The Future is Now with the Internet of Things
Here at Interactive Communications we’ve been bringing you the latest news on the Internet of Things (IoT) for quite some time now. The Internet of Things is a term that we’re using to describe the interconnection of identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing Internet structure. The IoT is bringing us an enhanced connectivity of services, systems and devices that go beyond machine to machine (M2M) communications and will eventually result in the automation of nearly everything. It’s already predicted that by the year 2020 a massive 50 billion devices will be on the the IoT which is likely to have a dramatic effect on the way in which we live and work.
All the hype surrounding the IoT may have left some of us wondering if it’s just a gimmick – smart refrigerators, smart cookers, smart heating and air conditioning – what’s the point of it all? Well, the IoT actually has the potential to bring big changes to the world in which we live. It can change how we monitor and maintain our health, how our food is grown and even how the city we live in uses electricity.
In the year 2008, there were already more internet connected items on this planet than there are human beings so the IoT is already well on its way to taking over. While we’re quite familiar with computers, tablets and smartphones that connect to the internet, we’re due to see the connection of items that were formerly unconnected, such as cars, industrial equipment, aircraft turbines and even trees. The IoT is predicted to increase efficiency and make our lives easier to manage.
According to General Electric, the American multinational corporation, we can save a whopping $276 billion in the next 15 years if the oil, gas, power, healthcare, aviation and rail industries increase efficiency by just 1% using the IoT. Moreover, the IoT technologies could go on to represent up to $15 trillion of GDP by 2030. CISCO, the American multinational technology company that designs and sells networking equipment, predicts that companies will generate $19 trillion in combined revenue and cost savings from the IoT over the coming ten years.
Agricultural companies already use the IoT to increase crop yields and improve field management. One company is using the IoT in order to supply pest control services for orchards to monitor pests remotely. Boxes equipped with cameras, sensors and cellular connection are hung in trees and if too many bugs are detected in the area, the boxes release pheromones to confuse the insects’ mating habits and protect the crop.
As for health care, there is an ingestible sensor available that sends data to a wearable patch so that medical professionals and family members can monitor when a patient has taken his medication.
General Electric is using sensors and software to connect airplane turbines to the internet, collecting and analysing the information gleaned so that turbines are kept in effective operating condition at all times. Meanwhile, London, Rotterdam and Prague are some of the first cities to create internet connected city light systems, enabling efficient use of energy and alerts on broken lighting. San Jose in California is monitoring pollution via the IoT, managing water quality and improving traffic patterns.
The Internet of Things is here to stay and we’re looking towards a future that will enable us to make the most of a technology that our grandparents would think came out of a science fiction novel.