From smart homes to Industry 4.0, consumer and industrial devices are having chips inserted into them to collect and communicate data.
Smart watches, connected thermometers and smart refrigerators are just some of the everyday items now connected to the web as part of the Internet of Things (IoT). But the IoT and the increasing digitization of our world has far wider implications than simply how we monitor the amount of milk in our fridges or the number of steps we’ve taken.
Outside the home, connected machines and objects in factories offer the potential for a new industrial revolution (Industry 4.0); smart transport and waste management are opening the way to creating ‘smart cities’; and new wearables and connected healthcare devices have the potential to change treatment options for patients and deliver vast amounts of data to researchers.
connected devices are forecast by 2022, of which around 18bn will be related to the IoT.
U.S. dollar is the forecasted value of the global IoT healthcare market by 2021.
of US manufacturers are using data from smart sensors within their set-ups already.
IoT and Smart Homes
From lighting that adjusts to our mood, based on vital signs read through a smart watch, to connected cars equipped with sensors that ‘talk’ to each other if they get too close and automatically course-correct to avoid a collision – there’s hardly any aspect of daily life which will remain unaffected by the IoT.
Already devices like smart thermostats, such as Google’s Nest® thermostat, are becoming the norm. Then there is smart lighting, such as Philips’ Hue®,which is used therapeutically at home as well as in hospital environments. Connected appliances like smart refrigerators, smart security, wearable devices such as Fitbit – these are all now becoming an established part of the connected home ecosphere.
On a bigger scale, there have been incredible technological advancements to help increase efficiencies around a variety of areas related to urban living, including:
- Transport – In Singapore, connected technology is being used to alert motorists of traffic accidents on major roads. They have also introduced GPS-enabled taxis, which monitor and report traffic conditions around the city to help alleviate congestion.
- Energy – In some cities, such as Copenhagen, solutions are being developed to coordinate electricity and heating systems, as well as to automatically pool and share energy sources as needed.
- Water – Smart metering in Melbourne, Australia, which uses real-time data to quantify the amount of water being used, is allowing residents to adjust their consumption behaviour.
- Waste management – Authorities in Helsinki are using forecasts and alerts from connected devices to indicate when waste or recycling containers reach capacity, with the aim of avoiding littering and clean-up costs.
There is already significant transformation taking place in the way we produce products thanks to the digitization of manufacturing. The IoT and artificial intelligence (AI) are both driving factors in this transition, which is so impactful that it’s being called a fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0.
Within industrial applications, sensors on product lines can increase efficiency and cut down on waste. One study estimates 35% of US manufacturers are using data from smart sensors within their set-ups already.
Indeed, Industry 4.0 offers opportunities across the whole manufacturing process, from identifying inefficiencies and problems in the production process to optimizing the supply chain.
IoT technology has the potential to revolutionize healthcare treatment through simplifying access to real-time patient data and patient remote- and self-monitoring. It also works as a fitness and wellness tracker for athletes and a dosing reminder for patients. The successful implementation of IoT in remote monitoring and asthma patients, coupled with high penetration of smart watches and other wellness devices, has created a high demand for the IoT healthcare market.
Indeed, the global IoT healthcare market is expected to reach $136.8 billion by 2021. The decreasing cost of sensor technology, the launch of technologically advanced smart devices and analytics software, rising incidence rates of chronic diseases, surging demand for cost-effective treatment and disease management, better accessibility of high-speed internet and the implementation of favorable government regulatory policies, are key factors that are expected to fuel this growth.
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