11 Jun The Internet of Things – A Glimpse of the Modern Daily Life
Today, practically everyone uses the internet. Be it checking the weather, business news, appointments, dates, contacts, messaging, or calling someone. Since its creation, the internet has allowed us to connect with people around the world. Now in recent years, with a growing demand for connectivity, the internet can connect with our devices whether they are out of physical reach or not. The world today is screaming that the future is “the internet of things”.
So, what is the internet of things? Why does it matter to the world? Is it good or bad?
The internet of things (IoT) is the interaction of smart devices like your iPhone, Smart TV, tablet, and smartwatch. Simply, any device that can sense aspects of the real world like temperature, lighting, the presence or absence of people or an object and act on that information is “the internet of things.” Instead of people using the data accessible on the internet, machines would use that data to make your life easier.
Smart devices use Wifi to access the internet to communicate with each other, your computer or directly with the cloud. Some devices would use a central hub to talk to each other. Ideally, this central hub can be accessed through the owner’s smartphone.
Sounds very technical right?
So, let’s try an example. A common example is a smart refrigerator that can read RFID tags on grocery items as they are put inside, then checks these tags on your Spectrum internet to identify bacon, eggs, milk and orange juice you just bought. The fridge tracks the usage and alerts you on your smartphone when you’re running out of groceries. The fridge may even place an order automatically for you. In a similar fashion, your fridge could even warn you of food nearing or past their expiration dates.
In concept, applying these ideas to things like your closet, medicine cabinets, car is simple. You could benefit from smart medicine cabinets that track meds, usage, order refill, or even alert your doctor if something is wrong. Smart closets may help you manage your clothes reminding you when you need to do the laundry or track items you never even wear. Wondering when do you need to change your oil? Ask your car.
Noticing that your missing dishwashing liquid in your grocery list and unsure if you need any at all? Ask your kitchen.
The World with IoT…
All that was said so far is limited to your home. Is that all there is to it? Where else do you see that today?
The answer is just about everything you see in modern society.
If you have the entrepreneurial spirit, through smart devices management of manufacturing equipment, asset or process control can be made easier. Some companies already have systems in place to monitor supply and demand. Companies use this information to take appropriate action at the appropriate time.
Some take it further, to use the technology to monitor machinery health. Devices are in place to watch important indicators like, power consumption and raw material usage. This allows the company to adjust based on the information for a more cost efficient and profitable business operation.
As some would call it is another world made possible by IoT. Using different sensors, drones and robotics, machines can monitor variables in farming such as weather, fertilizer usage, and soil profile. It could also improve management in crops by alerting farmers which fields have been fertilized and which have not. No more mistakes like over using fertilizers and pesticides for you!
Like crop farming, livestock could also benefit from emerging IoT applications. These applications collect data regarding location, well-being, and health of your cattle. With this information, you can identify which of the animals are sick, so you can separate them from the herd and prevent spread of disease. Sensors can track the location of cattle on the field which eases your ranchers job on looking after them.
The applications just don’t stop there.
One of the biggest offer IoT has would be energy management. There is already growing numbers in homes and offices using smart switches, outlets, bulbs and other electronic devices with the capability to integrate to the internet. These electronics can be remote controlled through an application on your phone. This allows you to be energy efficient in your own home.
Forgot to turn your TV off? Tell it to turn-off. You can easily take control of it from your phone.
Is another beneficiary of IoT. More common these days, are your fitbit gadgets that monitor your heart rate. You can integrate it with a phone application that monitors you overall health, reminds you of gym schedules and fitness goals.
A handful of hospitals have started using “smart beds”. These are beds that can detect when they are occupied and when a patient is attempting to get up. It can even adjust itself to ensure appropriate pressure and support is applied to the patient without the interaction of nurses.
IoT can also assist communications, and process control in different transportation systems. Cities in Europe have automated parking and toll collection that processes your payment through your phone. You can also check on the location and condition of shipments with wireless sensors.
The possibilities and applications of the concept of IoT are limitless. In every sense of the word.
With all the developments made in the last 10 years or so, why are smart homes not commonplace in modern society? Why are there only a ‘handful’ of hospitals or a ‘few’ farmers using the technology. As is with anything that is relatively new in modern history, IoT has its road bumps that needs to be dealt with for it to move forward at full speed.
First, there is the issue of compatibility. For now, there is no technical standards followed by any of the players in the field of information technology. With all the different hardware and software technologies available in the market, it makes the task of developing applications work consistently in different tech platforms very difficult. And that’s understating it.
Second, is the issue of complexity. Because the nature of IoT is connectivity to make our complex lives simple, there is a need for IoT to be as complex to solve it. And as a system becomes more complex, there are also more opportunities of mistakes.
For example, you and your life partner get an alert from your smart fridge that the milk’s all gone. Both of you stop by the nearest store on the way home from work to buy milk. You end up having twice more than what you need.
Third, is the coveted issue of data privacy. Devices know a lot of about you. Spending habits, subscriptions, prescriptions etc. All the data transmitted from different devices pose a risk of a leak of your own privacy. Add to that the recent fiasco with data privacy in facebook, the same question regarding how well data is kept private is raised to the applications of IoT.
Fourth, safety. Automation is awesome. But imagine if a hacker got a hold of your information, they could have access to your entire home. If he wanted to, he could change your medical prescription to harm you.
Fifth, job replacement. The effect of IoT is the automation of daily activities. As it advances, the need for human resources becomes less and less. The technology would eventually replace lesser jobs and negatively affect the lives of the less skill and less educated. This may enlarge the problem of unemployment in some countries.
Increase of Machinery
Sixth, the rise of the machines. This is when technology takes complete control of our lives. To some extent, it already is taking over our personal lives. Computer addiction is scientifically as bad as drug addiction. More and more people want to do less by using technology to do work for them. Eventually a line must be drawn on how much automation do we want in our daily lives.
Internet of Things is the World Today.
To put a wrap on the IoT, it is how you ought to live daily. The benefits IoT brings can outweigh the risks it carries. It could take out mundane routines and save you precious time. Time you could very well spend on what matters most to you.
Imagine, if things in your own home took care of themselves like your own fridge tells you what to buy. You wouldn’t always have to go crazy figuring out what you need in your shopping list.
Your air-conditioning tells why it isn’t working. That could save you time and money by having the repairman fix it. They already know what’s wrong.
You want to know your children’s class schedules. The school’s system tells your phone that information for your own discretion.
Like with anything new, there will always be problems that needs to be addressed. One thing is for sure the internet of things is and will be the future of modern day living. If you plan on living in the modern world, get connected first. Check out internet service deals at www.xyzies.com.