Technology and Our Future: Everything You Need to Know About IoT

Digital technology has advanced leaps and bounds in an extremely short time frame. The first IBM personal computers were released in 1982 and personal computing became a worldwide phenomenon in just a few years, showing the massive impact of technology.

The world wide web, created by Tim Berners-Lee, was invented in 1989, just 4 years after the first creation of network file systems. Innovations like the Mp3 audio format, smartphones, and social media have changed the way we live, introduced new efficiencies and opportunities for businesses and paved the way for the next generation of technological development.

As we look at technology and our future, there are several areas of innovation with the potential to dramatically change our lives: big data, cybersecurity, and privacy innovations, the blockchain, cryptocurrency, and artificial intelligence to name a few. However, there's one area of technology that's revolutionizing industries around the world - the Internet of Things (IoT).

Additionally, it's only recently that the IoT has seen widespread use in diverse industries such as healthcare, automotive, and even in-home consumer products.

In this article, we'll explain exactly what the IoT is, why it's important and how industries around the world are adopting this new technology to shape the future of our world.

What is the IoT?

We all understand the internet as a global network that allows users to transmit information and data through both wired and wireless connections. All of the information on the internet is hosted on servers around the world, and the information can be accessed using a browser and the proper web address for the selected information. The internet uses the TCP/IP communication protocol to link devices around the world and facilitate the transmission of data.

To connect to the internet, a device needs to have an IP address. Traditionally, this meant that the internet was made up of networks, network devices, and computing devices.

The IoT represents an extension of internet connectivity beyond the standard devices (desktops, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc) to a range of additional devices. These connected devices may not possess any computing power, but embedding them with IoT technology allows users to track or monitor these devices as well as communicate with them using the internet.

Connected devices are incredibly diverse in their design in applications. An organization may leverage the IoT simply by attaching an RFID chip to a piece of inventory and using computers to track its position in the warehouse. In other cases, products that use embedded systems are being designed with the ability to communicate system status information to the user via a Wifi connection. These "smart" devices are made smarter by connecting them to the internet so that they can be remotely controlled and monitored.

 

The IoT brings millions of devices around the world online for the first time ever.

 

IoT brings millions of devices around the world online for the first time ever.

What are the Applications of the IoT and Connected Devices?

Connected devices are popping up all over the place with huge implications for the state of technology and our future, and a survey conducted by tech giants HP estimated that the number of connected devices in the world could exceed 1 trillion by 2025. Here are some highlights of how IoT devices are being used today:

Home Automation Products

Product designers already know that people are looking at their smartphones for hours every day, so it makes sense that new products are allowing users to control their homes from their mobile devices.

In the next several years, IoT technology will make it easier to control your home's functions and security using a mobile phone from anywhere in the world.

Connected doorbells and cameras are already available as security features that use motion sensing to detect when someone visits your house, capture images of the visitor and immediately send information and notifications to a mobile phone. Smart thermostats will be used to maintain the temperature of the home according to user settings, and consumers will be able to check on their mobile phones to determine whether their doors are locked or their windows are closed.

 

Home automation and IoT devices

 

Your home is your biggest investment, and IoT platforms will give homeowners unprecedented oversight of their home, with benefits for security, privacy, comfort, and maintenance.

Internet of Things

In the industrial sector, the IIoT is driven by the philosophy that smart machines are more accurate and consistent than humans at managing the supply chain efficiently and communicating through data. Industrial organizations that operate massive global supply chains are using the IIoT to track goods in shipment around the world and maintain real-time inventory data between suppliers, retailers and fulfillment contractors.

The IIoT is already delivering benefits for early adopters in the form of cost savings due to predictive maintenance, improved workplace safety, fewer shipping errors, and a reduction in lost inventory. With the IIoT, organizations can achieve full transparency of their people, processes, and products, remove data silos and get a full view of how the business is performing, leading to better decision-making.

Healthcare Products and Facilities

The IoT has tremendous potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry, driving down health care costs while improving patient satisfaction and healthcare outcomes. In the future, hospitals will adopt IoT platforms in areas that lead to cost savings such as smart lighting that uses motion sensors to control lighting in rooms less frequently occupied and smart thermostats that only expend energy to heat or cool rooms where patients are present.

Connected wearable devices will also change the relationship that patients have with their physicians, ideally promoting better patient/physician engagement and health outcomes in the process. With connected wearables, a patient who would otherwise need to remain hospitalized can be sent home with a wearable monitor that transmits data about the patient status in real-time. The monitor could transmit data to a central repository of medical data that would be accessible by the patient's health care providers.

Agricultural Applications

At least one chicken farm is already using wearable IoT devices to track animal husbandry and the health status of animals, ensuring that sick members of the population can be quarantined at an early stage to prevent the spread of disease. Smart thermometers can also be used to continuously maintain a comfortable temperature for animals that are kept indoors, showing a positive impact of technology.

Summary

The IoT may just be the most important innovation in the 21st Century. In just a few short years, we've gone from the invention of networks to the connection of all networks via the internet. Now, with the IoT, we can expand the internet to include all devices that are internally controlled by a computer and even some that aren't. Connected devices automate daily tasks, communicate information to humans, or even track an object or inventory item.

There are still future challenges for the IoT to overcome, including the development of a standard global communication protocol that will allow all IoT platforms to speak to one another and enable full integration of connected devices in the home, hospital or warehouse. Privacy and security are also important issues, especially for engineers working with connected devices that will power automated cars - products that could pose a severe risk to other humans if compromised by hackers.

Still, as we collectively work to overcome these challenges, it's clear that the IoT will play an important role in technology and our future for years to come.

Want to learn more? Head to our blog and learn more about top technology trends in the world of embedded systems and the impact of technology.

Do you have specific questions? Feel free to contact us at sales@totalphase.com. You can also request a demo specific for your application.

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