September 6, 2017
The internet of things (IoT) connects us. It connects us to the internet and to one another through objects. Arguably, the advent of IoT began with smartphones. The devices we once used to simply place phone calls or send SMS messages suddenly evolved into pocket-sized computers.
Startups along with major players in the tech industry invest heavily in device R&D to support applications that consumers will incorporate into their daily lives. The likes of Google, IBM and Oracle maintain vertical business units designated specifically for IoT.
When we think of IoT devices we reflexively think of our personal gadgets such as the Amazon Echo or “Alexa”. However, innovation in IoT presents boundless opportunities for businesses and governments to improve operational efficiencies.
IoT in Industry
Major industries targeted by IoT disruption include the automotive industry, logistics and supply chain, healthcare, security and home building. According to IBM, the commoditization of sensors and processors created economies of scale that enabled the rapid development of IoT devices. In other words, connecting is getting cheaper.
In healthcare, patients can use wearables that track vital signs to gather valuable data for their doctors to diagnosis problems. Access to data can also save time and drive down costs to allow patients to spend more time with their healthcare providers. Some hospitals are also utilizing IoT to provide visibility in surgical workflows. Hospitals and healthcare providers will benefit from IoT innovation, but should also prepare their IT systems to manage vast amounts of data.
In supply chain, IoT can help with tracking, payments and title transfers. Tracking systems supported by Blockchain can trace global shipments in real time as they move across trade lanes. Enhanced visibility allows supply chain professionals to spend less time tracking goods and equipment and spend more time on strategic activities.
Cars already can be considered IoT technologies. However, the potential still remains limitless. Connected vehicles can provide data and valuable insight to improve safety features and enhance capabilities. As autonomous cars become status quo, our roads will become safer and cleaner.
Challenges still remain when it comes to cybersecurity and standardization. An article in India’s Economic Times emphasizes that standardization of sensors will help improve cohesiveness amongst IoT devices and drive down cost. As our devices become cheaper, more ubiquitous and harmonious, incremental IoT innovation will continue to positively impact our daily lives both at work and at home.