First of all, what is the Internet of Things (IoT)? The primary and essential definition is various devices in various sizes, mainly considered sensors and represent gadgets, appliances and machines programmed to carry out specific tasks through transmitting data over the internet and other networks. The most commonly known IoT devices are smart home gadgets, from automated lights to locks, sensors used in smart vehicles, industrial equipment, medical devices and more.
The rapid spread of IoT devices is inevitable, as it paves the way towards the future and is one of the main pillars of future tech. From smart buildings that will require no human intervention to provide safety and heating to the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) absent of human eyes, IoT will be one of the core components of life in future. Several figures underline the fast adaptation and the spread of IoT, pointing out how fast the world is becoming digital more than ever.
According to Statista, the number of IoT devices will double from 15.1 billion in 2020 and reach 29.42 billion by 2030. The number of connected internet devices by region by 2030 also provides a glimpse into the development scale of major powers (Explodingtopics):
- China: 8.57 billion
- Europe: 6.56 billion
- North America: 6.24 billion
- Japan: A little more than 2 billion
IoT is quickly outpacing non-IoT devices and the traditional use and appliance of communication over the internet. As of 2020, IoT devices already outnumbered non-IoT devices globally and by 2025, IoT devices are expected to take this ratio to 3:1, according to Explodingtopics. Another interesting fact is the usage of IoT devices. Not surprisingly, 74% of the IoT devices are utilised in short-range functions, and public and private networks use the rest of the IoT devices, 16% and 10%, respectively.
IoT carries a lot of responsibilities for the future, as the digitalised world already produces an overwhelming amount of data.
What will be the tasks of IoT?
Global Connectivity: IoT is the essence of technologies that make the world digital. Think of cities, businesses, regions, and continents interconnected through this technology, transmitting billions of data each second. IoT will make this happen, opening the doors of futuristic innovations that will change the world and our lives.
Data Generation and Analysis: IoT devices generate enormous amounts of data from the ‘real world’. The data is gathered from devices and machines, including smart home locks and connected cars. The data collected can be considered a massive pile of raw minerals to enrich. This step is done by data analysis, taking data processing to another level through sophisticated data analytics platforms specialised for different industries. Through filtering and analysis, data is turned into valuable insights used in decision-making, improving the overall efficiency of operations and reducing costs.
Automation: Utilising IoT in various operational systems eliminates human intervention in countless routine, repeated daily tasks and enables monitoring when human intervention is again eliminated through detecting the required response by IoT. A straightforward example is smart thermostats, optimising heating and cooling systems, saving significant time for human personnel and reducing costs.
Improved safety and security: IoT is super efficient in real-time monitoring and alert/notification systems. IoT will provide 100% time efficiency in triggering the required response in any area of life, including ITSs, medical care and inventory management. An accident can be averted through monitoring and response, medical staff can respond to a patient in no time and inventory, and assets can be tracked 24/7 and protected.
Improved Decision-Making: As mentioned above, IoT is like a digital data wizard. Drawing information from all corners of the internet and other networks, IoT gathers the new gold, data to be converted into vital insights, guiding any decision-maker by seeing operations in depth and scale as never before.
Sustainability: Sustainability is one of the most critical elements for any business, as it stands on the ability to sustain a business in an environmental fashion, which helps fight climate change and brings more efficiency while reducing costs. Connected fleets, for instance, using IoT-based telematics technology, are able to reduce their carbon emissions while still using petrol vehicles significantly. From optimising water consumption to reducing electricity usage, sustainability provides a holistic approach to making any business greener, and IoT is vital to support governments and organisations under this goal.
Improved industrial efficiency: Following the pandemic period and the impact of the Ukraine-Russia war, supply chains need vital innovation never to get impacted by external threats again. IoT could maximise this, providing all necessary systems such as predictive maintenance and real-time monitoring. Thus, supply chains can stay healthy and robust at all times by efficiently monitoring and managing machinery, delivery and protection of assets. Reduced costs and saved resources would help to patch losses and add onto current operations, eventually increasing efficiency.
Healthcare innovations: Smartwatches are a great example of health innovations, enabling 24/7 monitoring of patients. Connected to a medical service network, similar wearable devices and intelligent medical equipment can detect any health issue and immediately alert medical services. The improved healthcare will display itself in various futuristic ways, such as drones carrying supplements to patients as soon as possible when needed.
Urban Planning and Smart Cities: The world is not efficient enough to respond to climate change as it should be. Technology is the solution to make cities more liveable and efficiently limit the sources of carbon emissions through smart traffic management, optimised fuel and energy consumption, waste management and more. IoT will be the basis of these systems, monitoring, detecting and managing vital infrastructure and procedures through automation.
Consumer Convenience: A smartwatch telling you to wake up and take your routine walk, a toast machine getting your toast ready when you need it and a fridge showing you the new you require on its smart screen. Not just to increase comfort but to save time and energy on top of scheduling your way through IoT will make a big difference in many people’s lives.
What is the risk?
Is there any technology that comes without risks? Probably not. IoT is one, and it brings vast risks (actually opportunities for bad actors) if not correctly used. IoT will be the digital aqueduct of information, and when disrupted, it may cause catastrophe for any business, government or individual. Robust security systems must be in place for all IoT networks, from connected fleets to office gadgets, to avoid unwanted attacks. At this step, human intervention is super important, completing the efficiency of IoT with diligent care.