“An Introduction to the Internet of Things (IOT)“

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What Is the Internet of Things (IOT)?

The Internet of Things may be a hot topic in the industry but it’s not a new concept. In the early 2000’s, Kevin Ashton was laying the groundwork for what would become the Internet of Things (IoT) at MIT’s Auto ID lab. Ashton was one of the pioneers who conceived this notion as he searched for ways that Proctor & Gamble could improve its business by linking RFID information to the Internet. The concept was simple but powerful. If all objects in daily life were equipped with identifiers and wireless connectivity, these objects could be communicating with each other and be managed by computers.

IoT describes a system where items in the physical world, and sensors within or attached to these items, are connected to the Internet via wireless and wired Internet connections. These sensors can use various types of local area connections such as RFID, NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee. Sensors can also have wide area connectivity such as GSM, GPRS, 3G, and LTE.

The Internet of Things will:

  • Connect both inanimate and living things
  • Use sensors for data collection
  • Change what types of item communicate over an IP Network

What It Means For Your Business?

IoT impacts every business. Mobile and the Internet of Things will change the types of devices that connect into a company’s systems. These newly connected devices will produce new types of data. The Internet of Things will help business gain efficiencies, harness intelligence from a wide range of equipment, improve operations and increase customer satisfaction. IoT will also have a profound impact on people’s lives. It will improve public safety, transportation and healthcare with better information and faster communications of this information. While there are many ways that the Internet of Things could impact society and business, there are at least three major benefits of IOT that will impact every business, which include: communication, control and cost savings.

The Three Cs of IoT

Communication:

IoT communicates information to people and systems, such as state and health of equipment (e.g. it’s on or off, charged, full or empty) and data from sensors that can monitor a person’s vital signs.

In most cases, we didn’t have access to this information before or it was collected manually and infrequently. For example, an IOT-enabled HVAC system can report if its air filter is clean and functioning properly. Almost every company has a class of assets it could track. GPS-enabled assets can communicate their current location and movement. Location is important for items that move, such as trucks, but it’s also applicable for locating items and people within an organization.

In the healthcare industry, IoT can help a hospital track the location of everything from wheelchairs to cardiac defibrillators to surgeons. In the transportation industry, a business can deliver real-time tracking and condition of parcels and pallets. For example, Maersk can use sensors to track the location of a refrigerated shipping container and its current temperature.

Control and Automation:

In a connected world, a business will have visibility into a device’s condition. In many cases, a business or consumer will also be able to remotely control a device. For example, a business can remotely turn on or shut down a specific piece of equipment or adjust the temperature in a climate-controlled environment. Meanwhile, a consumer can use IoT to unlock their car or start the washing machine. Once a performance baseline has been established, a process can send alerts for anomalies and possibly deliver an automated response. For example, if the brake pads on a truck are about to fail, it can prompt the company to take the vehicle out of service and automatically schedule maintenance.

Cost Savings:

Many companies will adopt IoT to save money. Measurement provides actual performance data and equipment health, instead of just estimates. Businesses, particularly industrial companies, lose money when equipment fails.

With new sensor information, IoT can help a company save money by minimizing equipment failure and allowing the business to perform planned maintenance. Sensors can also measuring items, such as driving behavior and speed, to reduce fuel expense and wear and tear on consumables. New smart meters in homes and businesses can also provide data that helps people understand energy consumption and opportunities for cost savings.

In this series of articles, on IOT, Please wait for the next article covering “How to get started on Internet of things”

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