The Internet of Things is set to revolutionise the way we lead our lives, how we interact with each other and with technology. In this article we look at what the Internet of Things means for you and your business.
What is it?
Let’s get behind the buzz phrase that is the Internet of Things and clearly describe what it is: The Internet of Things (IoT) is the future of sharing and connectivity. It involves everything being connected to the Internet in a revolutionary move in machine to machine communication.
Through sensors, inanimate objects, such as cars or buildings, will be able to communicate with the Internet – sending and receiving information about everything from the number of free parking spaces in a carpark to stress cracks in bridges and buildings, revolutionising the way people move around cities or manage maintenance.
Why is it important?
The outcome will be a world so interconnected that every aspect of life will be streamlined through apps on mobile phones with information at everyone’s fingertips. The potential for such interconnectivity is potentially lifesaving.
In 2007 a bridge collapsed in Minnesota, USA, killing dozens of people because the steel plates were inadequate to carry the bridge’s load. With the Internet of Things these tragedies become preventable because sensors on the bridge connected to the Internet will monitor deterioration of bridges and other infrastructure.
What does it mean for you?
On a day-to-day level the IoT will allow you to do such things as better planning of journeys. Sensors on cars will be able to communicate with each other to report congestion and parking availability which will save drivers driving endlessly around carparks and save on emissions as more drivers are able to make more informed decisions. You will also be able to control, monitor the performance and maximise the efficiency of home appliances, like heaters, as well as the eagerly awaited ability for your fridge to detect when you are running low on milk and place an automated order with your local store to deliver fresh supplies.
How does it work?
The functionality and usefulness of IoT depends on the usage of Cloud based applications (such as iCloud) to store and transmit data to smartphone apps (or wearable technology), fully integrating the technology into everyday personal and business life.
What are some of the potential business benefits?
In the realm of business the IoT offers the chance to generate greater revenue, develop new opportunities and save on staff costs. The interconnectivity to products and infrastructure on and offsite means that monitoring product depletion or deterioration becomes something that can be done from the office – cutting travel emissions to offsite jobs and saving staff spent in transit.
The Internet of Things is going to give us the most disruption of all of the latest technology trends and it’s also going to breed the biggest opportunities over the next five years.
You can find out more about the Internet of Things at an SBN event, ‘Benefiting from the Internet of Things’, on 13 October in Auckland that will demonstrate how leading organisations and brands Chorus, Philips and Tork are utilising the IoT to enhance their performance .