IoT – a way to smarter life

IoT – a way to smarter life


Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that is buzzing around in the recent times, but a recent survey report says that there are more than 87% people worldwide who have no idea what IoT is. In this article, we are going to discuss about Internet of Things (IoT) and delve into its usefulness and future scope.

So, what is IoT? You often make a transaction via ATM, you enter an amount, enter a security PIN and you get instant cash in your hand without even visiting your bank, and suddenly your phone beeps receiving a text message that the withdrawn amount has been debited from your bank account. Have you ever thought what it is? Well, this is an example of IoT. Nowadays people listen to news, access social media, or emails via desktop computers, and laptops, which are connected to the internet.

If you talk about internet, it has revolutionized the world. Think of your traditional mobile phone before it turned into a smartphone, it was capable of making calls and sending text messages only. But with smartphones, you can not only make calls and send text messages, but you can connect on social media via facebook, twitter, instagram etc, watch movies, play games, listen to songs, read books and news online, and a bunch of other stuff as well. So, if we talk in a layman’s language, IoT is connecting everything in this world with Internet, where everything refers to computer or electronic devices.

Technically, IoT refers to a system in interconnected physical devices that can be accessed with the help of internet. The “thing” refers to any physical computing device, human, animals, mechanical and digital devices that can be assigned IP addresses to be able to transfer data over the internet. For instance, a human with a heart monitor implant, an automobile with inbuilt sensors, an animal with a biochip transponder etc.

Internet of Things - Looking Back

The idea of connection of smart devices came into picture in early 80s. The first internet connected device was deployed at the Carnegie Mellon University, which was a coke machine. The machine was capable of reporting if the freshly loaded bottles of drinks were cold or not, along with the inventory. Later, the contemporary vision of IoT was produced by a research paper “The Computer of the 21st Century" on ubiquitous computing by Mark Weiser in 1991 along with the academic venues like UbiComp and PerCom.

After that, this concept was explained as “moving small packets of data to a big set of nodes, for integrating and automating everything from home appliances to complete factories” by Reza Raji in 1994 in IEEE Spectrum. From 1993 to 1997, solutions were proposed by companies like “at work” by Microsoft and NEST by Novell. Later on, Bill Joy visualized this concept of device to device interaction as a part of his “Six Webs” framework which he presented in 1999 at the World Economic Forum at Davos. This led to an increase in the momentum in this field.

The term “Internet of Things” was introduced by Kevin Ashton in 1999 while he was a part of Procter & Gamble. Ashton was working on optimization of supply chain, and wanted to draw the attention of senior management at P&G towards an exciting technology called the Radio-frequency identification (RFID). He named his presentation as “Internet of Things” because in 1999 internet was absolutely a new trend and it made sense with RFID as well. He could impress various executives at P&G, however IoT could not gain a ubiquitous attention for the next 10 years.

Popularity Roadmap

In 2010, Internet of Things began to get popular after 10 years from the time Kevin Ashton coined it. As per the leaked information sources, the“StreetView” service of Google created 360 degree pictures along with loads of data of wifi networks of the people. It became a topic of discussion among people whether this was a beginning of a new strategy of indexing internet as well as physical world by Google .

Also, in the year 2010 the Government of China made an announcement on making IoT a strategic priority in their Five Year Plan. In the year 2011, “Internet of Things” was included as a new emerging phenomena in the list of Gartner, which is a market research company known for inventing “Hyper-Cycle for Emerging Technologies”. An year later, “Internet of Things” became the theme of “LeWeb”, which is the biggest internet conference in Europe. In addition, IoT was used as the vocabulary by some famous technology focussing magazines such as Wired, Forbes and Fast Company for describing the phenomenon.

In the year 2013, a report published by IDC stated that by 2020, IoT will have a business of $8.9 trillion in the market. IoT became even more popular in the year 2014 when an Google made an announcement of buying Nest for $3.2 billion. In the same year, IoT was the theme in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that was held at Las Vegas. Since then, IoT has gained a lot of popularity and it still continues at a brisk rate. In the year 2017, the number of IoT connected devices increased to 8 billion and doubled in the year 2018.

How IoT Works?

As discussed earlier, IoT is a system of things connected to internet. This system comprises of smart devices which are internet enabled and make use of embedded processors, communication hardware and sensors for data collection transmission and acting on that data which they have obtained from their environments. These IoT devices connect to an IoT gateway or other edge device to share the collected sensor data that is either locally analyzed or it is transferred to the cloud for analysis. At times, the devices interact with one another and act on the received information from other connected devices. These devices are capable of doing most of the work without the intervention of a human being, although human can communicate with the devices to give them instructions, access data and set them up. In addition, the connectivity, networking and communication protocols used with these internet enabled devices hugely relies on the particular IoT applications deployed.

Benefits of IoT

Internet of things is indeed the hottest IT buzzword. There are numerous advantages of IoT, and we are going to discuss some of them.

1. M2M Communication

Internet of Things promotes device to device communication which is popularly known as Machine to Machine (M2M) communication. This type of connection enables the devices to remain connected with each other, which ensures the availability of complete transparency, higher quality and lesser shortcomings.

2. Control and Automation

IoT is a system of physical devices connected with each with the help of internet. In other words, these physical devices are connected digitally with a wireless infrastructure, and are controlled with the help of a central device. As a result, there is a higher level of control and automation in the workings. In addition, the machines are capable of interacting with each other without the intervention of human, this results in speedy and timely output.

3. Data

IoT predominantly works on the basis of collected data (or information) from the environments. Obviously, if you have more information available, it will help you to make better decisions even if it is an ordinary decision of purchasing items from a grocery store, or whether your company has sufficient widgets and supplies. So, information is crucial, the more the knowledge, the better the outcomes

4. Monitoring

Monitoring is a very important advantage of the IoT systems. Knowing the accurate quantity of supplies or the quality of air in your home can further give additional information that could not be easily collected earlier. For example, knowing exactly that the quantity of milk is less, or the cartridge of the printer has low levels of inks can help you save an additional visit to the shop in the coming time. Moreover, monitoring of product expiry can help in improving safety.

5. Time Efficient

Because of monitoring, IoT can help in saving a lot of time so that we could use it in other works. In this modern world, time is valuable, and we value time more than money and other things.

6. Cost Efficient

IoT helps in saving a lot of money. IoT will be extensively adopted in case the cost of monitoring and tagging equipments is not greater than the amount of money saved. People have found IoT very helpful in their day to day activities because the appliances interact with each other in an efficient manner thereby saving the cost and conserving the energy. Moreover, IoT enables the communication and sharing of data between the devices and converting the same information in the way that we require, thus making our system more efficient.

6. Cost Efficient

IoT helps in saving a lot of money. IoT will be extensively adopted in case the cost of monitoring and tagging equipments is not greater than the amount of money saved. People have found IoT very helpful in their day to day activities because the appliances interact with each other in an efficient manner thereby saving the cost and conserving the energy. Moreover, IoT enables the communication and sharing of data between the devices and converting the same information in the way that we require, thus making our system more efficient.

7. More Automation, Better Monitoring

As discussed earlier, IoT enables controlling and automation of your day to day undertakings, thus avoiding intervention of human. Moreover, the M2M communication helps in maintaining the transparency in the processes and leading to uniformity in the tasks. Automation helps in maintaining the quality of service and in case of any emergency, it allows us to take necessary actions.

8. Efficient and Time saving

Machine-to-machine communication provides an improved efficiency which further helps in obtaining accurate results speedily, eventually saving valuable time. Automation and controlling of daily tasks enables people to focus on other creative jobs instead of repeating them daily.

9. Saving Money

By adopting IoT technology and keeping the devices under surveillance, the optimum utilization of energy and resources can be achieved. In case of breakdowns, damages to the system and possible bottlenecks, we can be altered. Thus, by using this technology, we can save money.

10. Making Quality of Life Better

IoT technology provides greater convenience, comfort and and helps in better management of resources thereby making the life easy and improving the quality of life.

Future of IoT

It is predicted that by 2020, the number of internet connected things will reach to 50 billion or more. According to Gartner, the number of smartphone users will be more than 6.1 billion and more than 25 million internet connected vehicles on the road by 2020. The M2M connections are expected to grow from 5 billion to 27 billion by 2024, with China taking 21% and US taking 20% share respectively.

According to CISCO, IoT has the capability of generating a revenue of $4.6 trillion in the next 10 years for the public sector and $14.4 trillion for the private sector. As per the estimations by McKinsey Global Institute, by 2025 IoT will have a total economic impact of more that $11 trillion. Therefore, IoT has indeed a very bright future, especially with the rapid digitalization of the World, this technology is going to advance frequently creating a tremendous impact on our lives.