You may have heard of the term ‘Internet of Things’ a lot more often lately, but you’re probably not quite sure what it is, what it does, and how it affects modern society that’s already chock-full of technological innovations. The Internet of Things simply involves internet-based communication between computing devices, motorised and digital machines with objects, animals or people, through unique identifiers that enable them to send and receive data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. It employs cloud computing technology and is linked by networks of data-gathering sensors. Research service BI Intelligence predicts that there will be more than 24 billion Internet of Things devices in circulation by 2020, which translates to approximately four devices for every person on Earth.
This new technology will see an amalgamation of our daily lives with the devices that we use in a way that is unprecedented. And this digital disruption is ripe to permeate every industry, from agriculture and energy to healthcare, greatly assisting humans with their everyday tasks. Technological innovations are almost, if not wholly, dependent on humans for information to function. This is inefficient, knowing human propensity for errors, as well as their limitations in terms of time and attention span. With the Internet of Things being computers that have automated data-gathering capabilities, the need to personally keep track of everything is greatly reduced, leading to a higher quality of life and more efficient and cost-effective business processes. Below are some of the areas in which the Internet of Things has made a positive impact, increasing the efficiency of business processes and improving the lives of people everywhere.
Wearable devices such as the Apple Watch, FitBit and GoPro have taken the world by storm in recent years and this love for new technology won’t be waning anytime soon. These devices help in many aspects of our daily lives such as health, travel and entertainment, and is wildly popular because of its portability and energy efficiency. A key feature of wearable devices lies in its ability to collect data and information about the users through embedded sensors and software. With this data, the device is capable of generating insight into a user’s habits, health, interests, etc., and also assisting the user in a broad spectrum of daily tasks such keeping track of daily schedules, giving reminders and providing directions. To illustrate, new technology Fitbit One is a gadget that keeps track of activity levels and the number of calories burned during a workout, and identifies movements as well as your sleep quality. It allows you to wirelessly transmit the data collected to your mobile devices, allowing you to monitor the progress of your fitness regime.
Imagine living in a city where almost every function, building or element is automated. The simplest example of how the Internet of Things makes cities smart is in traffic management. Traffic congestion during rush hour could be a thing of a past with the use of web-based applications and intelligent sensors to direct and manage traffic. Even traffic light malfunctions can be repaired remotely without the need for human intervention. The uses of the Internet of Things extend beyond traffic management to include energy management systems for water distribution and electricity generation. By reducing dependency on humans to manage everyday systems, many problems that plague city living such as pollution, traffic congestion and poor maintenance of amenities can be effectively eliminated. In Barcelona, several Internet of Things initiatives such as smart parking facilities have been implemented to enhance the lives of its dwellers. Products such as Smart Belly employ real-time data collection and alert the municipal council when trash management services are required. This greatly reduces the number of trips waste management companies need to make when doing their rounds, making the process cost-effective and efficient.
Switches for lighting and appliances, door knobs and furniture levers could soon become things of the past with the advent of the Internet of Things, because why would we need them if we can control everything over the internet, and even remotely? This new technology greatly assists us in our busy lifestyles by allowing us to access and manage home appliances such as lighting and air-conditioning remotely. Today’s smart home technology has also improved by leaps and bounds, and we can now control all electrical appliances (e.g. refrigerators) and household fixtures (e.g. doors) with one central device, either onsite or remotely. Home ownership is a costly affair, and it makes sense to install fixtures and appliances that save you time, energy and money. For example, the Ninja Block device has sensors that will inform you if you have a burst water pipe, and a motion-detector function that will update you via email or text message in real time regardless of your location. Smart homes are the new normal in residential spaces, and with the proliferation of smart home companies offering a myriad of smart home technologies, this technological innovation is bound to become as ubiquitous as the smartphone!
The use of the Internet of Things extends beyond individual fitness products to encompass general healthcare. Geriatric healthcare is commonly seen as an area that requires a high level of human resources, but this perception is slowly being changed with the advent of the Internet of Things. To illustrate, elderly individuals who are required to take their daily medication no longer need to rely on their family members or themselves to keep track of their intake. New technology such as GlowCaps, designed to fit onto prescription bottles, use a wireless chip that sends a variety of phone reminders to patients on taking their daily medication, refilling their medication when levels are low, attending medical appointments. There are also wearable medical devices that remotely read a patient’s biometrics (heart and respiration rates, activity levels, etc.), and send the data to their appointed medical practitioner, allowing users to manage their health without making many trips to the doctor’s office.
We at ThunderQuote hope that this article has been helpful enough to spread more information and knowledge on what The Internet of Things really is. For more related articles, come take a look at your blog ThunderQuote
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