The “Internet of things” (IoT) has become a popular topic of discussion in the last couple of years, it is revolutionizing not just the way we live but also the way we work. It has far reaching impact across industries, with its varied applications. A report predicts that there Will be 41 Billion IoT Devices by 2027, and the Total Economic Impact of IoT Could Range Between $4 and $11 Trillion per Year by 2025.
What exactly do we mean by IoT?
In simple words, IoT is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, refrigerators, wearable devices and almost anything else, mostly referred to as ‘smart devices’. This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig.
Technologies that made IoT possible
While the idea of IoT has been in existence for a long time, a collection of recent advances in a number of different technologies has made it practical.
Impact of IoT across Industries
Internet of Things has created a huge stir due to its application in almost every sphere of modern civilization that’s been touched by technology. Along with sensing and accumulating real-time data, IoT systems are also capable of reviewing the situation and taking physical action. Although IoT is still evolving and it definitely has a long way to go, as people discover its increasing benefits, its promising and pragmatic applications and impact can be already seen in various industries, and we have listed some of them below.
Before the Internet of Things, patients’ interactions with doctors were limited to visits, and tele and text communications. It was not possible for hospitals or healthcare specialists to monitor patients’ health continuously or remotely and make recommendations and treat patients accordingly.The advent of IoT has made a wide range of services possible in the healthcare domain, and it has enabled a connected healthcare ecosystem making it easy for patients to access and track their health information and allows for seamless communication with their providers. The IoT healthcare market is predicted to grow rapidly in the succeeding years.By now, 60% of healthcare providers have already adopted IoT solutions and successfully use them in their work. Here are 3 applications of IoT in healthcare:
1. Smart Hospitals
IoT can help reduce the manual work which can be flawed and cumbersome. The huge amount of paperwork can be replaced with an automated, centralized database, a single management system can receive submissions, help optimally control queues, and track staff members via their smartphones; all the equipment can also be remotely monitored and managed (e.g., shut down in unprecedented cases). This leads to a more centralized system, which significantly diminishes chances of errors.Such innovations can greatly reduce the operational costs, increase efficiency and are more sustainable.
2. Smart Hospitals
Smart pills are edible IoT pills that help in monitoring the body functions, and can detect any kind of anomaly. They have micro-sensors which are ingestible and dissolve in the stomach. The body too is attached with a device which accumulates the data transmitted via the sensors, and the data can be accessed via smartphones.
3. Wearables for Patients
Devices in the form of wearables like fitness bands and other wirelessly connected devices like blood pressure and heart rate monitoring cuffs, glucometer etc. enable continuous and close monitoring of the patients. These devices can be tuned to remind calorie count, exercise check, appointments, blood pressure variations, and much more.
It is having a significant impact on the lives of people needing medical attention, especially the elderly, by facilitating constant tracking of their health. On any disturbance or changes in the routine activities of a person, alert mechanism sends signals to family members and concerned health providers.
Full-blown smart hospitals, mHealth as a regular, common thing on a global scale, and reduced physical visits to hospitals – this is only an approximate picture of the success of IoT in the healthcare sector, due to its impact across verticals.
And even though there are some challenges in its development and adoption, things are predicted to go well for this technological innovation in the near future.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) takes networked sensors and intelligent devices and puts those technologies to use directly on the manufacturing floor, collecting data to drive artificial intelligence and predictive analytics. The introduction of IoT has helped change the way most of the manufacturing process is carried out including how the products are made and delivered, how their data is collected from places that are too dangerous for human operators and also while ensuring efficiency throughout product quality.By 2021, the industrial IoT market size should reach $124 billion and it is predicted that 80% of industrial manufacturing companies will adopt IoT technology.Here are 3 ways in which IoT is transforming manufacturing.
1. Predictive Maintenance
Predictive maintenance is one of the most widely used applications of Industrial IoT. It prevents assets failure by monitoring production data to recognize patterns and estimate concerns before they happen and enables manufacturers to reduce service costs, enhance uptime and improves productionAccording to a survey, companies who outfitted their machinery and manufacturing equipment with IoT sensors saw a dramatic increase in their working efficiency. IoT sensors also helped in predicting if a machine was about to reach a dangerous working condition or were about to explode.
2. Supply Chain Management
IoT devices have revolutionized supply chain management (SCM). It facilitates easier and precise tracking of goods, how they are being stored and when they can be expected at a specific location. Another major variable that’s difficult to manage in the supply chain is inventory. Accurately forecasting demand has its limitations and stock levels can be adversely affected by many outside inefficiency factors. Irregular spikes in demand can be caused by sudden fashion crazes, or winter stock left on shelves due to unseasonably warm weather.So smart devices can really make a difference in their ability to closely monitor and deal with more variables than ever, thus strengthening the supply chain system for increased efficiency and optimization.
3. Digital Twins
Digital twins replicate the developing product in a digital form, so that it is possible to understand the shortcomings before the entire product is finished and investments made.By retrofitting sensors, industries gather data about their product’s entire working mechanism and the output expected from each module. The collected data from the digital replica enables managers to analyze the effectiveness, efficiency and accuracy of the system. They can also identify potential bottlenecks in their product so that it can be rectified in time thus saving a lot of losses which could have been made otherwise.Digital Twins also streamline operations like asset management and failure management and aid industries in forecasting about their products and projects, and successfully follow deadlines.The future of IoT has the potential to be limitless. These advances will be fostered by increased network agility, integrated artificial intelligence (AI) and the capacity to deploy, automate, orchestrate and secure diverse use cases at hyper-scale.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has disrupted many industries and the agriculture industry isn’t an exception. The agricultural IoT market is expected to grow to USD 4.3 billion by 2023 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 19.3%.The Industrial IoT has been a driving force behind increased agricultural production at a lower cost, in the face of ever growing population. Several researches suggest that in the coming years, the use of smart solutions powered by IoT will increase in the agriculture operations. Some reports predict that the IoT device installation will see a compound annual growth rate of 20% in the agriculture industry, and the no. of connected devices (agricultural) will grow to approximately 225 million by 2024.Below are mentioned a few applications of IoT in the agricultural industry.
1. Precision Farming
Precision farming can be thought of as anything that makes farming practice more controlled and accurate when it comes to raising livestock and growing crops. The main aim is to analyze the data, generated via sensors and react accordingly. In this approach of farm management, a key component is the use of IT and various items like sensors, control systems, robotics, autonomous vehicles, automated hardware, variable rate technology, and so on.The adoption of access to high-speed internet, mobile devices, and reliable, low-cost satellites (for imagery and positioning) by the manufacturer are a few key technologies characterizing the precision agriculture trend. With the help of Precision farming, you can analyze soil conditions and other related parameters to increase the operational efficiency, as well as monitor real time conditions for better and healthier produce.
2. Agricultural Drones
Drones are being used in the agricultural sector on a large scale to enhance various agricultural practices. Ground-based and aerial-based drones are being used in agriculture for crop health assessment, irrigation, crop monitoring, crop spraying, planting, and soil and field analysis.The major benefits of using drones include crop health imaging, integrated GIS mapping, ease of use, saves time, and the potential to increase yields. With strategy and planning based on real-time data collection and processing, drone technology will give a high-tech makeover to the agriculture industry.
3. Smart Greenhouse
IoT has facilitated weather stations to automatically adjust the climate conditions according to a particular set of instructions. Adoption of IoT in Greenhouses has eliminated human intervention, thus making the entire process cost-effective and increasing accuracy at the same time. For example, using solar-powered IoT sensors builds modern and inexpensive greenhouses. These sensors collect and transmit the real-time data which helps in monitoring the greenhouse state very precisely in real-time. With the help of the sensors, the water consumption and greenhouse state can be monitored via emails or SMS alerts. Automatic and smart irrigation is carried out with the help of IoT. These sensors help to provide information on the pressure, humidity, temperature and light levels.
- Retail Industry
The Internet of Things-enabled retail market could be worth $94 billion or more by 2025 according to a report. This is because of the numerous benefits that IoT offers to the retail sector, from inventory management, equipment maintenance to enabling a better customer experience.To state the facts, between revenue growth, cost reductions, and business process optimizations, experts estimate the annual digital value IoT creates across the global retail sector to be worth almost three trillion dollars. Almost 70 percent of retailers believe this technology will significantly impact how they do business in the future.Therefore, smart farming has a real potential to deliver a more productive and sustainable form of agricultural production, based on a more precise and resource-efficient approach. New farms will finally realize the eternal dream of mankind. It’ll feed our population, which may explode to 9.6 billion by 2050. Here are 3 applications of IoT in the retail sector:
1. Automated Checkouts
It is an established fact that no one likes to stand in long queues while shopping, with IoT, a system can be set up to read tags on each item when a customer leaves the store. A checkout system would then tally the items up and automatically deduce that cost from the customers’ mobile payment app. This makes the shopping experience smoother and saves people a lot of time. It can also save stores tonnes of money – McKinsey estimates automated checkout can reduce cashier staff requirements by up to 75%, resulting in savings of $150 billion to $380 billion a year in 2025.2.
2. Smart Shelves
Smart Shelves can be used to automate manual tasks like keeping track of the available inventory, or making sure that things don’t get misplaced, and detecting potential theft.Smart shelves are fitted with weight sensors and use RFID tags and readers to scan the products on both display and stock shelves. Smart Shelves send out alerts when items are running low or when items are incorrectly placed on a shelf, which makes the inventory process cost-effective and more precise. Additionally, each RFID tag is connected to a reader, so Smart Shelves are able to detect in-store theft, saving money on security personnel and cameras.
3. Personalized Discounts
There’s nothing that assures customers buying an item or returning to the store for future purchases than offering them attractive discounts. IoT helps set up sensors around the store that send loyalty discounts to certain customers when they stand near products with their smartphones, if those customers sign up for a loyalty program in advance.IoT can also be used to track items a customer has been looking at online, and send that customer a personalized discount when they are in-store. Rather than offering general discounts on a wide variety of products, if it can be tailored for individual customers, it is sure to maximize conversion rates and garner higher customer retention.IoT will dramatically transform and innovate the retail industry in the coming years. It will help retail companies to create successful marketing campaigns based on customer behavior, deliver high-quality services, improve inventory management, and reduce operational costs.
The future of IoT looks bright and promising. With all the predictions and concepts in the works, our lives are about to turn much easier and efficient whether we are talking about navigating around our cities, carrying out manufacturing processes or other operations at work, or turning our homes smarter.The true value of IoT resides in the insights and automation that are enabled when you have automatic access to real-time data on everything that’s important to your business. It will become odd to not have real-time insight into every aspect of your organization. Data and insights will flow in the background, ever-present and yet unseen, until there’s a need for human input. It will facilitate data based decision making and strategies that benefits all stakeholders, and provide for a better experience be it in healthcare, hospitality or shopping.IoT as a technology will definitely redefine the way business is done, and lead to greater profits and smoother operations for businesses as its adoption increases manifold in the coming years.