The Internet of Things (IoT) is forever changing the way people think, react, and want at their fingertips. IoT technology dives deeper into inter-connected data, information and sensing habits of consumers, inanimate objects, and humans with the ability to transmit data without human-to-computer or human-to-human interaction. This data is collected, assessed and then autonomously reacted to by IoT technology – from vehicles that let you know you are running late for a meeting suggesting you take the meeting in the car, to activating your home security system. The Internet is a buzz with activity and IoT takes advantage of it all. So, what will connectivity’s data flow within the Internet of Things mean for the world? How will it affect the way businesses and consumers interact in this connected world?
The world has lunged into an age of smart technology that immediately delivers information in seconds. Smartphones are able to do just about anything with apps – from controlling televisions to editing photos like a pro. Cars are able to sense changes in road conditions and respond accordingly, or call for emergency roadside assistance. Consumers have become accustomed to the ease of life via Internet technologies and insist all things in life that can be convenient – do just that.
To learn more about US manufacturers’ present status of IoT, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) took a survey for insight on their behaviors. The focus of their research was – are they behind, on target, or ahead of the serious game of inter-connectivity technology? What are manufacturers doing – or not doing – with data-driven technology? What plans are in play to bring their business to the expectations of customers and consumers?
PwC findings were able to put manufacturers into three categories, respectfully:
- Early adopters – Internet of Things understanding, currently using smart sensor technologies to use collected data for manufacturing and operational processes.
- Sideliners – have knowledge of IoT and may or may not have implemented some smart sensor technologies.
- Waders – are aware of IoT, in the beginning stages of planning to adopt smart sensor technologies.
If companies are to keep up with what customers and consumers have come to expect as main-stream and want, they are forced to implement Internet of Things technologies into their products and services. It is a sink or swim era for businesses – they have to find and collect customer and consumer inter-connected data, build an IoT ecosystem and execute an IoT strategy.
- Data digging and collecting – deploy smart sensor technologies to find, collect and measure data.
- IoT ecosystem – cost effective solutions are rapidly emerging putting small to medium-sized businesses in a fairer competitive arena.
To convey an innovative and transforming change that will enhance our lives, we humans put a name on it, as is the case with the Internet of Things. Inter-connectivity technologies by many analysts – is changing life forever. The world is in an era that is moving toward all things the imagination can dream up being automated. It is all about improving the quality of life.
The Internet of Things’ goal is to connect every day physical objects via the Internet and be identified to other devices. Technopedia states that the Internet of Things is significant because an object that can represent itself digitally becomes something greater than the object by itself. So, what does inter-connectivity mean? It is simple; connect any device to the Internet, and/or each other with an on/off switch. Smartphones have had this capability and have been using it for years. Vehicles already have inter-connectivity technology that has an advantage in the IoT arena. Gaming equipment’s inter-connectivity puts a player in a 3D battlefield with real-time teams and opponents. From coffee makers to headphones to Google searches to washing machines and garage doors or a public transit bus telling you how close the next stop is – these are all “things” within IoT. The possibilities for products to have smart IoT technology are only limited to the world’s imagination.
Coca Cola, though the phrase “Internet of Things” hadn’t evolved yet, was the first to produce an internet appliance. A Coke machine, according to WhatIs.com, that could communicate with devices at Coca-Cola telling a person if a cold Coke would be waiting when they went to the machine was placed at Carnegie Melon University during the early 1980s.
Patrick Thibodeau of ComputerWorld says it is the sensors that make the Internet of Things almost human. The sensors monitor and register any changes in environments, and collect the data. Take a smartphone for instance. The microphone and camera are the sensors transmitting interesting collected data and transforms it into electrical energy; and the speaker and the screen are the actuators transforming the data into interesting and useful energy.
Another example of the Internet of Things is something Streetline mobile app offers. When a parking garage or lot business uses Streetline technology, a driver using their app can be “told” and guided to where an empty parking spot is available. The convenience for the driver and increase in business revenue go hand-in-hand.
The ecosystems of intelligent systems have opened opportunities for businesses to provide new innovative ways within their products and services to enhance the quality of life for the customer or consumer. The Internet of Things came about quickly and hit the ground running – and is moving at an even faster rate. What will the Internet of Things evolve towards in the future? The answer to this question is – possibly everything. If a person can think it, the Internet of Things technology intelligence can create it.