How much do you know about the Internet of Things (IoT)? Maybe you’ve heard the term, but you’re not entirely clear on what exactly the IoT is or how it will impact the public sector.
An Intro to IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is comprised of a wide variety of sensor-based devices that are connected to the internet. These can include things as simple as even household devices and appliances. As useful as the IoT is and will be for everyday people, it is even more important in industry (especially in manufacturing, marketing, supply chain management, logistics, and distribution including asset management). IoT is credited with the ability to solve “complex logistics, manufacturing, services, and supply chain problems.”
All market estimates forecast great success and growth in the IoT industry over the coming years. Industry pundits predicted that annual revenues for IoT vendors providing the necessary hardware, software, and comprehensive solutions will be higher than $470 billion by 2020. General Electric has predicted that over the next 15 years, investment in IIoT (the Industrial Internet of Things) will exceed $60 trillion.
Sensor Driven Retail Shopping
IoT devices are becoming increasingly common in the retail industry. In 2018, a number of different IoT sensor technologies will continue to become more prevalent, including video, Wi-Fi, BLE/beacons, and RFID.
The uses of video IoT sensors can include:
- Video management for loss prevention
- Precise shopper tracking
- Monitoring of consumer paths through shopping environments
- Video observation for the purpose of qualitative understanding
The uses of wi-fi sensors can include:
- Improved management of inventory through the monitoring of web browsing behavior.
- Use of captive portal for on-site promotion communication
- Making better use of a store’s existing Wi-Fi infrastructure
- Leverage of Wi-Fi enabled devices and smartphones of shoppers
The uses of BLE/beacon sensors can include:
- Promotion of improved shopper engagement
- Messaging based on proximity
- Personalized notification/communications
The uses of RFID sensors can include:
- Footprint sensing
- Automatic identification
- Accurate tracking of item location
Retailers are using all these types of iOT sensor to gather consumer data and analytics that will help them market much more effectively and continue to improve their sales levels.
IoT in Policing
IoT is expected to continue growing in its usefulness in law enforcement and policing in 2018. Police departments realize that the use of appropriate IoT technologies allows them to not only provide improved levels of public safety and community service, but also save money. Some types of IoT technologies that are useful in this area include:
- Visualization systems: Visualization systems let police monitor and integrate the data coming in from a variety of different sources, including crime statistics, weather reports, and transit maps. This lets law enforcement identify trends and patterns.
- Digital forensic toolkit: it is believed that the use of digital forensic toolkits will let police to find and extract the information they need much more quickly, allowing them to more efficiently complete investigations.
- Vehicle connection systems: Intricate systems that create and maintain connections between police cars, ambulances, and fire engines that allow these vehicles to automatically communicate with one another.
Revolutionary Health Care
Healthcare is an industry in which the IoT is not yet generally used as extensively as in others. However, it is predicted that the use of IoT in healthcare will become much more prevalent in the next five years. This will be in both clinical and administrative areas.
IoT could be used in areas such as inventory management, workflow optimization, and medical device integration. Currently, IoT devices are mainly used in areas such as routine operations such as heating, lighting, and security. Some hospitals are taking the lead in using IoT in ways that are more directly related to patient care, such as dispensing of medication. It is believed that one day, the Internet of Things may even have the ability to replace doctor’s visits in some cases.
Smart Homes & Offices
Smart homes and offices are projected to become increasingly popular in 2018 thanks to the further development of open source automation hubs. Automation hubs can provide network connectivity for up to 8000 square feet, making life more convenient with optimal control functions to adjust heating, security, clocks, speakers, lights, cameras and even appliances, all from a single device. The exact functions that can be controlled depend on the brand and model of smart home automation hub that one purchases. Different types and brands of open source home automation or smart home automation have different requirements and capabilities. For example, they might require Wi-Fi, an Ethernet connection, and a smartphone. Web interfaces are sometimes available.
Expanded Network Connectivity
Businesses wanting to make the IoT an integral part of their operations might benefit from options for expanded network connectivity. There are services available that allow for the more effective introduction of IoT applications to their networks.
The IoT Opens a New World of Possibilities
IoT is expected to continue to grow in relevance in 2018. The use of IoT devices by businesses will help to improve the smoothness and efficiency of their operations, while their use in homes will increase resident comfort and safety.
Have you or your company started to implement IoT? If so, leave a comment and share your experiences thus far.