The “Internet of Things” (“IoT”) is quickly becoming a very popular topic of conversation both in the workplace and outside of it. But what exactly is it, and what does it mean?
To put it simply, the Internet of Things is the concept of connecting all devices or “things” to the internet, then using the data to connect to other thing or services (e.g., my refrigerator indicates I am low on milk and reorders milk from Amazon Fresh). This connection includes almost anything: laptops, cellphones, cars, watches, , street lights, and virtually any other product you can think of. IoT also applies to internal components of things, for example, an engine of an airplane, the drill of an oil rig, or an ink senor within an industrial printer. If the “thing” in question can be turned on and off, odds are it can be part of the IoT.
The popular Technology researchers Gartner, has predicted that in a couple years, by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices worldwide. Other researchers even predict that number to be substantially larger. That is a lot of connectivity, and there is a lot of potential for us to benefit this giant network of connected devices, and its relationships.
Imagine a typical day in your life, and all the devices and ‘things’ you interact with. A deeper level of connectivity can improve the efficiency of your daily tasks. For example, imagine you are running a little late for an appointment due to bad traffic or weather. Your cellphone, or car could have direct access to the best route, re-allocate your time of arrival in real time and notify the other party that you will be arriving a little later than anticipated, without you having to do anything – a few simple tasks that were once manual can now be taken care through surrounding devices and technologies. Benefits from IoT are also being conceptualized on a larger scale, to help improve cities and infrastructures.
Devices, or “things” can be put in place for better detection and make adjustments to achieve an improved result:
- Air Pollution
Better control of Carbon Dioxide, factory emissions, pollutions emitted from vehicles, and gases and toxins generated from factories to improve our overall air quality.
- Traffic Congestion
Improved passive monitoring of people and vehicles to optimize driving and walking routes in real time.
- Waste Management
Detection of trash levels in containers to optimize trash collection routes
- Structural Health
Measuring and Monitoring vibration levels on structures like large buildings, bridges, monuments, etc. to determine preventative maintenance schedules.
- Smart Lighting
Intelligent and weather adaptive lighting in in cities to reduce energy usage.
- Smart Parking
Monitoring of parking spaces available within a city or urban areas to save time and money on finding a place to park.
- Scout Agriculture
Monitoring of crop integrity and recommending irrigation levels to improve overall crop yields.
- Smart Shelves
Monitoring the product available on a grocery store shelf to initiate moving product from back of store to front of store and/or reordering from manufacturer.
The possibilities are vast, and the ideas to move towards more connected “smart cities” can help us by reducing waste and making us more energy efficient. The connection of machines, vehicles, devices and other parts of our daily lives is very powerful. Even today, in the early stages, the IoT is beginning to have a real impact on how products are being serviced, how goods are being made and distributed, and the expectation of consumers.
The future, and full potential of IoT applications and technologies will require more innovations and smart ideas. In Today’s enterprise, connectivity and interoperability are becoming more and more a part of our lives, to improve automation and security, and the addition and acceptance of the IoT can bring that even further – especially if business leaders continue to truly embrace data-driven intelligence and connectivity.
The Principal Consulting, Inc. (TPC) has recognized the potential of the IoT, and has recently put a center of excellence together to begin supporting and driving the implementations of IoT. We have a proven methodology to define IoT roadmaps/visions and a framework for the deployment of IoT products and services.
TPC, a leading SAP Service partner, is supporting SAP’s latest IoT product line. SAP is leveraging their existing HANA in-memory platform to focus on applying machine learning and advanced analytics to the vast amount of data that IoT devices collect, and TPC stands ready to embrace the future of connectivity.