In today’s modern high-tech world, gadgets belonging to the Internet of Things (IoT) may be found in many places: at work, at home or in a public space. According to a Cisco forecast, by the year 2019 there will be more than 3.9 billion machine-to-machine (M2M) devices.
The IoT refers to the Internet and to all the additional things that it entails. It includes infrastructure like communication channels, (cloud) hosting servers, protocols and the principles of information exchange. The aims of the IoT are to improve M2M communication and to make sense of the data collected by the devices. Thus, it helps people become more efficient as they can delegate routine tasks to machines, as the IoT devices share common features, namely:
- Smart – many common devices (homes, cars, drones, even pans and trash cans) are equipped in many cases with sensors and with computers which help detect changes in the environment and interpret the data based on some preset parameters but, more significantly, make changes in parameters according to the information received.
- Autonomous – for any new hardware, you may order an app which will make sense of data collected by devices, process it and make decisions based on this data, i.e., the device will function without any human assistance.
- Connected – many features only make sense when devices exchange data with each other. For example, when your smartphone app helps you find your car inside a multi-storey car park. In order to accomplish this, devices need an instant channel. An Internet connection is best because it is the largest and the most advanced system.
So, What is The Internet of Things?
These features enable the world of IoT technologies to serve people in the following situations:
1. Replace or support people in positions where the lapse of concentration will cost too much. The IoT technology has matured to the point that it can be applied by closed systems that are not impacted by unforeseen external factors such as automated subway systems. When you use the IoT every day to get to work, it becomes a part of your landscape so you do not miss the driver at all.
2. Weather adapting smart homes. Sensors outside and inside structures can determine the indoor climate and make alterations to create an optimal environment, e.g., turn on and off the heating or the lights, activate air conditioning, etc. due to the changes in the weather outside.
3. Navigation assistance for indoors. For example, in supermarkets, shoppers are not happy with changes to the store and shelf layout. An app which makes a shopping list based on diet suggestions and creates possible routes and guides to the products’ locations via Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons would be very convenient. The app would also trigger notifications on phones reminding shoppers to purchase the products they need.
4. More context for every space. In referencing the IoT, Oksana states in her blog post Approaches to Indoor Navigation Systems Inside Large Shopping Malls, that more gadgets have sensors and collect information about the specific environmental factors, e.g., temperature and humidity:
“At the moment, Estimote has released Estimote Nearables – little stickers which have ARM processors, their own memory, a Bluetooth connection, and are designed to be used mainly as attachments to everyday things. As they are also equipped with an accelerometer and temperature sensors, their applicability is much wider than just indoor navigation.”
Now add the fact that wireless networking technologies have become more sophisticated and we get more cases when users get to know more real-time information about the things they need:
“The visitors will also be able to receive on their mobile devices information about the environmental temperature, for example, inside the fridge for milk products in the supermarket in order to confirm that all the standards concerning its storage and freshness are upheld. For the store owners, administrators, and managers, this function can become essential for the monitoring of the storage conditions and observance of all required standards.”
5. New information that was not maintainable previously. Cisco also predicts that M2M traffic will increase from 35,657 TB/mth in 2014 to 1,223,708 TB/mth in 2019. What is more important, this traffic will be generated and processed by machines while humans receive the end results of this tedious and difficult work. For example, the IoT improves logistics as it is a cheap way to support in-transit visibility within the whole supply chain. Via radio frequency identification (RFID), the position of any item can be easily identified and be merged with weather, driving speed, warehouse coordinates and other conditions so it will help prevent negative scenarios for management and delivery services, such as out-of-stock situations or delays in delivery.
Summary: The manufacturers are enthusiastic about the IoT technologies because they will help automate workflow and gather and interpret big data. For consumers, the IoT enables cheap and accessible indoor navigation and smart home solutions. This is why we (Ukraine software development company) can expect the software development to boom within the next five years with the focus on both front-end and back-end solutions. This way, custom desktops as well as mobile apps development will be needed to connect devices, improve M2M communications and to make it relevant for humans.