These days, there are millions and millions of devices connected to the internet that transfer data without any human intervention at all.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that by 2025 there will be around 41.6 billion of connected IoT devices which will be generating an estimate of 79.4 zettabytes (ZB) of data!!
From smart light bulbs to refrigerators, just about anything can be connected to the internet persistently.
Much of this is due to the fact that efficient wireless technology suitable for IoT (such as Zigbee, Zwave etc) has seen great advancements and also the device chips needed to enable and maintain a good connection are small and inexpensive to produce.
Table of Contents
- What Are Some Benefits of the Internet of Things?
- Automation and Control
- Access Information in Real-Time
- New Business Opportunities
- Improve Monitoring with Sensors
- Machine-to-Machine Communication
- Better Quality of Life
- Cost Reduction
- Increased Efficiency and Productivity of Businesses
- Predictive Analysis Thanks to the Collection of Big Data
- Remote Health Monitoring
What Are Some Benefits of the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things is here to stay. In fact, it’s not just a gimmick, because it can be so incredibly useful.
You might wonder why your refrigerator can connect to the internet, but there are more benefits than most people can imagine. Some of the main advantages of IoT are discussed below.
Automation and Control
Perhaps one of the simplest examples of automation and control via an IoT smart device is the humble light bulb. So-called smart bulbs that can connect to the home network have really exploded in popularity. They provide people with the ability to control when lights are turned on and off, as well as other functions.
It’s not just smart lighting though. You can have internet-connected devices anywhere in the home. Voice control through Google or Amazon devices can easily integrate with TVs and other devices on the network so that you can automate their schedules or turn them on and off with a simple command.
In industrial applications, IoT devices can control manufacturing lines, robots etc with automated remote control of the machines in the factory.
Access Information in Real-Time
Perhaps the primary benefit of internet-connected devices is that they provide up to the second information.
Imagine a scenario where products throughout a large warehouse are all connected to the local network. These persistent connections provide information such as product movement logged in with time and date, and data on when new stock needs to be ordered and in what quantities.
Consider also the opportunities for internet-connected devices in a setting where real-time monitoring is critical. Sensors that measure temperature, for example, can feed back into a system that controls and automates commercial and industrial refrigeration.
New Business Opportunities
The very idea of IoT presents businesses with a multitude of new opportunities. Though smart devices are penetrating various layers of society, widespread use and acceptance is not quite there yet.
Imagine a business that focused solely on creating and installing internet-connected devices into cars and other vehicles. Or a start-up business that creates wearables for people with specific health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
Improve Monitoring with Sensors
For businesses, the Internet of Things provides fantastic opportunities for growth and data collection. When deployed across a network of objects, the collected data can inform business decisions at a truly granular level.
For example, internet-connected tags on supermarket products can provide real-time information about purchasing trends across the typical day.
This feeds into much better inventory control, and also provides excellent insight into buying patterns. It can even be linked directly to individual customer transactions at the checkout and cross-referenced with zip code data that is also collected.
Another example is security monitoring using motion or impact sensors or security cameras. These can be classified as IoT devices which work continuously to provide security to our properties.
By definition, the Internet of Things operates without human intervention. Data is collected and logged in real-time regardless of whether we collect it or not. The real impact of this is that services can be made much more efficient.
This machine-to-machine communication effectively creates an efficiency of data collection that obviates the need for staff members to do the same job. In fact, it makes the job of operating staff easier because they can focus on the data rather than the collection of it.
A typical scenario of machine-to-machine is the tracking of mileage and routes in cars. For example, a company that own a fleet of cars with employees using them for business operations can track the usage and mileage of each car using IoT devices installed in each car.
These devices send real-time data back to a server for monitoring and tracking purposes.
Better Quality of Life
There are many instances where the convergence of big data and IoT can create better outcomes for people. Those who focus solely on businesses don’t see the whole picture and what IoT can truly provide.
For example, the use of smart devices in medicine can literally save lives. Smart blood pressure monitors that send back information in real-time, or smart pills that can be ingested and send back data as they move through the gastrointestinal tract are both great examples of how networked devices can truly benefit people.
The use of smart devices can be applied on a city-wide scale too. Internet connected traffic lights and traffic sensors can feed back the data. This results in predictive outcomes that can adapt to traffic flows at any time.
The use of smart devices in cars and other vehicles can connect wirelessly to toll gates, traffic lights ahead, and road safety monitors to provide real-time feedback to drivers and authorities on traffic conditions and the risk of accidents.
Cost reductions are widespread when devices are connected and networked. This machine-to-machine mesh of data not only provides real-time data and opportunities for analysis, but also enables much greater improvements in efficiency across the board.
This is not just restricted to smart inventory technologies, but also development cost reductions and a lowering of the cost of materials. As sensors and internet connectivity is rolled out, businesses become smarter.
For example, information about worker movement and motion, pollution levels, and temperature provide cost lowering benefits. Sensors in lights turn on only at times when people are moving through areas, thus saving on utility costs.
Ambient temperature sensors are linked to automated heating and cooling systems that require no human intervention and provide fully climate-controlled environments that save money.
Increased Efficiency and Productivity of Businesses
Just as Google and Amazon voice-activated products can increase efficiency at home, the IoT can also improve business and industrial productivity and efficiency.
For example, improved data collection through a network of internet-connected devices can provide incredibly detailed information that can be analyzed and used by the business to improve customer service or business processes.
For example, energy companies will often estimate a utility bill if they cannot access a property. But if the electrical box is connected directly to the utility company via the internet, no customer ever needs to worry about such a bill again.
Predictive Analysis Thanks to the Collection of Big Data
Big data has been a buzzword for some years now and was certainly popular before IoT took off. Internet-connected devices exist to gather data, whether it is tracking inventory or customer activity. All of this data feeds back into the system and improves efficiencies.
Big data is analyzed to generate new opportunities and predict everything from customer behavior to stock control. As we roll out smart devices into homes and schools, more data is gathered and more predictive techniques can be applied to improve our lives.
Remote Health Monitoring
Medical advances have ensured that more people are living into old age, but technology is helping to push these boundaries even further. In a world where communication is key, and where early detection is important, IoT devices can be incredibly useful.
Imagine a health bracelet with an embedded monitoring system that can keep an eye on blood sugar levels, for example. This internet-connected diabetic bracelet can log blood sugar levels and send notifications directly to other family members and even medical personnel.
For those with chronic illnesses who need to be monitored remotely by health professionals, a discrete internet-connected device provides real time data that can be analyzed.
The Internet of Things is growing all around us whether we realize it or not. It’s clear that businesses can take advantage of the many opportunities provided by it, but the real challenge will be in how we take advantage of it to improve our lives.