It’s 2017 and there’s no doubt – the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart technology is here to stay, and it’s only going to get bigger.
Many commentators note the Gartner estimate that 20.8 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2020. That’s everything from smart light bulbs to smart irrigation systems – in less than 3 years.
The predicted growth of the IoT lies within the consumer market. Gartner predicts 63% of the overall number of devices in use will be among consumers. But is that all the IoT will be good for? Is there more to the IoT than smart kettles and home security systems?
Let’s have a look at how big the Internet of Things can get.
Around the Home
Smart electricity meters installed by the hydro company are often a home’s first entry into the smart technology market. But in late 2016, home assistants brought smart technology into the mainstream. According to reports, Amazon sold 11 million Echo devices between mid-2015 and December 1, 2016. Given the holiday rush, that number will be a lot higher by now.
It’s a short jump from an Amazon Echo to smart lighting, heating systems, and media streaming. Maybe you have a family member with severe allergies. Instead of opening a window in the summer, you could control the climate inside your home with the touch of a button. Or you can install a security system to watch over your home while you’re away.
Smart technology gives you peace of mind.
Instead of being overwhelmed by gadgets, smart technology puts you in control. You can manage all of your devices from a single dashboard on your mobile device using an app like the the SURE Universal Remote app.
Science and Technology
The field of medical technology already shows promise for IoT applications. Proteus Digital Health creates sensors that patients ingest, measuring whether medication was taken. Wearable sensors transmit data to physicians, giving new insights into health patterns and symptoms.
This gives physicians access to more objective data, allowing them to test the effectiveness of different medication.
It also allows patients to have more of a stake in their own healthcare. They can monitor their data on their mobile device. Given over 50% of medicines aren’t taken as directed, these devices can have a huge impact on public health.
Even offices will enjoy IoT technology. View Dynamic Glass eliminates the need for blinds in office spaces. It reacts to light, adjusting throughout the day to reduce glare inside. Buildings using this glass can expect to see a reduction in energy consumption of up to 20%. Workers can enjoy more pleasant environments, with access to natural daylight.
The concept of the “smart city” sounds like something from Blade Runner. But it’s not too far from reality. Users won’t be able to control the world around them using their mobile device. Instead, sensors will relay huge amounts of data to change the way people interact with their environment.
Cities won’t need to choose between leaving street lights on and turning them off to save money. Smart lighting can detect when it’s needed. Not only will it help improve safety on city streets at night, but it’ll also save energy – and city budgets.
If you’ve ever wasted time and fuel driving around looking for a parking space, smart cities have you covered. Sensors can direct drivers to parking lots with available spaces. Other sensors can change stoplights according to traffic flow, not fixed timing. Sensors will relay information about weather conditions or traffic problems directly to the car.
The construction industry will catch on, too. Smart cement contains sensors that alert engineers to stresses or cracks in built structures. Prevention is always better than a cure, and avoiding building collapses will save lives, as well as money.
The Only Limit on the IoT is the Available Systems
All of these potential successes depend on a range of factors. Manufacturers need to agree on common protocols to make sure devices are compatible. Systems will need to improve to handle the higher amount of data created by the devices.
But technology always rises to the challenge. It’s not that long ago a cellphone was the size of a walkie-talkie. Given the possibilities for making the world a better place, the IoT can only get bigger.
Over to you – what do you think about the IoT, both now and for the future?