Before we dive deeper into our subject, tell me something – how would you feel if after waking you up at 7 AM, your alarm clock turns on the geyser and notifies your coffee maker to prepare coffee for you just the way you want it? Do you know what can make this dreamy morning possible? Yes, Internet of Things! The next big thing in the realm of connected devices after smartphones.
What is ‘Internet of Things’?
The Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of Everything (IoE) refers to the devices that are connected to the internet. The European Commission describes IoT as merging virtual and physical worlds, creating a smart environment. This smart environment is created by connecting devices to the internet and making them interact.
It might seem overwhelming to understand the concept of IoT. To put it simply, tons of devices are connected to the internet. Out of them, related devices connect with each other and become an intelligent system.
When these devices share and analyze data, they have the capability to transform our lives in innumerable ways. From Nest thermostats to hue lights and Fitbits to self-driving cars, it’s all the magic of IoT that keeps us enchanted in this Muggle world.
Sounds Interesting but How Does it Work?
Sophisticated sensors and chips are embedded in the devices around us, each transmitting valuable data that lets us better understand how things work together. These devices with built-in sensors are connected to an IoT platform, which integrates data from these devices and applies analytics to it to share data.
In layman’s terms, sensors collect data from the environment which is sent to the cloud. Wait, what’s a cloud you are wondering? Well, it’s a huge, interconnected network of powerful servers that perform services for businesses and for people. Data is transmitted to the cloud via a variety of methods like satellite, Ethernet, or WiFi.
On reaching the cloud, this data is processed by a software and the useful information is sent to the user. This data is used to make smart (informed) decisions, thereby saving time and money. It can be used to detect problems even before they occur by analyzing the patterns.
All Said and Done, But Why IoT?
Let’s say you forgot to switch off the AC in your room. A few hours later, while sitting in the classroom or watching a movie in the theatre, you suddenly realize that you didn’t switch it off.
But, you can’t do anything about it until you reach home and then you start worrying about the electricity bill! Guess what, with IoT or the internet of things, all such problems can be solved! Your AC, connected to the internet, will have a short chit-chat with your smartphone informing it about your carelessness. Your phone will then tell you about it and you can switch it off with just a tap!
In his RFID journal, Kevin Ashton quotes, ‘We need to empower computers with their own means of gathering information, so they can see, hear, and smell the world for themselves, in all its random glory’. This is what IoT enables devices to do – to observe and understand a situation and act on it without being dependent on human help. Thus, it has the power to turn businesses 360 degrees.
With a potential to increase efficiency and reduce costs of running businesses, IoT has grown to be something more important than just a comfort for the consumer by transforming various industries and boosting their productivity.
From Microsoft to IBM, tech giants are providing IoT solutions for healthcare, retail, manufacturing, telecommunications, transportation, and what not. The opportunities are endless and what we know for sure is that IoT will slither into a lot many industries at a very fast pace.
The Scope of IoT!
With government programs like Digital India, Smart Cities, and Make in India, the nation is advancing towards deploying IoT solutions. According to a TechSci Research report, IoT market in India, currently in a nascent stage, is projected to grow at a CAGR more than 28% during 2015-2020, which would be about $15Bn.
Having realized the potential of this trend, government, startups, and huge companies (including Google) are heading towards the IoT space. This is your chance to be part of the future and create something of your own.