Just imagine a world where your alarm clock wakes you up in the morning and tells the teapot to get water boiling for coffee. Special sensors regulate the climate in your home in accordance with the weather outside. Imagine that your microwave, iron, and car have begun to communicate, exchange data, analyze, and extract information via the Internet.
You think I am joking? No, this is not a dream out of a science fiction novel. This is a world of the Internet of Things (IoT), where a multitude of devices are talking to us, talking to each other, and acting in unison.
Let’s define the Internet of Things. The vision of smart objects appeared long before the Internet was ever launched. The term IoT was first coined by the founder of the Auto-ID Kevin Ashton research group during his presentation in 1999, which focused on the influence of RFID tags on in the corporation’s management system.
According to the scientist’s research, the birth of IoT took place between 2008 and 2009. Over this time, more devices were connected to the Internet than people.
Several prerequisites were instrumental in the Internet of Things’ development. Firstly, the availability of broadband Internet. Secondly, a majority of IoT devices having Wi-Fi capabilities and sensors. Thirdly, low technology costs. And lastly – widespread smartphone penetration.
IoT is a popular contemporary topic. Let’s try to understand why that is.
The potential of IoT is huge. It ties people and equipment together into one network, providing a two-way flow of information and decision-making in real time.
On a broader scale, thanks to the Internet of Things people can improve the quality of their lives. Even today, the Internet of Things has given rise to the widespread use of temperature sensors, pressure, vibration, light, humidity, and physical activities that aid us in preventing various problems. Try to imagine what type of miraculous things we will get to see in the future.
Microscopic sensors connected to the Internet may be attached to plants and animals. Smart homes feature such functions as energy efficiency, lighting control, fire detection, and more.
And you can control all these processes just by using a smartphone. As IoT develops, a lot of new, exciting applications will be able to change the way we live, learn, work, and go on vacation.
The number of Internet of Things devices connected to each other and to networks is growing. There is a great demand for software developers who have experience in the field of embedded development solutions. Their job is to ensure the collection of whatever information is necessary and analyzing, displaying, and interacting with systems from other manufacturers.
The usage of special Internet of Things sensors (such as iBeacon, NFC, or even QR-codes) combined with a smartphone or mobile app is a part of our everyday, modern life.
Such technologies for the identification of “things”, such as a bar code or Data Matrix can be used as well. For instance, a lost tourist could recognize a QR-code on a historical building by using a smartphone. Thus, he will get all the information he’s looking for without the help of a guide.
Furthermore, you can get a discount in a store by scanning a QR-code from your phone. You can find the bar codes on goods and an electronic ticket may resemble a QR-code too.
A smart Fitbit, for example, can assist you in staying fit. This fitness tracker is able to monitor your health status during the day, track your sleep during the night time, and provide alert notifications when you need them from a smartphone.
In the field of medicine, the Internet of Things is absolutely irreplaceable. IoT technology allows you to obtain data on patients’ health very quickly, saves you time, and allows doctors to serve a larger number of customers.
Marketing and IoT
With the IoT limitless, the opportunities for business and society are endless, providing a sizable impact on marketing, trade, and services. IoT’s interweaves can be integrated into all the steps of a marketing process.
IoT’s solutions are integrated into a product, producing a constant stream of data on customers’ interactions with it. These insights are instrumental in the ability to change the product or make it more attractive.
For example, companies use “eye-tracking” technology to explore customers’ shopping behavior. It is not cheap, but rather effective nevertheless. What it does is track what customers are looking at on the shelves.
Another possible IoT solution is the placement of sensors synchronized with a mobile phone or mobile application, in this case using NFC or iBeacon technology. If the customer makes his way toward shelves with discounted products, he will receive a notification about it right away.
Standard media vehicles are changing as well. Even billboards, for instance, are getting smarter. One example is an interactive outdoor advertisement informing passers-by of the launch of the new Lexus. The billboards were fitted with the car brand’s reading technology and using this information shows customized messages to drivers.
The IoT concept features endless opportunities. However, from the perspective of privacy and data sharing, we are faced with a great number of challenges.
When billions of devices are connected together, how can people be sure that their information is secure? Have you heard that a high-tech toilet was attacked by hackers, because it was protected with only a basic password? This was actually pretty funny. But what about something more serious like your personal financial information?
To sum it all up, I would like to say that the Internet of Things’ devices are getting smarter and discussions about the IoT are taking place all over the world. This is a hot-button topic today and it will be a hot-button topic tomorrow. Many experts are saying that the economic impact of the IoT will be enormous. Researchers also note that by 2020 over 26 billion vehicles will be connected to the Internet. Even such companies as Google and Samsung are investing in home devices.
Thus, the future is much closer than you might think. We can only hope that this concept will improve the quality of our life, not vice versa, as if the devil were playing with humanity.