In this blog, I want to discuss IoT and how it is transforming the world and increasing human comfort day by day. IoT enables us to talk to different appliances like I can ask my smart bulb to change its color, or can ask my smart AC to change the temperature, or can ask my smart speaker to play my favorite music based on my song history on music apps. Also, the smart sensors can enable smart devices to act smartly like when I reach home my smart bulb can be switched on automatically. IoT is getting more and more attention in the current era but if we want to describe IoT then it is a process where we are trying to connect different physical objects to the internet.
The above diagram is showing how different devices and objects are connected with each other. The fundamental feature which IoT provides is a way using which we can connect device to device or device to human. So till now, we have discussed the basic features of IoT and are areas where we can use it, now let us understand how IoT is transforming different sectors:
IoT is transforming household devices like airconditioner, TV, lightbulbs, refrigerators, and speakers, etc. The current implementation is just a beginning where we can start our AC using a voice command by connecting it to a smart device like Alexa. We can also control the bulbs, TV, or refrigerators the way we want. IoT also enables the machine to machine communication where one machine can control another machine. So if we take a simple example then our smartwatch can suggest the AC change the temperature as per the health condition or the refrigerator can sense the quality of food and control the temperature accordingly. These are just some use cases but they are so much that we can not cover in a blog.
In the medical sector, IoT is transforming the way a patient and doctor works using devices like smart bands, smartphones, smart medical devices, etc. Here the smart band can monitor the health data and can send it to a doctor in case of any anomaly in the health data. For example, let us assume there is a patient who is wearing a smart device to monitor heartbeat which keeps on syncing with the cloud in real-time. Now in case, the heartbeat is going beyond the normal range then the cloud app will trigger a notification to the connected hospital and doctor so that the doctor can act without any further delay.
If the situation is not good then it can also trigger the ambulance by sharing the patient's GPS coordinates so that the ambulance can reach there and can pick the patient.
In the automotive sector, IoT examples are driverless cars, connected vehicles, sensors that can detect any issues in the vehicle, etc. It can help the production to check if everything is working as per the expectation. After production when the vehicle is on road then IoT helps to diagnose any issue and send that details to the manufacturer using connected vehicle technology.
Driverless cars use smart cameras and algorithms to drive the vehicle on the road without a driver. Another use case of the connected vehicle is by controlling it to smart devices like a smartphone.
In the logistics industry, the main concern is to track the cargo in transportation along with the temperature and humidity inside the containment units. This is important because sometimes the temperature or humidity can impact the goods inside the cargo. With the help of IoT sensors, we can track the humidity, temperature of containment along with the location of the cargo. In case of any issue, an alert can be triggered and notification can be sent to different stakeholders so that they can take appropriate action.
IoT is also transforming the transport sector as different innovations like smart signals, smart cameras to detect speed, congestion, etc are possible using IoT implementation. A very simple example is the smart camera in traffic which can sense the traffic and can control it smartly instead of manually changing the traffic light.
It can smartly handle the traffic flow as many times the rush can be unidirectional and we need to plan the traffic according to the flow and in those situations, smart traffic management can help by monitoring the congestion and weather conditions, etc.
In agriculture it can be a boon as many a time the agriculture depends on water but when and how much to water the crop is a decision which is not always correct. So here we can put the sensors to track the soil moisture and can suggest the need for water. It can go one step further by implementing a smart irrigation system that can automatically start when the water is required.
This is not the end of IoT implementation here, as it is just a beginning as we can go further and can connect the irrigation system with weather forecast system so that it can make smart decisions like if it is going to rain this week then it is not going to waste the water and will wait for the rain.
IoT can also transform the retail sector by managing the smart inventory, optimizing the supply chain, and improving the customer experience. We can configure the smart shelves by implementing the smart sensors with RFID which can keep track of the items so that in case of any shortage it can enable the procurement. Also using a smart basket fitted with the RFID reader, we can enable the customer to add products and pay without going to the queue.
Till now we have discussed different segments that can be transformed using IoT but there are some areas like smart cities where we use IoT by integrating different use cases to make it a smart city from a normal ordinary city. In smart cities, many things are integrated and work together to solve various day to day problems. The example of a smart city is a smart power grid that can operate as per the current workload, it can also predict the energy surge, and also it can distribute the energy more efficiently by monitoring the uses.
The smart parking space is another example of a smart city where a driver can be notified with the availability of parking along with the direction in the form of push notification so that the driver can park his vehicle easily without roaming here and there. Another example is smart traffic light which can signal as per the current situation of traffic to handle traffic smartly. In the same way, there are many more areas where IoT has been implemented to make life easy.
These were some use cases of IoT from different sectors but the core concept is to connect different sensors to a gateway which is the internet-facing devices. Sensors connect with the gateway using BLE or WiFi technology while gateway connects with the cloud over the internet using different protocols like MQTT or HTTP, etc. Once the data is on the cloud we can apply different logics and can act accordingly. This blog is just to introduce you to IoT in future blogs I will explain how we can simulate it using the cloud, virtual machines, and Ubuntu core operating system. Please leave your comments in case you have any queries or suggestions.