all its advantages and take advantage of their benefits. If you are still wondering what is IoT? It is the technological solution becoming ever more present in companies, as well as in the lives of users.
IoT implementation success stories
To connect users with drivers, Uber developed algorithms that use data from sensors and smartphones. In this way, they were able to monitor traffic and travel conditions in real time. This data not only allows the company to adjust its prices according to demand. They also help to manage driver demand. When drivers see that demand is high, they go out and offer their driving services to meet it; conversely, they will stay home when the data tells them that demand is low.
The company’s manufacturing systems are connected via an IoT network environment. At its Singapore factory, Rolls Royce generates half a terabyte of manufacturing data for every turbine blade it produces. This data is used for quality control, which is a critical area for the company’s success.
As a true pioneer, Coca Cola started implementing IoT almost 4 decades ago. Today the company uses IoT very efficiently on its vending machines to obtain real-time data including: location and availability of the cooler in the store, temperature, stock level, product placement, customer behaviour and trends. In this way, it analyses purchasing behaviour, which allows it to reinvent loyalty strategies and track consumption peaks. All this has applications in strategies to improve targeted marketing and customer satisfaction.
Final thoughts on IoT
The future of IoT is already here. With technological improvement our lives are changing and becoming easier and more efficient. Although this is only just beginning. We will continue to see its influence on our cities, our work and our home lives. Once we experience the benefits of IoT we will wonder how we lived without them. You can stop wondering what IoT is and start enjoying all its benefits.