DEC 19 EDITIONInnovationTechnologyTrendingYuletide

THE EVOLVING WORLD OF THE INTERNET OF THINGS

By John Dakwak

In today’s world, smart technology really smart when it is put to work on scale, from agriculture and conservation to healthcare, security and global trade. With Internet Life is simplified with connected devices.

The Internet of things (IoT) is the extension of Internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects. Embedded with electronics, Internet connectivity, and other forms of hardware (such as sensors). These devices can communicate and interact with others over the Internet, and they can be remotely monitored and controlled. It is essentially an ecosystem of physical devices, vehicles, appliances, and other things that have the ability to connect, collect and exchange data over a wired and wireless network, with little or no human-to-human or human-to-computer intervention. It allows for integration and data exchange between physical devices and the computer. This new wave of technology focuses on making human life more simplified and comfortable with the right mix of efficiency and productivity.

IoT aims at extending connectivity beyond standard Internet supported physical devices (smartphones, tablets, desktops, and laptops) to a wide spectrum of non-internet- enabled physical devices and everyday objects, such as coffee makers, washing machines, door locks, etc., so you can remotely monitor and control them with the help of a mobile or tablet device. Wireless connectivity is a big driver in the world of IoT. Combining protocols with sensor technologies has opened the door to a wide variety of IoT applications. It is basically a network of computer or things interlinked with connectivity, so that the data can be shared without manual intervention.

The “Things” in the IoT refers to a wide range of entities such as: Heart monitor implant, animals with microchips for tracking locations, and any other device that are IP encrypted. These days, there are smart homes that offer high level of security in addition to many other positive attributes which has been made possible with the application of IoT for homes. Automation in IoT which is compatible to mobile devices is one of its prime benefits. Thus, the owner of the home can operate the functionality of basic tasks like: operating the lights, fans, gate, water heater etc with the help of a smart phone and without moving here and there and applying too much of input.

Apart from all the big and small benefits of Internet of Things for home, it surely can facilitate in saving potential energy. You can enjoy the automation in climatic control option so that it uses energy accordingly in order to save a lot of power. Even from a far distances you can enjoy the option of maintaining the desire temperature of your home, and once you reach your home you can enjoy the luxury of the desired temperature. Similarly, you can ease your body with the application of very little effort in locking your house and operating lights. You can always confuse the trespassers with the operation of light at home even when you are relaxing and enjoying your vacation at a distant land. It is such a relief when you can wirelessly know whether or not you have locked the doors properly.
With a mobile phone connected to the CCTV in your house, you can see intruders and report to appropriate authority without even lifting a foot.

Besides it’s safety and energy saving attributes, IoT has other ease to offer as well. You can directly charge your smart appliances from another room without the hassle of finding your charging cables and adaptors. These days you can also find a handy smart toothbrush that are able to record the duration of your brushing history. IoT has given a more competitive edge to the industries, lately with industrial Automation. It has provided further advancement to industries to create new services, increase production and facilitate solutions for general issues faced by the industries. IoT for industries has covered a wide range of scope today and the areas include automotive sector, health sector, retailing and manufacturing facilities.

In the automotive sector, through the introduction of “connected cars”, IOT has given customers a digital experience. These vehicles are enabled with 4G which allows the smart phone to be connected to the car. Hopefully, one day not just the mobile but one car can be connected to another car as well and the technology is expected to soar beyond our thoughts. It has an equally useful role to play in the healthcare sectors. It facilitates the monitoring of patents thus helping in leading a healthy life in remote areas. You can simply monitor the behavior of an elderly citizen by making him wear an ultrasound sensory device.

IOT is operational in major Nigerian cities like Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Aba, Ibadan, Kano.
The retail sector along with the manufacturing sector have also benefited immensely. It can be used as a tool for the analysis of sales, to stay connected with the supply chain in order to prevent the shortage of stock, and the surveillance of the stores and the manufacturing industries. This can help in monitoring customer satisfaction in the stores and maximization of production in the manufacturing industry.

From the simplest consumer-based applications like smart homes to complicated industry-grade solutions like driverless forklifts, IoT is everywhere and gradually changing the way consumers live, work and interact with their Internet- enabled devices.

While the concept of the IoT has been around for quite a long time, most people are still not familiar with it. But IoT is gradually taking over. Since the mechanism of IoT devices is highly technical, so for many, it’s quite confusing. How does an IoT system actually works? Well, just like any other system, has predefined steps and components make it work, so does the Internet of Things. Well sensors or devices collect very minute data from the surrounding environment. The collected data could be as simple as a geographical location or as complex as health essentials of a patient.

To pick up the most sensitive changes in data, one can bundle multiple sensors together to be a part of a device that is capable of doing more than just sense things. For instance, the mobile phone is a device with several built-in sensors such as GPS, Camera, Accelerometer, without which the phone is not able to sense things. Thus, be it a stand alone sensor or a device having multiple sensors, the first step involves the collection of all the minute details from the surrounding environment.

Once the data is collected, it is sent to a cloud infrastructure also known as an IoT platform with the help of a medium. That is where several wireless and wired networking technologies, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Cellular Networks, Ethernet, etc come in handy. While each of these connectivity options represents a trade off between power consumption, connection range, and bandwidth, choosing the best one to transmit data to the cloud solely depends on the complexity level and specific requirements of an IoT application.

Once the data gets to the cloud infrastructure, it is stored, analyzed, and processed securely using a Big Data Analytics Engine for better decision making. This analysis can be as simple as checking whether or not the temperature reading on an AC or heater is within an acceptable range, or as complex as identifying intruders in your house with the help of surveillance cameras. The processed data is then used to perform immediate, intelligent actions that turn our ordinary physical devices into smart devices. While the ultimate goal of the Internet of Things is to automate human life to make it more insanely efficient and productive, there are countless benefits of IoT for both businesses and consumers.

Here are just a few of the benefits. Efficient Resource Utilization Be it home, office, hotel or car, IoT facilitates an efficient utilization of assets for improved productivity. Leveraging the power of machine-to- machine interaction. IoT system collects real-time data with the help of sensors and actuators so you can further use it to improve process efficiency and minimize human intervention. As a basic example, if any of your Home Appliances notifies you about the task completion, you need not worrying about the inefficient consumption of the electricity.

Automation and Control
Automation is the need of the hour and IoT is renowned for the same. Since most of the IoT devices are connected with each other through a wireless infrastructure, they are able to operate on their own with little or no manual intervention. For instance, home appliances such as air conditioner, washing machines, ovens, and refrigerators can be automatically operated and you can even monitor and control them remotely.

Comfort and Convenience
We live in a fast-paced world where busy people don’t even care about small things like switching on/off lights and reading energy meters. This is where the Internet of Things comes in. The interconnectivity of devices and aggregation of data provides you full control over your devices that are connected with each other through the IoT system. Since you are able to control all your devices just through one centralized device like your phone, this leads to greater convenience and comfort.

Saves Time and Money
The concept of IoT revolves around getting more done in less time by automating tasks and requiring little to no human intervention. Allowing you to accomplish cumbersome tasks faster and with optimum utilization of energy. IoT not only saves your precious time but also your hard-earned money.

For example, if your kitchen electronic appliance has the ability to turn off itself after the task is done, this saves your time and efforts required to manually switch off the appliance as well as extra expenditure caused by the unnecessary use of electricity. Automotive and Transportation With the Internet of Things, automotive companies like BMW, Ford, Tesla, and Volvo are looking forward to enhancing the in-car experience. Being equipped with technologies like sensors, maps, computer vision, sonar, and the Internet, these cars are driverless and can run with little or no human assistance. And, if combined with Machine Learning, the IoT also assists in various aspects of transportation systems like logistics and fleet management, smart traffic control and smart parking.

Medical and Healthcare
The Medical industry is also taking advantage of IoT-powered devices for remote health monitoring and emergency alerts. With the help of smart healthcare devices, the doctors can remotely monitor the health of patients outside of conventional clinical environments and give medicines on the basis of collected data. Likewise, in an emergency, doctors can keep themselves ready for the operation as they are already aware of the medical condition of the patient.

Industrial IoT
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is the industrial subset of the IoT which leverages this innovative technology to solve industrial concerns, automate processes and eliminate inefficiencies. While the term IoT often denotes the use of IoT in manufacturing industries, other common applications of IoT include futuristic farming, aerospace and defense, and energy management.

About Smart Cities
Many countries like South Korea, Japan, Spain, and the UK are trying to colonize smart cities in order to provide their citizens with a better, safer and healthier living environment. Collecting the data from citizens, devices, and assets, a smart city promises to solve major problems of people living in a usual city, like water distribution, pollution, crime, traffic congestion, waste management, etc. Smart city is another powerful application of IoT generating curiosity among world’s population. Smart surveillance, automated transportation, smarter energy management systems, water distribution, urban security and environmental monitoring are examples of internet of things applications for smart cities.

IoT will solve major problems faced by the people living in cities like pollution, traffic congestion and shortage of energy supplies etc. Products like cellular communication enabled Smart Belly trash will send alerts to municipal services when a bin needs to be emptied. By installing sensors and using web applications, citizens can find free available parking slots across the city. Also, the sensors can detect meter tampering issues, general malfunctions and any installation issues in the electricity system.

The future of IoT is more fascinating than today where billions of things will be talking to each other and human intervention will be felt. IoT will bring macro shift in the way we live and work.

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