Narender Yadav / October 9, 2018
In 1990 there were just 0.3 million connected devices. The number is slated to touch 1 trillion by 2025. According to Gartner, the number is already 20.6 billion.
Smart TVs, your gaming consoles, smartwatches and fitness gears are constantly taking notes on your behavior, usage patterns and your preferences to deliver bespoke and personalized experience to the consumer. With the increase in the number of connected devices, IoT applications are spreading their ambitions and are set for an explosion.
The IoT applications will be driven by smart devices in use. According to KRC research, the top 5 IoT devices will be in the field of Smart Appliances (37%), Smart Energy Meters (25%), Wearable Devices (13%), and Connected cars and smart healthcare devices with 10 % share each. With this information in mind let us look at the most common real-world applications of IoT.
1. Smart Homes
This is the most popular of all the real-world examples of IoT application. According to Google, smart homes are the most widely searched IOT application on the net. The cost of owning a home and its security are the topmost concerns for a homeowner. Now imagine, you can monitor the security of your house while on vacation. Will it not be great if you could switch on the AC 10 mins before reaching your home from the office, or turn it off to prevent electricity wastage when nobody is home? The massive potential in this area has prompted $3 billion of funding into this line of business already. Philips has already come up with smart illumination, and soon smart home companies like Nest, Ecobee, Ring, and August look set to become household names.
Wearables are already a part of our daily lives. Smartphones, watches, Fitbit and other health trackers which are connected to the internet are all parts of the IoT ecosystem. These devices are constantly streaming data back and forth about your preferences and what information you might be looking for. Wearable applications seem to have exploded in the entertainment, fitness, and the health realm. Interesting use-cases are also emerging every day in enterprise scenarios like maintenance, supply chain and logistics, and training and learning. Big names like Apple, Samsung & Motorola are already heavily invested in wearables.
3. Smart City
Smart cities as a concept are generating a lot of hype and governments around the world are already undertaking ambitious projects to convert their urban areas into smart cities. Using data from various censors IoT can help solve problems like traffic, energy management, waste management, and public safety. This is a very promising area given the growing urgency to find efficient and sustainable solutions that impact the lives of the maximum number of people.
Retail giants are already leveraging IoT to enhance customer experience. Using Beacons, they are gaining insights to from crowd movement and adjusting product placement. Magic mirrors are being used to help people see how they would look in different clothes without actually having to put them on. This is beyond just gimmicks -there is real business value being found in improved sales and enhanced customer loyalty and convenience.
This is still the sleeping giant -but with the greatest potential for widespread impact on society. Due to the rise of connected health gadgets, it can become easier for caregivers to analyze the collected data and modify the treatments for specific patients. Smart Hospitals are using connected devices to improve the patient experience, deliver better care, and achieve a positive impact on their business results too. The potential stretches out into the consumer world too. Walgreens, for eg., has created a loyalty program where if you burn a certain number of calories as reflected on your wearable device, you can collect points that can be cashed as a discount during your next prescription purchase.
6. Energy Management
IoT is not only making the power grids smarter but also more reliable. The premise is that the collected data will help utility companies analyze where and when energy is required supply can be channelized to those areas, thus reducing wastage. Predictive analytics can help drive efficiencies and also play a key role in the predictive maintenance of the grid and the transmission infrastructure.
The implications in this area are profound. Feeding the growing population of the world is a concern on the top of the agenda for governments worldwide. This is where smart farming and IoT can come together to make a real difference. Devices can be used for measuring the soil health including the moisture and nutrient content. Water and fertilizer usage can be customized based on those insights. In the livestock industry, devices can help monitor the health of the livestock. Identifying the sick or at-risk livestock can drive early treatment and protect the rest of the stock.
8. Connected Cars
Today’s cars are driven by software as much as by their drivers. Modern automobile manufacturers are using sensor data to understand driving patterns and vehicle usage by customers. The IoT-stream data is also leveraged to deliver predictive maintenance services. The collected data is also monetized by Auto manufacturers by selling the data to the insurance companies so that they can accurately calculate the premium and promote safe driving.
9. Supply Chain and Logistics
An inspirational example is Amazon. IoT devices embedded within the cargo improves its visibility and traceability in real-time. By having such information organizations can weed out all inefficiencies and optimize the entire process. This transparency also helps improve customer satisfaction.
Know more about IoT – IoT is All Around – Including Our Workplace
Soon, billions of devices worldwide will be talking to each other with limited human intervention. This will drive a massive change in our way of living and working. The future holds many interesting possibilities -and these 9 examples of what is already being done offer a fascinating insight into the potential of IoT.