Not so long ago, until the beginning of 2020, many people thought that nothing, or rather only a few things, could surprise them. They had their daily routines, their private lives, families, work, duties, and nobody even in their darkest dreams thought that this could change overnight, as happened in 2020 because of the COVID-19. People had to get used to a new reality overnight, and here the Internet of Things comes to aid.
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept whereby uniquely identifiable objects can: collect, process or exchange data, either directly or indirectly, through the KNX smart electrical installation or computer network. In other words, it consists of connecting material objects with Internet resources by means of an extensive computer network, in this case the Internet. Crucial thing is that the concept of the Internet of Things is not only about devices via which you can communicate. The Internet of Things is also any object that can be connected to the global network. Phones and computers form the largest group at the moment, but in the future they will be a minority. The Internet of Things as its primary goal is to create smart space that will include everything related to everyday life. Although we are not aware of this, the smart space surrounds us more and more, we can mention for example:
- smart cities – we see them every step of the way, due to advanced network services, it’s possible to optimize urban infrastructure, such as roads or power grids. With the flow of information about the volume and nature of traffic, you can better and more efficiently control it and guide users through less congested areas. Free parking spaces can also be monitored so that users can be directed to where there are free spaces. Moreover, a network of sensors can be extremely helpful in detecting crime and vandalism, or controlling lighting according to time of day, weather or user presence.
- smart energy systems – the more equipment is used, the greater the demand for energy, and therefore continuous optimisation of energy systems is necessary, including: increasing the share of renewable sources, storing surplus production, and more efficient transport
- smart homes and buildings – broadband networks and advanced network services can be used in people’s everyday surroundings. Using their functionality, you can smartly manage common devices. We can mention: smart homes, telemetry or navigation.
- smart health networks – in the future, due to even better medical care, life expectancy is expected to be much higher, which, combined with low birth rates, will result in an ageing population. Therefore it’s so important to introduce solutions that ensure not only self-sufficiency but also proper care for the elderly.
- smart metering systems – the revolution in this area has already begun, initially by reading meters, statuses or alarms. In other words, it started with the introduction of automatic metering systems. Adding intelligence to metering systems is essential to interact with smart energy systems. Among other things, it enables:
- automation of processes on the recipient’s side, due to which he receives immediate billing for actually used resources, the possibility of changing the tariff or blocking the installation
- using various pricing models
- recording the consumption of the transmission medium, so that maintenance work is better managed, losses are minimized, and data is collected for further expansion
- detection, diagnosis, and repair of faults
- smart businesses and industry – Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) technologies are already used in many companies where supply chain control is essential. At the moment, electronic tags are only used to monitor the location of objects at a specific moment. However, in the future it will be possible to share different types of applications that will be responsible for developing a product at different stages of its life. This means that the technology can be used, among other things, to provide the user with information about the product purchased, for example, user manuals, expiry date or current status. The important thing is that identification of objects is also used in theft prevention systems or in the fight against counterfeiting.
Why is the Internet of Things so essential?
As you can see, the Internet of Things literally surrounds us and its solutions will grow in the coming years. The Internet of Things also heralds a revolution in the workplace. Due to the Internet of Things, companies can significantly maximize the efficiency of production and improve the flow of data, information and materials not only within factories but also within the entire organization. IoT can bring a number of benefits, to mention just a few:
- accessibility of analysis results – previously, organizations had to create their own analysis tools, they spent not only their own resources but also time on developing internal algorithms. Through IoT, companies gain solutions that are halfway embedded in the data analysis tools necessary to monitor specific market areas, types of outlets and resources.
- new business opportunities – with IoT, industry will gain a tool to collect feedback from customers and use the data to develop new, forward-looking innovations that will identify and enable new consumer value
- safer and more efficient work – the Internet of Things not only changes existing jobs, it also creates new ones. Furthermore, the IoT will set new tasks for people and significantly develop their skills, as their knowledge and competence in digital solutions will be more and more valuable.
- process and behaviour monitoring – the Internet of Things allows companies to track their behaviour so that they can conduct marketing activities almost in real time, IoT by tracking behaviour allows entrepreneurs to further improve the efficiency and productivity of their employees
- optimization of processes and resources – this is the most recommended advantage of implementing solutions offered by IoT. Big Data analysis provides new tools and solutions to improve operational efficiency and help increase revenue. Internet of Things adapts factory operations to suppliers’ and customers’ patterns, improving production load forecasting and planning.
- better decision-making process – using data from traditional silo management systems, the IoT makes it possible to interpret a particular situation even better, and thus to have insight into information with context, so that decisions can be made faster and better
Internet Things in times of crisis
To sum up, the Internet of Things can definitely facilitate our functioning, both in the private and professional sphere. Many activities can be automated and thus reduce the workload of the employee, but unfortunately sometimes even replace them entirely. As you can see from the recent crisis, by automating at least some of the activities, companies were able to:
- avoid some downtime
- automate part of the activities
- reduce the workload of an employee, so that his health and life was not at risk
- manage activities more effectively, even remotely