Humanity is entering a new era – the Internet of Things. Аfter a short space, items from our everyday life as cars, household appliances, smartphones will unite among themselves into a single network to ensure our comfort. Technologies have already allowed this. That is why the “Internet of Things” may soon radically change the interaction between man and machine, as well as cause the fourth industrial revolution.
What does the Internet of Things actually mean?
The Internet of Things (or IoT) is a worldwide web of interconnected machines and other physical objects, where information can be exchanged without human intervention. Namely, gadgets connected to the Internet transmit basic data in the “cloud”. Their items, equipped with receiving sensors, collect this information and use it to simplify multi-step tasks.
So, the Internet of Things can be characterized as a tight integration of the virtual and real worlds, where “communication” between people and devices takes place.
For example, if earlier people turn the lights on or off, check the light bulb for breakage by themselves:
Now people set up a rule and the light turns on at the right time:
The emergence of the Internet of Things is a rather expected step, as laziness is the engine of progress. Why do you need to go to the TV for switching channels, if you can come up with remote control, or why do you need to press a button on the coffee machine, if you can do it with the help of smartphone?
Overall development of IoT devices
Previously, the Internet of things was popular only in the development of “smart home” technology: for alarm starting when the motion was recorded in a closed apartment or for maintaining comfortable room temperature. Now, all industries, where process automation is needed, actively use IoT.
Therefore, if in 2017 the number of devices connected to the Internet exceeded 20 billion units, by 2025 there will be more than 70 billion.
There are some examples of the Internet of Things use in the world
- Agriculture New model of human interaction with devices has significantly simplified the process of soil and moisture monitoring – the need to control crop “manually” has disappeared. Now sensors in the ground record indicators, measuring the amount of moisture and assessing the needs of plants. Further, drones transmit the received information to engineers, who are able to adjust crop in real time. Moreover, about 25% of the harvest can be saved thanks to online weather monitoring. For example, the Netherlands became one of the world leaders in the agricultural products cultivation and took the 2nd place in the export of seed potatoes precisely because of the IoT system.
- Logistics Thanks to the Internet of Things, the delivery of any goods from production or from warehouses to stores has become more predictable. Logistics companies can track at what point the car needs to be pulled up for loading, and client has an opportunity to observe the movement of his package to destination. With the help of connected sensors, it will be possible to measure traffic congestion and optimize it. Where do we need to build a new junction or to launch a new route? A city that knows exactly how its inhabitants are moving will be able to build the most efficient transportation system.
- Retail One of the largest international retail Walmart, which has over 10 thousand stores in almost 30 countries around the world, owes much of its success to IoT technologies. Thanks to them, Walmart provides customers with exactly the goods in which they feel need, it allows to minimize the number of retired and damaged goods. For example, the introduction of the “smart” floor system with built-in sensors allows stores to track the “journey of consumer” over the entire area of market and analyze which products cause the greatest interest among buyers. Shops without cashiers, augmented reality, which allows you to tell more about product, cameras recognizing emotions of customers – all these inventions significantly improve the quality of service.
- “Smart” home “Smart” home means security management, climate control systems (air conditioners, fans, heating boilers), lighting (for example, switching on the chandelier at 8 pm), control of smart home appliances (for example, a coffee machine making coffee at exactly 10 am; fridge, signaling the absence of milk). Meters record how much energy they spent this month – there is no need to run and take readings. Some models even show how much a particular light bulb or home appliance consume.
- Medicine Medical devices connected to the Internet allow doctors to prevent serious complications and save lives (since data is collected and sent to doctor almost automatically, and it becomes possible to identify the causes of complications). For example, in Australia, doctors, based on data from wearable gadgets, can remotely monitor the health of patients and respond in real time. New technologies are actively used in Ukraine too. So, in 2017, HeartIn smart t-shirts appeared, they have a built-in system that performs heart diagnostics, including a cardiogram. Real-time data is transmitted to the program on a smartphone, where a person can assess his condition.
- City Infrastructure Planning transport routes (based on data on movement of people around the city), video surveillance, monitoring water levels in reservoirs, noise and pollution sensors – all these components make cities more convenient and safer. In addition, big data collected by devices enable the city authorities to understand needs of residents better.
- Telecom This industry is most susceptible to change, since mobile operators are gradually reviewing their business models — becoming not only network providers, but also providers of smart services and applications. Ukraine is also not lagging behind global trends. Mobile operator Lifecell, in partnership with IoT Ukraine, is going to build a separate network for the Internet of things, using LoRaWAN technology. LoRaWAN is a global standard for data transmission over long distances, which provides extensive coverage and operates in the unlicensed part of the spectrum. So, there is no need to obtain permits from the state. This new technique will allow to maintain communication between devices at a distance of 15 km with minimal energy consumption. This will help to reduce mobile operators’ costs and improve quality of communication between subscribers.
Near future of IoT
Currently, the Internet of things market is experiencing a period of rapid growth. Analysts from Ericsson claim that in 2018 the number of IoT sensors and devices exceeded number of mobile phones. Thus, smart gadgets is becoming the largest category of devices connected to the network.
Business Insider estimates that by 2025 more than 55 billion gadgets connected to the Internet of things will function, while population of the Earth will reach only 7.6 billion people. Moreover, total investments in IoT from 2017 to 2025 will be more than $ 15 trillion; for comparison, the US budget is measured at $ 3 trillion.
On the other hand, IT-specialists are concerned about security issues. Particularly, there have already been cases of hacking companies in the US through coffee machines and aquariums connected to the network.
Therefore, in the near future, developers will look for ways to make devices invulnerable from the outside, and we just have to wait until smart technologies can fully take root in our society.