What is IoT

Internet of Things

The Why …

Every industry has always focused on reducing manual intervention by infusing technology to have smarter devices or processes and increase the overall efficiency. Devices have been made smarter by integrating them with sensors and by programming them to take required actions based on different data values. Devices with sensors have been a part of our lives since ages and have been adding significant value.

Kevin Ashton, the co-founder of the Auto-ID Center at MIT, envisioned extending the capabilities of devices by deploying smarter sensors in them. These smarter sensors would sense more information and share them with the appropriate information processors over the internet, and thus facilitate automation of desired actions to make life much simpler. Taking a simple example to showcase the benefits it could lead to – if devices could be made intelligent to prompt their maintenance schedule; they could serve as a decent cost-effective solution as it is not always possible to track the maintenance schedule, thus leading to irregularly maintained devices and performance issues. And that is how this vision started to take shape of technology.

The what …

This technology of associating sensors with devices, sharing the sensed information over the internet with related data analysing hubs, and allowing the automation of desired actions when certain data conditions are met is IoT – the “Internet of Things”. IoT is associating sensors to all things around us, even living things and processing the information. Wikipedia defines “The internet of things, or IoT, as a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction”.

How IoT is benefiting the Healthcare industry: a sample case

There are several applications of IoT in healthcare, primarily assisting in remote health monitoring. Goldman Sachs report indicated that healthcare IoT devices “can save the United States more than $300 billion in annual healthcare expenditures by increasing revenue and decreasing cost.”. Few of applications are as below

  • The various health monitoring devices associated with sensors transmit patients data to concerned physicians when readings fall beyond the acceptable range for immediate medical attention
  • ‘Smart Beds’ can detect when they are occupied and when the patient is attempting to get up. It can also adjust itself to ensure appropriate pressure and support is applied to the patient without the manual interaction of nurses.
  • Wearables and smart living devices with smart sensors have helped in enhancing elder healthcare monitoring.

IoT has the potential to influence every sphere of life. The analyst firm Gartner suggests that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices. With such a huge volume data being available over the internet, its security and storage are surely going to be a challenge soon. 

Following are a few popular areas where IoT has been making a turnaround impact – 

  • Smart homes
  • Healthcare 
  • Transportation
  • Logistics
  • Automobile
  • Manufacturing
  • Inventory Management
  • Agriculture
  • Energy Management
  • Environment Monitoring

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