What is IoT? The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a network of digital devices over the internet that use embedded sensors to transmit user data between them and the cloud. More popularly known for their application in "smart homes", the purpose of these interconnected systems is to make life easier with devices that communicate independently and respond to human stimuli.
IoT is witnessing a wide array of applications spanning sectors such as home decor, entertainment, healthcare, security, autonomous vehicles, intelligent shopping assistance, and manufacture. Technologies such as cloud computing, Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and constantly improving internet protocols form the backbone of IoT.
A great real world example of this technology’s application can be seen in an IoT enabled Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) developed by Daffodil.
What Are The Major Infrastructure Components of an IoT System?
An IoT system consists of sensors that share user data such as motion or body temperature with the internet through a connectivity channel. The data gets processed using various Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and then a response is sent back.
The response depends on the IoT device involved - a change in the thermostat's temperature, a shift in the security camera's angle, turning off the home theatre, and so on.
There exists a series of carefully sequenced software and hardware components that make up the infrastructure of IoT. They can be broadly classified as the following:
Sensors are embedded in every IoT device and are the components that directly communicate with the stimulus that the device is designed for. They majorly capture the electric pulse and analog signals and these signals make their way through the IoT ecosystem.
Data collected from these sensors could be in the form of human activity similar to what a gyroscope or accelerometer in your mobile phone picks up. The sensors are chosen based on the compatibility with the IoT device and the accuracy of data collection.
The data collected by the sensor needs a medium for transfer to the data processing layer. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWAN) are some examples of reliable IoT data transfer networks. To maintain interconnections Li-Fi, where data travels as photons, is an emerging option. Power consumption, range, and bandwidth are considered when choosing the appropriate network.
The compute engines built on cloud services such as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) take care of the data processing. The data is preprocessed and converted to a format that is compatible with machine learning methods such as clustering, regression models, and dimensionality reduction.
The ML models used depend upon data processing use cases such as temperature checks and identifying images with computer vision. These models also make insights to help improve the system and reduce the future margin of error for the IoT device.
When sensitive user data is at the center of the entire IoT paradigm the biggest concern is the appropriate protection strategies for this data. With the help of state-of-the-art firmware and anti-malware systems, we ensure proper encryption and access control for IoT systems. These security provisions are applied at every level of the system where there is an exchange of data taking place.
The user and the IoT network interact with each other through a number of methods, but most of the visible communication happens through a mobile app. The IoT device could send notifications to the user - a smart water heater could notify the user that the water is warm enough or the user could check surveillance video on an IoT monitoring tool.
While some actions are performed automatically, the user may take control when required through the mobile app. Automation comes in handy especially in home security networks that can notify the authorities in case of a break-in while informing the user about it via the mobile app.
What are the Existing Applications of IoT?
A broad array of sectors like social media, healthcare, home entertainment, manufacturing, and transport leverage the applications of IoT. Some of the current real-world applications of IoT are detailed below:
IoT is helping in automating medical processes and in gathering tons of insightful patient data. This technology is embedded in telehealth wearables as well as implantable devices which are integrated with mobile applications. Remote healthcare monitoring is gaining widespread adoption in the post-COVID-19 era and this is made possible with IoT technology.
Industrial IoT (IIoT), also referred to as Industrial Internet, is bringing together automated industrial equipment with predictive and prescriptive analytics. This is leading to more custom industrial business decisions as well. Applications of IIoT include detection of machine corrosion, identifying additional capacity in supply chains, and gathering operations and service data for powerful manufacturing strategies.
Smart grids using IoT technology are the foundation of future smart cities that are currently being developed. IoT-powered smart grids help in managing traffic, water supply, early detection of acute power influxes, and also early detection of earthquakes and floods. Advanced power lines, seismographs, and smart meters are being integrated with IoT increasingly for this purpose.
The large amounts of data gathered by IoT devices embedded with sensors are helping businesses generate useful insights to predict market outcomes. These insights based on user behavior and buying patterns are a highly bankable currency in this era of digital companies. Companies that possess this data gathered from IoT devices can use it to enhance customer satisfaction rates and provide a better customer experience.
5)Other Popular Applications
There are several more applications of IoT in the popular zeitgeist that even those who are not very technologically inclined are aware of. These include:
- Automated vehicles
- Fleet management
- Infrastructure maintenance
- Farm equipment
- Factory digitalization
- Home entertainment
What is the Future of IoT Going to Look Like?
The capability of IoT to accumulate user data through embedded sensors and enable device-to-device communication is driving research in multitudes of future applications. Data-driven key performance indicators, statistics for mean time between failures, and other such information will lead to some of the following implementations in the future:
1)It will Drive Better Workforce Management
IoT can transform the workforce management of organizations to boost margins and improve overall performance. The remote applications of IoT can be utilized for non-intrusive micromanagement to fine-tune the productivity rate of employees.
Mobile workforce management can drive efficiency in the seemingly permanent remote working paradigm adopted by companies amidst the COVID-19 restrictions. IoT-enabled embedded mobile systems can facilitate performance tracking, timely on-site work assignment and reduce compliance issues in the long run.
2)It Will Transform Customer Relationship Management
This technology will help companies optimize Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for early detection of customer dissatisfaction. IoT gives CRM systems real-time access to data from embedded sensors in devices.
This data will help IoT product-based companies to detect flaws in device performance and locate the source of the problem quickly. Service tickets produced in CRM software optimized with IoT can increase the efficiency of customer support for these devices.
3)It Will Help Physical Retailers Compete With E-Commerce Giants
As per a report by MarketsAndMarkets the market size of IoT technology in retail is set to expand to USD 35.5 billion by 2025. Retail companies are starting to use IoT to gain greater supply chain visibility, seamless inventory management, and heighten the quality of customer service.
To stay afloat in a market dominated by e-commerce giants, physical retailers must leverage IoT capabilities. IoT brings contactless payment devices, cloud integration, and much more to the table for these companies.
4)It Will Expand Horizontally Across Industry Verticals
Vendors of IoT technology can apply core use cases such as asset tracking or video analytics across one industry vertical. Then, based on the Return On Investment (ROI) in that area, the technology can then be applied horizontally to adjacent verticals within the same industry.
An example of this expansion plan will soon be seen in automated vehicles. Vehicle automation firms can deploy IoT-enabled asset tracking software in their products and then based on whether there is fast ROI, they can decide to implement more IoT use cases into their vehicles.
Want to Have a Tech Partner with IoT Expertise to Transform your Business?
Initially focusing on the optimization of operational efficiency and process automation, today IoT finds a wide variety of applications to develop your bottom line. It can help you manage your asset performance more intelligently and deploy on-demand services in real-time.
Your first step in the process of unlocking endless IoT capabilities can begin with in-depth insight into Daffodil Software's IoT Development Services.
If you find that partnering with us could provide your business a much-needed edge, you can book a discussion with us by filling out our free consultation form.