The Internet of Things (or IoT) is making a lot of noise right now, and it’s having an impact on everything from how we travel and shop to how manufacturers keep track of inventories. But, first and foremost, what is the Internet of Things? What is the mechanism behind it? Is it really that significant?
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
In a word, the Internet of Things is the concept of connecting any gadget to the Internet and other connected devices (as long as it has an on/off switch). The Internet of Things (IoT) is a massive network of interconnected things and people that all collect and share data on how they are utilized and the world around them.
That includes a vast array of objects of all shapes and sizes, ranging from smart microwaves that cook your food for the exact amount of time you specify, to self-driving cars with complex sensors that detect objects in their path, to wearable fitness devices that track your heart rate and the number of steps you take each day and use that data to recommend personalized exercise plans. There are even connected footballs that can track how far and how quickly they are thrown and save the data in an app for future training.
How does it work?
Devices and items with built-in sensors are connected to an Internet of Things platform, which combines data from various devices and applies analytics to share the most useful information with apps tailored to individual needs.
These sophisticated IoT solutions can detect precisely which data is useful and which may be safely ignored. This data can be used to spot patterns, make recommendations, and identify potential issues before they arise.
For example, if I operate a car manufacturing company, I could be interested in learning which optional features (such as leather seats or alloy wheels) are the most popular.
I can use sensors to discover which locations in a showroom are the most popular and where consumers linger the longest using Internet of Things technology;
Investigate the available sales data to see which components are selling the most quickly;
So that popular items don’t run out of stock, automatically align sales data with suppliers.
The data collected by linked devices allows me to make informed judgments about which components to stockpile based on real-time data, saving me time and money.
Advanced analytics gives you the power to make operations more efficient by providing insight. You can automate certain jobs with smart objects and systems, especially if they are repetitive, monotonous, time-consuming, or even harmful. Let’s have a look at some samples to understand how this works in practice.
Examples of IoT in The Real World
Consider getting up at 7 a.m. every day to go to work. Your alarm clock performs an adequate job of waking you up. Until something goes wrong, that is. Your train has been canceled, so you’ll have to drive to work. The only issue is that driving takes longer, and you’d have to get up at 6.45 a.m. to prevent being late. Oh, and it’s raining, so you’ll have to travel a little slower than usual. Based on all of these criteria, a linked or IoT-enabled alarm clock would reset itself to guarantee you arrived at work on time. It may notice that your regular train has been canceled, calculate the driving distance and travel time for your alternate route to work, check the weather and account for slower travel speeds due to heavy rain, and calculate when it needs to wake you up so you don’t miss your train. If it’s very smart, it could even communicate with your IoT-enabled coffee machine to make sure your morning caffeine is ready when you wake up.
You’re driving to work after being awoken by your smart alarm. The engine light comes on. You’d rather not go to the garage right away, but what if it’s an emergency? The sensor that generated the check engine light would communicate with other sensors in a connected car. A diagnostic bus component receives data from various sensors and sends it to a car gateway, which provides the most important data to the manufacturer’s platform. The manufacturer can utilize information from your automobile to schedule an appointment for the item to be repaired, send you directions to the nearest dealer, and ensure that the correct replacement part is ordered and waiting for you when you arrive.
Want to learn how to practically make IoT devices with your own hands? Get started by taking a look at our Arduino Course!
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