What is IoT?
What's that on your wrist? Did you remember to shut the garage door? Is the check engine light on again? Your fitness tracker, smart garage door, and new car are all part of an inter-network of connected physical devices called the “Internet of Things (IoT).” Let's look big picture here. What if we could take the data these devices collect, store it in the cloud, analyze it, benefit from the useful insights, and predict or even prevent things such as equipment failure or a heart attack. Well, that is already happening today.
Who uses IoT?
Microsoft has reported that 79% of today's manufacturing leaders are using IoT in their operations, with 82% of them reporting increases in operational efficiency and improved product quality as a result. MarketResearch.com reports the health care IoT market segment is poised to hit $117 billion by 2020. Whether for a manufacturing shop floor or a hospital critical care unit, turning information into insights can lead to improvements in virtually any process or piece of equipment. But how do you quickly and efficiently gather that data and create useful insights without disruption?
What are the benefits?
The City of Chicago has officially launched the “Array of Things (AoT),” which includes plans to install over 500 nodes on downtown buildings, streetlights, and light poles. The information will be uploaded to an open-source database that will allow scientists, engineers, and researchers to develop data analysis tools and applications. The City was awarded a $3.1 million grant to support the development of AoT. From wind speed and walking patterns, to air quality and light intensity, Chicago will use AoT to become a truly smart city by proactively addressing challenges such as urban flooding and traffic safety.
What are the technologies, and how much do they cost?
Near-field communication (NFC) tags, Raspberry Pi, SQL, Access databases, HTML, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth are all ways we can integrate with machines or access their data. The data can then be used across a number of platforms that have the power to instantly crunch numbers while correlating machine data with financial and other data. Pricing models are typically based on a licensing structure, with upfront costs for design, development, integration, implementation, and data source connections. Many companies are offering “managed service” models with a fixed monthly fee approach. Make sure you select a solution and a pricing structure that align best with your needs, budget, and expected outcomes.
We need to embrace technology, prepare for tomorrow, and educate ourselves on IoT. Our children will be living in a world where IoT will impact their lives daily, and we are just now scratching the surface. IoT will impact decision making and bring forth opportunity and new challenges in our world. Let's work to understand IoT, the data it illuminates, and how it can affect and improve our daily lives.