The world and everything around us is becoming smart day by day. How good would it be if your own car can sense when you’re about to exit the mall and drive up to you with heated seats and music playing, which if one of your favourites. I’m not joking. This is what BMW is planning for the near future where your car will find its own parking space and your smart watch can control your car. The futuristic-minded early tech folks are primarily focussing on the Internet of Things (IoT).
Those were the gone days where we used a camera with film to take snaps, where people now use Google Glass to snap pictures, Nest to control their home temperature, make use of their smartphone to dim the light bulbs in their bedroom. I’m sure that within a decade, things will look much different and this is what IoT is all about where everyday objects that we interact with on a regular basis, will be capable of talking to each other. A world in which machines will be talking to machines and we humans beings can have a good time to rest.
“In the next century, planet earth will don an electronic skin.
It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations.”- Neil Gross 1999
These are a few interesting examples of how the Internet of Things could change our daily lives:
- Imagine you woke up in the morning by dismissing your alarm, immediately the alarm send signal to coffee maker saying you are awake and brew some coffee ready. In the meanwhile it also tells your water heater to warm up water.Once you are done with your shower, then the shower will tell the toaster to toast breakfast ready. Similarly you have water sprinkler which check today’s weather to see how much water needs to be sprayed on the lawn.
- Imagine if your fridge could analyze what is in it, and then build you a shopping list based on your previous food-buying habits. Or even your fridge sends you a message that it runs out of milk and when you’re walking down the supermarket, and you get to the milk fridge. Your shopping trolley vibrates, and the screen mounted on the trolley handles displays a message: “There is no milk in your fridge. Would you like to purchase some?”
- Smart toothbrushes are another item that already exist, but they are still in their early stages. Currently they can detect when you haven’t properly brushed certain areas of your mouth. However, smart toothbrushes could go one step further. One day, our toothbrushes will be able to detect the healthiness of your teeth, telling the user when it’s time to go to the dentist.
- What if our plates and bowls could track what we’re eating? This could not only help us with our diets, but could make waves in the health system as a whole. It could help make our health insurance cheaper and could help us live healthier lives.
- It’s 2025 and you’re stepping out of the office to hail a cab to your important business meeting. Of course, your Google Calendar automatically scanned your Gmail and uploaded an entry for your meeting to your phone. Your phone told your office that you were leaving. By the time you’re at the front door, your self-driving Google Cab has pulled up. You hop in and start to tell it where you want to go. Of course, it already knows.
- Your coffee saucer is actually a tiny scale. You’re at the cafe, reading Business Insider. You finish your coffee and put down the cup. You get a pop up on your tablet: “Looks like you’ve finished your coffee. Another?” You click yes, and the barista is sent an order.
- Your bed has an in-built sleep cycle monitor. Your new neighbours decided Thursday night was a great time to have a housewarming and play some obnoxious music until 3am. Your sleep was heavily interrupted. Your bed tells your alarm to give you an extra hour of sleep. Your alarm checks your schedule to see if you have any appointments first thing in the morning. You don’t, so it lets you sleep.
The above mentioned are all applications of connected devices. It is said that, currently there are 9 billion interconnected devices and it is expected to reach 24 billion devices by 2020. The main areas we will see the Internet of Things begin to take hold will be buildings automation, Smart Cities, consumer good & services, healthcare, Environmental Monitoring, Smart Agriculture, industrial & manufacturing, transportation, retail, and security. Let’s see how.
Smart Home Automation/Monitoring: A smart home is everyone’s dream from the day they started watching cartoons like The Jetsons, and IoT framework plays a vital role in enabling a smart monitoring system with wireless smart sensing units and effective data processing. Thus with the help of sensors we can collect a wide range of data regarding household appliances usages and execute multiple tasks of IoT for the smart home monitoring system like energy consumption management, interaction with appliances, detecting emergencies, home security, remote management of household facilities such as lighting, heating, etc. sensors can also be implemented in and around a house to warn owners of intruders, or of any household problems, such as plumbing issues, sewage issues etc. Ladies will be happy if, smart appliances will also start to take over the kitchen, in the most helpful and satisfying manner. It may sound very futuristic but I’m sure that it will be coming to your local neighbourhood within a few years.
Smart Cities: A wide set of IoT applications can be used to create smart cities that are more sustainable, and safe. The applications of interest range from systems supporting urban mobility and its safety such as smart parking, traffic congestion, intelligent transportation systems, monitoring of critical infrastructures in cities for structural health, smart lighting, and smart roads systems monitoring waste management. Intelligent buildings can be controlled via wireless sensors in the framework of the IoT. Monitoring air quality, discovering emergency routes, efficient lighting up of the city. Traffic congestion directly imposes significant costs on economic and social growth of a city e.g. supply chain efficiencies and productivity are severely impacted by this congestion causing freight delays and delivery schedule failures which can be overcome with help of IoT applications thus allowing better planning and improve scheduling. The IoT will surely replace the current traffic information provided by the existing inductive plate vehicle detectors employed at the intersections of traffic control systems. Combined with information gathered from the urban traffic control system, valid and relevant information on traffic conditions can be presented to travellers/drivers.
Environmental Monitoring: This has nowadays turned out to be an important field of research and development. People have even started sending sensor equipped monitoring systems to Martian planet to understand more about the different environmental aspects such as air/water etc. There are systems available to monitor information’s such as air/water pollution data, lake/river pollution information, plant/crop growth indicators, lighting, earthquake detection, flooding detection, volcano eruption forecasting, weather forecasting etc., thereby helping us to take appropriate actions in advance. These applications can be realized using a low-cost, reliable and efficient system through an IoT framework.
Smart Transport/Logistics: Smart transport can be achieved with the help of IoT sensors wherein we will be able to track our goods been shipped and thereby helping in improving the efficiency of the logistics sector and warehousing sector. The logistics sector are now changing so fast that they have even started using mobile robotics applications supported by IoT in which mobile robots interact with fixed IoT infrastructures to support internal logistics in manufacturing plants. The IoT can find very important applications in industry like fleet and UBI where the telematics application is widely been used.
Smart Agriculture/Animal Farming: Smart agriculture can be achieved with the help of IoT where sensory will help you in telling the soil deficiency, soil temperature, water content, environmental weather etc. Closely related to smart agriculture is smart animal farming where you can improve the productivity of the yield by monitoring animal health conditions, animal tracking and identification and living environment. The farmers can be informed through different communication platforms e.g. mobile phone text message about the portion of land that need particular attention with the help of a network of different sensors that can sense data and perform data processing. Intelligent farming system will help agronomists and other agricultural departments to have better understanding of the plant growth, gain knowledge of land conditions and how climatic changes affect the yield etc. thus significantly increasing the agricultural productivity.
Smart Healthcare/Monitoring:The Internet of Things could be a game changer for the healthcare industry. It is transforming healthcare industry by increasing efficiency, lowering costs and put the focus back on better patient care. IoT Healthcare solutions can remotely monitor patients suffering from various disorders like diabetes with the help of an intelligent framework system, so that one can obtain an valuable level of real- time, life-critical data.The can be used for applications like outpatient monitoring,remote monitoring,doctor on call and clinical care.