The Future of I0T

What is IoT?

The Internet of Things, otherwise known as IoT, refers to a system of connected computing devices, objects, buildings, and machines that are linked over a network. They actively collect, analyze and exchange data. The exchange of data between devices occurs automatically, and many devices are programmed with the ability to”learn” from the data gathered by other connected devices. Machine Shop is an example of a company that leverages the concept of IoT technology to help businesses run more efficiently and more smoothly. Machine Shop connects software and devices running on different networks and on different platforms. The ability to connect and share data across all devices on one single integrated platform is a valuable tool for businesses. This is just one of many technologies being developed that is contributing to the ever growing network of interconnected devices know as IoT.

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The IoT Landscape 

Six types of IoT applications appear to be emerging from under the broad categories of Information Analysis and Automation Control. These applications include Tracking behavior, Situational Awareness, Sensor Driven Analytics, Process Optimization, Optimized Resource Consumption, and Complex Autonomous Systems. As more devices connect to IoT networks, an ever increasing amount of data is gathered. With more data available, the analysis of data improves and the conclusions that can be drawn from the data become more complex and more insightful. This helps companies to make more well informed decisions, and it helps businesses leverage strategies that were once not available without IoT.

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The Future of IoT Technology  

Tracking Chips:

One development of IoT has been the increased use of RFID chips and other similar tracking devices. This technology is beginning to transform business models of certain industries. Insurance companies have considered the possibility of tracking customers cars. By monitoring customer driving behavior and the places that the customer travels, insurance companies would be able to evaluate risks more accurately and thus price a more accurate policy. This would be a drastic shift from the traditional pricing model, part of which is based off of age, gender and home address.

Environmental conservation efforts have utilized tracking chips to tag and monitor endangered species. The data that is gathered on the movements of engendered animals once they are released back into the wild is used to improve the strategies of conservation efforts. As tracking chips have become cheaper and more readily available some farmers have began to consider the use of tracking chips on their livestock. These chips are considered to be more accurate and more humane than traditional tagging methods.

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Sensors:

Currently sensors are being installed into self-driving cars. At some point in the not so distant future it is likely that sensors will be installed in the majority of cars, allowing cars to interact with each other. This will improve driving safety well beyond current levels. Sensors may also be installed in traffic lights and across different roadways, greatly improving traffic flow. It is even possible that sensors with ability to detect ice could be installed on certain roadways. The ice detecting sensor would communicate with the sensor in a car, and the car would automatically brake before the driver was even aware of the threat of ice on the roadway.

Another development from IoT and the use of sensors has been precision agriculture. This farming technique gathers real time data gathered by sensors. This data includes  crop conditions, air quality, soil quality, weather conditions, and labor costs and availability to determine the exact amount of water and nutrients plants need during a given day. This process cuts costs for farmers, and it allows for sustainable farming practices as excess water is conserved and soil runoff is prevented.

The smart grid refers to the network of meters and power lines responsible for electric distribution. These meters and power lines have sensors attached that communicate data about electricity flows to each other and back to electricity providers. In the event of an outage the gird will instantaneously communicate the issue to the electric company, and it will provide information about the location and cause of the outage. Some smart grids also have automated controls for repairing the outage and for distributing electricity more efficiently.

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Summary and Questions: Traditionally big business invests in and develops a cutting edge technology to improve business operations before the technology reaches many consumer markets. As businesses begin to develop and improve IoT, the technology should become cheaper and more readily available. In the near future IoT technologies will become more common in consumer markets.

Can you think of any consumer facing products or services that could be improved with IoT technology?

Do you have any concerns about the future in regard to IoT technology, tracking, or extensive data collection?

Feel free to skip the questions and comment in any way you want to.

Sources

http://www.machineshop.io/

http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/precision-agriculture-precision-farming

http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/the-internet-of-things

The Internet of Things Is Far Bigger Than Anyone Realizes

http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/smart-grid

6 comments

  1. This was a really interesting blog post! I would think many people would not like the idea of a tracking chip in their car so their insurance company can track their driving behavior, but if that ever did become the norm I am sure people would start to drive much more carefully. The sensor section was very interesting to me as well. The idea of sensors in traffic lights to improve traffic flow would be life changing for commuters, along with the self driving cars communicating with each other.

  2. dabettervetter · ·

    I really appreciate the variety of examples of the IoT that you incorporated! When talking in a class about digital business and such, we tend to think of stuff like self-driving cars. However, things like sensors/trackers on animals shows how deep technology has become immersed into our world. Also, those sensors are similar to RFID chips being used to conduct marketing research and possibly into cars as mentioned in the blog. We can learn a lot from our own behavior, but I feel that we are at a crossroads determining where we draw the line between private and public information.

  3. Nice post. I’ve been hearing about the coming of the IoT since about 2002. It sounds like it might finally be here.

  4. IoT is definitely something I am very interested in – it takes the power of a traditional machine to a whole new level. I worked at a startup accelerator the summer after my freshman year, and got to know about a company that did big data for IoT devices. I think that’s what makes these new innovations that much more exciting. As IoT emerges, people are already realizing that the amount of data that will be harnessed through these machines will be enormous, so doing data analysis for these machines is also a wave towards the future.

    I think your point about the sensor market is very true. One thing to keep in mind with the future of self-driving cars is that the actual retailers we buy from will all be extremely competitive – executives of various companies like Tesla, Chevy, and Volvo all want to be the leader in this space. Rather than focusing on the car dealerships themselves, it’ll be really interesting to see the sensor market grow extremely quickly over the next decade. Great read – thanks so much!

  5. Really informative post! IoT is a concept I’ve heard about then and again, but never really looked into. I didn’t know that it has so many applications, whether it be for conservation or agriculture. I have heard it mentioned in terms of turning our homes into “smart houses,” where all the appliances are connected over a network, constantly learning about our living habits and allegedly helping make our lives easier. This would be a cool, more accessible use of the IoT.

  6. Great post! IoT. This is an evolving field with a lot more to come. Everyone from GE to Apple is looking for ways to make everything around us connected and smarter. My company is actually doing a few things in this space as well. Check out this video of our race car driver and the smart shirt we built for him: http://www.cio.com/video/70135/a-high-tech-shirt-made-for-speed

    In my opinion, sensing is just the start of IoT. “Things” are going to get very interesting as we push past sensing and into actuation.

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