A smarter world is developing around us, powered by the growing capabilities of The Internet of Things (IoT), revolutionising the way we live our lives, conduct business, and how we communicate with one another.
Put simply, IoT encompasses any physical item, embedded with a sophisticated set of sensors and computer chips, that is connected to the internet – from lightbulbs to digital scales – but more officially, it is based on the concept of two or more objects ‘speaking’ to (or sharing information with) one another.
These IoT ready devices connect to a dedicated platform to integrate and share varying levels of data, whilst applying advanced analytics to identify the most important information required to address a specific need. The process can pinpoint the information that is useful, and what which can be ignored so the data that is kept can be truly tailored to a specific use case or need.
There are a number of consumer-facing products on the market today, from home assistants to smart mirrors or thermostats, but the IoT is also making significant cost and time efficiencies across the world of business too, whether through monitoring production lines for downtime or through automating a previously manual task to free up employees to focus elsewhere. IoT devices can ultimately provide the insights necessary to streamline workflow and allow companies to compete more effectively in an ever-changing business environment.
Coined by some as the next revolution, the IoT is currently experiencing perfect conditions to evolve, thanks to a mix of cheaper broadband access, reduced technology costs and increasing smartphone usage. The opportunities for IoT and the number of future devices that can be connected are endless. Whilst the IoT is in its infancy today, the demand is already high, and according to Gartner, over 25 billion connected devices will be in use, worldwide, as early as 2021.
Naturally, with any new technology, concerns do exist. IoT can be costly to set up and work with, connectivity can sometimes fail, and there are unresolved concerns surrounding security – but work is being done to implement regulation, and the benefits of the technology, for some, far outweigh the challenges.