Internet of Things seems to be the new buzzword in our lives. We all seem to have heard it somewhere, we are all incredibly fascinated by it. But what exactly is the Internet of Things?
IoT (Internet of Things) can be defined as networking of physical objects through the use of embedded sensors, actuators and other devices which can transmit information.
Okay, that is a bit technical. Let us break it down a little. Your everyday gadgets, electronic devices, and machines are set to become your best friends. Right now, you possess a smartphone, but sooner or later, all your devices are going to become really ‘smart’. And the possibilities are endless!
IoT comes into play in all of this because it is going to design your gadgets or machines in such a way that they capture and utilize every bit of data which you share or use in everyday life. And these devices will use this data to interact with you on a daily basis and complete tasks.
These interconnected devices will work in sync with each other to make your life easier. Sounds too good to be true? Read on to find out how IoT apps are making our lives easier.
From Home Sweet Home to a Home Smart Home!
When we hear the word Smart Home, the image of Amazon Alexa crosses our minds, or maybe Google Home’s image. Without pressing a single button using our hands, these gadgets let us set timers while we’re cooking, listen to music, and even get us the day’s weather report! Who knew that a simple thing such as a home speaker can add so much value to our life.
Another example is that of Whirlpool and IBM, who collaborated to incorporate a technology that allows home appliances to be connected, such as a washing machine and a dishwasher. With the help of IOT, Whirlpool can have access to data on how consumers are using their machines and how the machines are responding. This information is necessary to estimate what is working well, what can be improved, and what the customer needs are. Thus, they can create even better products as per customer preferences in the future.
Imagine if your coffee machine, alarm clock, and shower are seamlessly working together. The machine would know when you turned off the alarm. It could start roasting the coffee beans. And when you turned on the shower, the machine would know it’s time to start brewing. So that when you are out of the shower, Voila! There is a hot cup of coffee waiting for you.
The possibilities are endless, and IoT is set to make our lives much easier!
Creating Smart Cities
IoT is not only making our homes smarter, but it is also helping our cities to get smarter as well. Significant efforts are being put into to connect various necessary services to each other like traffic management, electricity distribution, water requirements, healthcare and many other services. This will help in improving the lives of people as a whole and they will be able to access services without any fuss.
It will also help in reducing casualties due to human errors and will open up new possibilities. The main feature of any smart city is its integration with information technology on a very high level and using IT to its advantage. IoT helps in doing just that and much more.
IoT enables use of various sensors like GPS, IR, RFID, etc. and using them to achieve intelligent recognition, tracking, location and many other services. This will help us in streamlining many of the major issues that we suffer in everyday life.
Turning Devices into a Point of Sale
Visiting a petrol pump to refill the car tank? Well, it’s a hassle. First, there is a queue at the machines. And then the payment takes ages. When paying by cash, the attendant almost never has the required change. Electronic mode of payment is great, but what if you forgot your card at home?
With the internet of things, you wouldn’t have to worry about this stuff. IOT combined with ‘cognitive commerce’ can help transform any connected device as a mode of payment.
So in the future, you could simply add your credit card information to your connected car, get your petrol tank refilled, and your payment information would link with the parking meter or petrol pump. Such payment means are already making their way in our lives, like Apple Pay – instead of taking your credit card out of your wallet and swiping it, you just scan your phone to pay for your stuff.
There are many opportunities when it comes to cognitive commerce, and we’ll see more examples of companies turning any device into a point of sale to eradicate steps and make your life easier.
Connecting Workspaces and Adjusting Personal Settings
While IoT definitely makes our personal lives much easier, it is also set to help change the way we work. There are countless ways IoT can help businesses and people at work.
IoT can enable companies to track and manage inventory in a more efficient manner, access data about employees and manage that data with ease and also keep a track of how their products are performing, what are the changes required and what is working in favour of the companies.
Workspaces are also going to become smarter, due to well-connected offices which will help employees communicate better with their teams, get warnings when machine supplies are running low, and more.
The dreaded commute to work will also become more bearable as IoT-enabled technology and devices continue to become more advanced. With smart traffic signals and self-driving vehicles, sitting in traffic on your way to work will eventually become a thing of the past. Work life is set to become less stressful, all thanks to IoT.
How many of you own a Fitbit? The number is expected to be quite large. Wearables have experienced an explosive demand in markets all over the world. Companies like Google, Samsung have invested heavily in building such devices. Here is an explanation of what wearable technology is and how it works. Wearable devices are installed with sensors and software which collect data and information about the users.
The collected data is later pre-processed to extract important insights about the user. These devices broadly cover fitness, health and entertainment requirements. The pre-requisite from the internet of things technology for wearable applications is to be highly energy efficient or ultra-low power and small sized.
And this is exactly why they are so popular with the people. Their small size and capability to add value to our daily lives are of great importance and they have thus easily become an indispensable part of our lives.
Well, These were just a few examples of how IoT is making our lives easier today, and it will be thrilling to see where it will bring us in the next few years. As technology continues to become more and more advanced, we’re going to see a world where IoT touches every aspect of our lives, creating a more connected and productive society.
James Grills is a technical writer with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of mobile application development and IoT technology. He is a marketing advisor – currently associated with Cumulations Technologies a mobile app development company in India.