There has been a lot of hype about the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is arguably one of the most talked about technology innovations in the last 10 years. It has overshadowed BYOD and made 3D printing almost passé. One of the reasons for this is because the IoT has the potential to be truly ubiquitous and enter our lives on every single level, from our homes, to transport and our work. The IoT isn’t just a buzz phrase–it is about giving us working solutions to everyday problems.
A recent report, entitled, “The Internet of Things: Evolution or Revolution?” by global insurer AIG, has highlighted the pervasive nature of the IoT, calling it the “Internet of Everything”. The paper has encapsulated the very essence of what is making the IoT such an important and disruptive technology. It presents a number of industry sectors, pointing out where they will impact us all, both now and in the near future.
The IoT at Home
The IoT is already making major in-roads into our home lives. Many of us have already invested in a smart TV, and smart appliances like fridges and washing machines are becoming more popular. It seems that our homes and devices are becoming connected. For example, the AIG report talks about how our homes will become much more energy efficient because of the ability of devices like thermostats to gather important data, like outside temperature, and adjust accordingly. The report also talks about the idea of a ‘smart closet’ which can work out the best outfit for the day based on the weather and your calendar schedule. The IoT is set to revolutionize our normal living patterns and the way we conduct our lives.
The IoT at Work
The IoT will follow us from our homes to our place of work. Safety at work will become more effective through data-driven wearables. According to the AIG report, 2.3 million people die every year in work-related accidents and diseases. Work wear with embedded sensors will be able to detect work-related issues, such as toxins in the air, or even if you’re lifting something incorrectly. Data generated by work-related IoT devices could then be analyzed and used to model work situations to improve overall safety and working conditions.
IoT in Healthcare
The Internet of Things can also help improve our overall health in a number of ways. The data generated by IoT devices can be used throughout the healthcare lifecycle, with AIG stating in their report that “there is really no realm of healthcare that does not or will not employ IoT technology”.
Already IoT wearables are being used to communicate health data to physicians directly from the patient, in real-time. One of the most important and potentially life-saving aspects of the IoT in healthcare is that it can allow early detection of symptoms before they become apparent to the patient, saving time to diagnose.
All of this data generated by the IoT for healthcare can also be utilized for better management of clinical stocks in hospitals and clinics, making the system more efficient and cost-effective.
The IoT: a Major Prospect
The IoT is so pervasive because the very nature of it is built upon the premise of communicating data. We are used to the idea of big data, but the IoT takes this to a whole new realm. Big data is becoming massive data; according to AIG`s report, an estimated 40-50 billion devices are coming online in the next four years. All of these devices will generate large amounts of data. And big data equates to big business too. The global value to business of the Internet of Things is growing exponentially with estimates of around $14.4 trillion by 2020.
The IoT: Welcome to a New World
The IoT is already upon us. It is infiltrating all areas of our lives. Soon we will open our eyes to a perfectly heated room based on the outside temperature. We will put on a set of clothes already picked out for us from our smart closet, clothes that have been washed at the most heat-efficient temperature. We will then eat our breakfast, knowing that we won’t have run out of milk, as our smart fridge will have already alerted us to the amount left. We will get in our cars, which have IoT sensors to protect us from accidents and arrive at work to find our energy usage has been optimized by IoT technology, helping to reduce our overheads. As we sit at our desks, our health wearables will have sent over data to our physicians, who will send out an alert to contact them to make an appointment as they noticed a slight problem with our heartbeats. The IoT and the data generated by the connected devices is about to make our lives smarter.
A final word taken from the AIG report sums up the changes that the Internet of Things will bring:
“…to be sure, in five years there is no industry that IoT won’t impact directly. The pace of adoption, matched by consumer expectations and demands, will quickly turn any non-IoT industry, to say nothing of an individual company, into a museum relic.“
This article is the product of a partnership between Tech Patio and member companies of American International Group, Inc. Although this post is sponsored, the information and opinions expressed in the article constitute only Tech Patio’s own beliefs. I partnered with the brand to write this article but every word is mine.