Wikipedia describes the Internet of Things (IoT) as “the network of physical objects—‘things’—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet.
The typical consumer may see IoT as the automation that allows their smart home devices and appliances to work together; however, the boundless promise for IoT applications goes far beyond thermostats and garage door openers.
IoT will significantly change business and industry by integrating electronic devices, digital control systems, and analytics through various business sectors. These include manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure, energy usage, and metropolitan operations (think large scale waste management, parking apps, and transportation).
The technology is also making progress in the environmental monitoring of air, water, and wildlife. It can also provide atmospheric monitoring for early detection of developing earthquakes or tsunamis.
Cities are working toward integrating IoT through public-private-people partnerships called Living Labs, which offer collaboration between all participants to innovate new technologies. Advancement in this area will require government incentives to ensure the latest technologies’ efficiency and accuracy. The hope is that through Living Labs, cities will be able to improve services like public transportation, and a variety of services and utilities will have the ability to share embedded technologies, offering a better quality of life for residents and businesses.
With fifth-generation (5G) cellular technology development, IoT devices’ performance and reliability will skyrocket, and data-transfer speed will increase ten-fold. Think of what this means for industrial applications, financial platforms, healthcare, and security systems, which can optimize real-time updates. Progress continues to march on, but there is more to be done. Industrial IoT (IIoT) is projected by some to generate so much growth potential* that it will lead to the next industrial revolution.
The upward trajectory of these technologies is mind-boggling. As always, transparent and collaborative relationships between developers, businesses, and the government will pave the way for open and honest communication, innovation, and progress.
*($12 trillion global GDP by 2030 Daugherty, Paul; Negm, Walid; Banerjee, Prith; Alter, Allan. “Driving Unconventional Growth through the Industrial Internet of Things”)