(Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/iot-internet-of-things-internet-3404892/)
Over the years, availability and consumption of the internet is increasing, meaning the cost of connecting devices is decreasing. More and more devices are being created with Wi-Fi-connecting capability and built-in sensors. This is creating a perfect scenario for IoT-enabled homes and workplaces.
What Is IoT?
The Internet of things (IoT) is simply the connection of everyday devices and appliances to the internet (other than standard devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets). The devices are enabled to exchange and collect data with each other through the internet.. These devices can be everything from washing machines, dishwashers, air conditioners, lights, oven, music player, TV to almost anything else you can think of.
(Image Source: https://oer.gitlab.io/OS/Operating-Systems-00-Motivation.html#/sec-title-slide)
Examples of an IoT-Enabled Home and Workplace
How can IoT will change the way you live and work? Imagine mornings where, as soon as your alarm goes off, the coffee machine is turned on and toast pops up from the toasters as soon as you get out of the bed. The refrigerator tells you when the milk goes off so that when you are on your way home, you get an alert to stop by the grocery store. A thermostat turns itself off and on automatically when you leave or arrive. Stoplights with embedded video sensors can adjust their greens and reds according to traffic and the time of day. They are a double-win, reducing both congestion and smog, since vehicles idling at red lights burn up to 17% of the fuel consumed in urban areas. sensors embedded into parking spaces relay real-time information on empty spots to an app for would-be parkers. Wouldn’t that make our mornings much happier and hassle-free? Many of these products are launched by companies like Apple, Amazon, and Consumers Electronic Show.
(Image Source: https://www.nsa.gov/Resources/Everyone/Digital-Media-Center/Image-Galleries/igphoto/2002054286/)
IoT Is Big and Getting Bigger!
Bain predicts B2B IoT segments will generate more than $300B annually by 2020, including about $85 B in industrial sector. Business benefits and outcomes are what drive the majority of organizations to experiment with IoT and invest in large-scale initiatives. Most enterprises adopting IoT today are using metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect operational improvements, customer experience, logistics, and supply chain gains.
Benefits of IoT
IoT has multiple benefits for both industries and consumers. Industrial IoT enables manufacturers to add sensors to the components of their products so that the products can transmit back data about how they are performing. This can help companies spot when a component is likely to fail and to swap it out before it causes damage. Companies can also use the data generated by these sensors to make their systems and their supply chains more efficient, because they will have much more accurate data about what's really going on.
The IoT promises to make our environments, homes, offices and vehicles smarter, more measurable, and convenient. Smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home make it easier to play music, set alarms, or get weather forecast. Home security systems make it easier to monitor what is going on inside and outside or interact with visitors without approaching the door. Autonomous cars and smart cities could change how we build and manage our public spaces, waste management and pollution.
Challenges to IoT – Security and Privacy
Security is one of the major issues with IoT, since devices connected to the internet exchange data which can be extremely sensitive to the user or company. Still a lot needs to be done to make these devices are secure for use. Hackers are targeting the IoT-enabled devices and cameras to extract sensitive user information which can lead to dangerous consequences. Some internet-connected smart watches for children have been found to contain security vulnerabilities which can give away the wearer’s location, eavesdrop on communication and communicate with the user. IoT installed in companies can also expose corporate network to hackers. This can lead to serious breach in the privacy of the company and can lead to severe consequences.
As the number of connected devices continues to rise, our living and working environments will become filled with smart products--assuming we are willing to accept the security and privacy trade-offs.
Mohu Sah holds an MBA in Marketing and Operations. She can be contacted at email@example.com.