IoT technologies: a simplified yet advanced future

IoT Internet of Things

An IoT system is made up of sensors and devices that communicate with the cloud through some form of connectivity. If the data reaches the cloud, software analyses it and can decide to take action, such as sending an alert of automatically modifying the sensors/ devices without the need for the user’s intervention. In non-technical explanation, this IoT technology complies with 4 distinct components known as: sensors/devices, data processing, connectivity, and a user interface.

Almost any physical object can be transformed into an IoT device if it can be connected to the internet for users to control them. A door lock can be locked and unlocked using a smartphone app is also an IoT device. Some larger physical forms of objects, such as jet engines, can be combined with several small IoT parts, with thousands of sensors gathering and transmitting data back to ensure it is running efficiently. Even wide areas like smart cities and landscapes, can be equipped with sensors to help us better understand and take care of the environment. The term IoT refers to devices that aren’t typically expected to have an internet connection and can communicate with networks without human intervention. As a result, a computer isn’t generally deemed as an IoT device, nor is a smartphone despite the latter’s abundance of sensors. However, a smartwatch, fitness band or other wearable devices counts as one.

IoT is on the rise and is rapidly evolving to be integrated into our daily lives. Sensors are being added to product components and data which will be transmitted back to the manufacturers. This will help businesses identify when a part is about to fail and replace it until it causes harm. Companies can also use the data supplied by these sensors to improve the efficiency of their processes and supply chains, as they will have far more detailed information about what’s going on. IoT is more flexible than you think, this technology can branch out to Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G and Big Data. The combination of Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things (AIoT) are significantly more mainstream due to the transformation in fundamental ways on how we live our lives and process data.

Major AIoT segments:

1. Wearables

Wearable devices such as smart watches, AR/VR goggles and wireless earbuds assist users to monitor and track user preferences. With its core function input, other applications were included to maximize its function like fitness and health tracker, heart rate monitoring, etc. Many people are now opting for the environmentally friendly option of recycling their wired earbuds and switching to true wireless to save the environment.

2. Smart Home

Smart home automation is no longer the rare thing you wish you can get from a sci-fi movie in a futuristic set. What if you could drive down the street with your garage door wide open and shut it at a distance? Or playing your favourite music from Spotify across your entire home with just a click away? AIoT helps to bring your cool tech dreams to life. Chances are there are already some AIoT devices in your home, like sprinklers turning off automatically after a certain minute or your coffee machine stops brewing indicating that it’s ready to drink.

3. Smart City

A smart city employs information and communication technology (ICT) to boost operational performance, exchange data with the public, and improve government service and citizens’ welfare. Smart cities integrate all levels of services to become safer, more convenient and more comfortable. Such build ups can help improve the quality of smart cities including but not limited to, smart street lights, smart public transportation, smart energy grids, and many more. For example, unexpected events, such as breakdowns, road closures, or inclement weather, may cause public transportation to be disrupted. IoT would be able to conveniently inform districts to alert passengers, re-route vehicles, and assist them in making alternative plans.

IoT sets a high promise to improve everyone’s lives and make our environment better, smarter and more measurable. Security systems allow you to keep an eye on what’s going on inside and outside of your home, as well as see and speak with visitors. Meanwhile, smart thermostats will help us heat our homes until we return.

IoT and Big Data:

To simply put, big data refers to a humongous amount of information. Coming from a variety of sources, from connected devices to the amount of clicks from online consumers. The units measured are typically petabytes, exabytes, and terabytes. The linking with Artificial Intelligence (AI) aids in the process of big data analysis. They are used to compile data from multiple sources to analyse future outcomes and make recommendations. For example, YouTube remembers the videos you watch and will recommend similar titles or categories for future viewing. IoT expands widely to many sectors, used for fleet tracking, asset management, and many more.

While collecting big sets of data, the IoT runs analytics simultaneously to support users real-time decisions. An e-commerce business could monitor customer’s behaviour over time and use that information to create personalized content and ads for customers. However, in life threatening situations such as a smart car, the system needs to know the after effects earlier to make a split-second decision. The IoT and big data have an important bond that will continue to grow as technology progresses. Companies who want to harness the power of data should think carefully about the devices they use and the types of data they obtain.

IoT and Security:

With all those sensors collecting data and communicating with end users, IoT is potentially a big headache when it comes to privacy and security. Take it from smart homes: it knows when you wake up, what clothes you want to wear (smart closet), the type of food you’ll eat for breakfast (smart fridge), how you like your coffee brewed (smart coffee machine) and when you’ll leave to work (smart clock). Even though companies are thriving to sell smart objects for modernity and convenience, there’s a slight chance that the IoT business model involves selling some data to buyers. Companies need to make sure privacy is 100% concealed and private to give confidence to users to use it safely.

Most IoT businesses are still in the trial stage, owing to the fact that the requisite technology – sensor technology, 5G, and machine-learning-powered analytics – is still in its early stages of growth. Our living and working environment is already slowly consumed with smart products, what more with additional upcoming connected devices – assuming we are able to consider the protection and privacy trade-offs. The modern world of smart things will be welcomed by some, while others yearn for the simpler times when a chair was just that: a chair.