As per different reports, by 2020, the number of IoT devices in the world will be somewhere around 21 billion to 38 billion. To calculate in real , there are today around 8 billion devices (6 billion smartphones and 2 billion computers) connected to the internet globally and if you look at its massive scale and the way it has transformed our methods of communication, services, business, and more, we can’t even imagine what these 21 billion would do. But first things first-
What exactly is IoT?
We are all surrounded by “Things”. Be it a coffee vending machine in the office, a toaster, a refrigerator in the kitchen or security cameras everywhere, virtually every gadget that has an IC inside it is a potential “thing”. Just like the internet, we have today that connects all the smartphones and computers in the world, the Internet of Things connects all these Things on a single platform. That means like smartphones and computers communicate with each other, your thermostat too can communicate with your toaster, your security camera with fire-alarm, and so forth.
IoT works similar to the internet, with a few subtle differences. The first thing to understand is that all IoT devices at their core comprise sensors. It is these sensors that continuously collect data to be transmitted and processed later. The process goes something like this:
- The sensors continuously collect data, which depending upon the application is either continuously transmitted or waits for a particular event or threshold.
- This data then passes through the resource manager and process authentication of the particular device that accounts for bandwidth, memory, and security of data before it is passed on to further layers.
- Now, there are two options- either this data is directly transmitted to the IoT back-end through the internet or it first goes to a particular IoT gateway.
- Both the IoT back-end and gateway perform the same task of handling and processing of data received, in order to facilitate task automation, except for one major difference.
IoT back-end can be considered the central repository while the gateway is nothing more than a registry. For instance, if there is a request from any device for any particular data or event, the gateway may or may not be able to handle it depending on its sate. The back-end, on the other hand, is guaranteed to meet the request, unless of course, the request is invalid.
Business Aspects of IoT
While IoT is guaranteed to transform the lives of common users, it is actually the businesses for whom the technology holds the greatest potential. From process automation to data-driven business decisions, the possibilities are virtually limitless. Here are a few concrete prospects:
- The logistics industry can deploy such devices in their warehouses and vehicles to track real-time status of their shipment and plan and proceed for future operations accordingly.
- Retail industry can deploy IoT development to track customer attention and, interests, thereby improving the corresponding sales- all of which can be later analyzed to optimize business operations.
- Real estate industry can use the technology to develop smart cities with capabilities like traffic management.
- Healthcare industry can leverage the technology to create new innovative health kits and wearable gadgets.