The introduction of the internet brought many changes in our society. Along with that, it also brought many new ideas and possibilities to do things in a different and better way. Starting from entertainment to industrial usage, it revolutionized everything. Introduction of OTT content that truly transformed the entertainment industry and forced cable providers to offer something new such as Spectrum TV offering streaming services, to computer networks in the offices that made it possible to get the work done in matters of minutes. One other concept that was brought to light was the Internet of Things or IoT.
IoT is a huge network of devices that gather and share data from the environment in which they are used and how they are used to a common platform. That platform translates data into meaningful information and takes action as per guidelines. It can be as simple as a smart fitness watch that provides us details such as heart rate, distance traveled & calories burned, or as advanced as a self-driving car that keeps you on track and detects any hurdles in the way by using sensors.
How does IoT work
Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the practice of equipping our “things” with sensors and connecting them with the internet so that they can operate without the need for human interaction. These sophisticated sensors and chips turn these devices into smart devices that can then communicate and send/receive data to humans or networks to which they are connected and act on that data. The data is received from the environment and then transmitted to the network in the form of meaningful information.
All these IoT devices and their working depends upon the apps that are deployed for them and the protocols defined in the apps. For example, smart air conditioners in our homes can be controlled through apps on our phones where we can turn them On/Off or change the temperature. These apps can also send us and the manufacturer notifications about AC’s working condition and repair. All of that is done through the sensors embedded in the Air Conditioners that collect data and provide us with useful information.
Day to day applications of IoT
If you look around, you will see that there are more IoT devices in your surroundings than ever. The applications of IoT are universal from in house devices to large manufacturing plants or small businesses. It is being used in in-home appliances and devices such as smart refrigerators, air conditioners, doors and window’s motion sensors, Alexa voice control, and many more. Moreover, if we look at it from an industrial point of view, it has immense usage in manufacturing to supply chain such as using barcode scanners to maintain stocks and keeping an eye on inventory.
According to IoT Analytics research that is based on monthly google searches for related apps, smart homes are ranked number 1 when it comes to IoT applications with devices such as thermostats, connected lights & smart locks. Wearables were ranked 2nd and other applications were mainly observed in connected health, smart retail, smart supply chain, and smart farming. And by the looks of it, this usage is going to expand more and more as more people will realize the efficiency and effectiveness of IoT.
Future of IoT in 2021
In 2019, there were over 26 Billion IoT connected devices with expectations of even a higher number in 2020. According to some experts, by December 2020, IoT devices will reach a total of 31 Billion. That is an outstanding growth rate of about 20%. Due to increased efficiency in business processes, more businesses are taking advantage of and expanding their usage of IoT. Although Machine Learning, Remote monitoring, and many more features are already here in 2020, there is no stopping them in the future.
By 2021, the IoT market on a global scale is expected to reach $ 520 billion. That is almost double if we compare it to last year. According to Newswire, the Internet of Things market will reach $1.12 trillion by the end of 2026. One major reason for that is the rising demand for artificial intelligence and cloud computing which is fueling this market as it has applications in all sectors from healthcare to finance. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook are investing billions of dollars in IoT applications to capitalize on this immensely growing market.
In October 2020, Forrester research Inc. released its Predictions 2021 which discusses and predicts the factors which will be contributing towards IoT market growth in the coming year. It considers the COVID factor Let’s have a look at a few factors that are expected to see immense change in terms of IoT.
According to the research, after getting hardly hit by COVID-19, the healthcare sector will receive more attention from device makers. Many illnesses that could be avoided are left undetected as sufficient resources were not available. Post-Covid healthcare will be focusing on the digitalization of healthcare systems where people will be able to get virtual care. So, during 2021, it is expected that there will be an increase in sensors and wearables that will detect a patient’s health while he is staying home. The ease of in-home monitoring will spur people’s interest as they will have better information about their health without going anywhere.
Another IoT usage that is going to gain popularity, as per Forrester’s research, is smart offices. Currently, the majority of the workforce is working from home to contain the spread of the Corona Virus. Even though decision-makers are expecting a higher percentage of remote workers that will be working permanently with the corporations, it is expected that more than 60 % of the offices will be implementing IoT applications to enhance their resource efficiency and provide safer working environments to their employees. These include managing layouts of their offices for social distancing, using smart energy solutions, monitoring the flow of traffic, managing congested areas, and sensor-enabled environmental monitoring.
In 2021, location services will be used as a core to provide convenience to customers. Brands will be able to offer virtual queue, appointments to nearest access points, and better pick-up and delivery services if they will partner with 3rd parties having access to customer location and permissions.
Other than these 3, Remote Asset Management & New networking technologies were some other points presented in Forrester’s research that would be contributing towards IoT market growth.
Even though all these factors point out a drastic increase in IoT devices and applications, almost 97% of the IoT users are concerned about IoT security. Customers are willing to pay more if their security can be guaranteed. Almost half of the IoT adopters have raised concerns about technical challenges and complexity in the usage of IoT, pointing out that enough training is not available for IoT support. If these challenges can be taken care of, there is no doubt the IoT market can grow better than expectations and all forecasts.
Based on current trends and forecasts, saying IoT is the future would not be wrong. It has wide implications on both residential and commercial levels. By keeping efficiency and convenience in mind, the majority of the businesses are adopting IoT and the number is rising day by day. By the looks of it, seems like IoT will be changing our lives for good.