“The Internet of Things is just a fancy term in the tech industry, right?” Well… yes. But IoT’s broad reach (people used 8.4 billion IoT devices in 2017) means the Internet of Things is already changing the way your industry operates, whether you’re aware of it or not.
IoT is a network of physical devices or sensors that collect data, send it to the cloud to be processed and receive back insights via a user interface. This helps workers in any sector become more productive and make quicker, more informed decisions.
Here are five industries that are being transformed by IoT:
Sensors monitoring everything from infrastructure wear to intersections gather the data that government officials need to optimize neighborhoods, towns – even entire cities. They use aggregated data to optimize traffic flow, improve emergency response efforts and monitor air quality and water systems (in Dubuque, Iowa, residents reduced water usage by 6.6 percent after gaining the ability to view their consumption). Planned future projects include self-driving shuttles that communicate with traffic signals and drones equipped to fight forest fires.
We all (hopefully) try to turn off the lights when we leave a room – but what if that concept could be applied to an entire building, or thousands of them? Officials in New York rely on sensors and analytics software to monitor usage and predict system failures. Eventually, they plan to connect to 20,000 public buildings by 2020 to regulate the temperature remotely based on factors like occupancy and times of low use. Other cities – such as Copenhagen – are dimming and brightening LED street lights to conserve energy while also protecting residents.
Smart sensors and tags are making shipping, inventory management and reordering more intuitive than ever. Business owners and employees can track packages in real time, instantly update inventory logs as products are sold and receive notifications when it’s time to restock an item. In addition to increasing efficiency, companies such as jewelry brand Alex and Ani are using IoT to attract passersby to physical locations, make recommendations and study the movements of shoppers to optimize store layouts.
When you think about the practical applications of IoT, agricultural production might be the last thing that comes to mind. But, smart technology is helping farmers control unpredictable factors such as light, temperature and moisture. By automating irrigation systems and analyzing data to determine things like optimal humidity and pH levels, farmers can expect healthier, more stable crop yields – and easily share that information with other producers.
As the elderly population booms – the U.S. Census Bureau projects the population of people age 65 and older to reach 98.2 million by 2020 – healthcare professionals need advanced techniques to monitor elderly and ill patients, even in their own homes. IoT sensors can tell when patients fall or forget to take medication. Caretakers can also monitor seniors via live video and audio streaming and analyze real-time vital signs.
The Internet of Things is just getting started – the International Data Corporation predicts that worldwide spending on IoT will reach $1 trillion in 2020. Interested in seeing how IoT can make your business more innovative, more efficient and more profitable? Contact us today to take your technology to the next level.