The ability to make lives easier, more comfortable, and safer continues to be the key driver of the Internet of Things (IoT). These overriding value propositions are at the core of IoT’s steady advancement and are present in many connected things, affecting our lives on a daily basis. This connectivity permeates all aspects of technology, from something as common as making an online purchase to sophisticated use cases such as self-driving vehicles - IoT will have a widespread impact and rapid adoption within many industries.
Integral to these connected devices are microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors – a highly sensitive measuring instruments that teaches modern electronic devices how to “sense” and adapt to the world around them. They collect and translate information gathered from touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste into data. These components are now present virtually everywhere – in smartphones, vehicles, and even in kitchen appliances such as blenders.
However, it is not about technology alone. Technology should be the enabling element with all the development attention focused on the IoT user. User centricity, be it for solutions in the workplace or at home ensures that our efforts become scalable, successful and useful solutions that have a positive impact on our lives.
IoT for the home user
Consumers can now reap the benefits of IoT from the comforts of their own homes. Today’s smart home products cater to a broad spectrum of applications and help users in many different aspects of their lives.
The prevalence of smart home systems has made it possible to control connected devices using a single application, allowing users to automatically control regular processes in their homes. These networked devices communicate with one another to automatically adjust to changing circumstances and users’ daily routine.
For instance, intelligent cooling control saves energy costs and creates a cosy climate, while the automated house surveillance works to protect your home around-the-clock, with a simple click of a button.
With advanced networking capabilities and infrastructure, home automation, better security, energy management and savings can be easily achieved.
IoT at the workplace
Data is rapidly changing the way work is done, even across the most traditional of industries. In addition to manual and technical skills, new competencies such as processing, evaluating and securing data, and the ability to improve productivity are becoming increasingly important as the technology kicks into higher gear. IoT enables the convergence of physical and informational flows within the industrial sector, allowing manufacturers to achieve greater outcomes with less effort by effectively harnessing information.
This can be exemplified by an equipment manufacturer, whom made the decision to equip their advanced handheld tools with network connection. Many of these tools features wireless connectivity, allowing the tool to control process efficiently and provide quality feedback to back-end systems. As a result, the equipment manufacturer could immediately identify the location of the tools within its plant at any given time, determine which tool should be used on which product, and quickly direct employees to the tool’s location to improve manufacturing efficiency.
Moreover, the tools are able to provide additional information such as tool calibration and battery status, which helps the company to control maintenance processes and improve quality control. With a wealth of new information available, the manufacturers are able to create leaner production processes, minimise workflow disruptions, and lowers inventory and overhead costs.
Analysts at Bosch estimate the global IoT market will account for USD 250 billion by as early as 2020. Given the vast potential of IoT, companies must learn to manage the large volumes of data, harness the technology to gain an undisputed competitive advantage and maximise returns for their businesses.
Moving forward in IoT
IoT holds great promise for the future and companies driving this change are more likely to succeed. However, continuous adaptation is needed to keep up with the ever changing digital landscape.
This is only the beginning as more powerful networks with the ability to rapidly process vast amounts of information are being introduced faster than ever before - inevitably shifting the technological landscape and the norm further. The new circle, connected at every stage, is one driven by a core objective – to make lives easier, more comfortable and safer.