The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to digital devices, which are equipped with sensors, processors, processing power, applications, and other smart technology, and which link and interact with other electronic devices and systems via the Internet or various communications networks. The Internet of Things is particularly applicable to medical devices, since they can provide wireless connection to other electronic devices. This enables physicians to examine a patient’s body as it lies inside the examination chamber and virtually “see” the functions of the body at all times. The doctor can then make treatment decisions based on the details the patient provides, rather than having to refer back to previous reports or results from other tests. In essence, this concept is quite similar to what a PIC or personal information interface looks like. However, unlike PICs, IoT devices communicate directly with one another and can interact with human beings through speech or text.
For example, recently the Insurance Industry Institute released a report detailing the interconnectedness of “smart” devices. Smart meters, for example, can communicate with base stations and remotely monitor energy consumption. The automobile industry has also invested in the development and implementation of automotive iot systems, such as in-car telematics systems that provide real-time information about the speed and direction of drivers, the fuel consumption, engine load, engine failure and many more. Furthermore, smart traffic lights incorporate sensors to prevent traffic jams and stop signs, as well as on-demand services such as ride booking, payment services and GPS/RFID proximity cards.
This emerging technology can also be applied in the context of home automation. Indeed, there are already many examples. For example, there are Smart House Alarm Systems that can detect motion and switch on lights and appliances according to a pre-established schedule. Thermostat sensors can control the temperature, lighting, air conditioning, heating and security of your home. And with the implementation of internet-connected devices, smart cities can now monitor bus routes, railway stations and buildings, as well as the condition of the road.
While all these examples show the technology’s industry impact, only very recently has it started to impact the automotive industry. In fact, the introduction of iot car kits and related systems have already led to substantial savings, as well as to significant technological innovations. The automotive industry can now monitor and control iot sensors as they drive along roads and highways. They can also use this information to make the necessary adjustments in the performance of the vehicles. The result is that drivers no longer need to take their eyes off the road to look into their surroundings: they can get everything that they need right in front of them using iot technology.
Hospitals are also implementing iot technology to monitor patients. A number of hospitals use ultrasonic sensors to detect pulse rates and body temperature of patients. The technology enables the hospital to provide medical services faster and at lower costs. Hospitals can also monitor patient oxygenation and can respond more quickly to medical problems, such as those caused by congestive heart failure. The result is that patients live a healthier, longer life. The hospitals that use iot technology are able to reduce the number of direct patient contact hours, thus improving the quality of the service.
Transportation safety and security is another important example of how the iot sensor data can be used. State-of-the-art GPS devices installed in trucks, taxicabs and buses now enable drivers to avoid potentially unsafe routes and alert them to hazards on the road. By monitoring the traffic load and the speed limit, the truck drivers can adjust the route accordingly. Similarly, in order to avoid the risk of paying heavy fines for driving without a license, taxicabs and buses can monitor traffic conditions, alerting the drivers through i-tech interface devices when a certain limit has been reached. Similarly, trucking and delivery companies can use the same intelligent technology to monitor the load being carried and avoid unnecessary deliveries. Using i-tech interfaces, trucks and delivery companies can alert the drivers and the companies as to the exact amount of cargo that is present in each truck.
Internet-enabled devices offer similar advantages to hospitals and transportation companies. Through interactive web applications, smart phone gadgets, laptops, tablets and other internet things can monitor temperature, light and environment inside the buildings. The internet also offers numerous opportunities for businesses to use i-techs to monitor their employees. These intelligent technologies monitor employees from all over the world via remote internet and alert them when something is not as expected. By using this information, management can fine-tune business processes and make improvements where needed, without having to physically be in the offices.
I-tech technologies are here to stay and will only grow in relevance as we move further into the future. We see these technologies as the bridge between traditional computing and modern, cloud-based computing. The future may bring even more exciting technologies. What we have seen so far is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the incredible potential that i-techs can provide.