The Internet of Things (IoT) – essential IoT business :The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how we live, work, travel, and do business. It is even the basis of a new industrial transformation, known as Industry 4.0, and key in the digital transformation of organizations, cities, and society overall. Reason enough to understand the essence of the Internet of Things.
What is the Internet of Things, also known as IoT? You can find many definitions below. But let’s start simple. Look at it this way: people can connect to digital networks and the Internet with devices such as smartphones and computers, in order to share information, chat, buy, and so forth.
The Internet of Things essentially enables us to connect ‘things’ to the Internet (and to networks that use Internet technology). These things or items can exchange information between them and transmit data to other devices and systems. They can usually also received data. The information they share can be about objects to which they are attached and the environment they are in (through sensors that come in many shapes for different parameters). Smart devices and machines can also share information about their internal state.
The physical things can dispose of embedded technologies enabling them to do all this (hence often called ‘smart’) or can be rather ‘dumb’ as such but get equipped/tagged to be connected. The Internet of Things is a collective term for these connected things, how they communicate and transmit data, the technologies enabling them to do so, and the reasons/goals why this is done.
While the Internet of Things starts with the infrastructure of connected things, both its benefits and risks are mainly related to the network technologies, systems, and applications built upon this underlying layer. In theory, anything can be connected to the Internet using IoT technologies: physical objects and living creatures, including animals and people as ‘beings’. All things or connected components of more complex physical objects can be uniquely identified and addressed via the Internet of Things
Examples of things range from consumer-oriented devices such as wearables and smart home solutions (Consumer IoT) to connected equipment in the enterprise (Enterprise IoT) and industrial assets such as machines, robots, or even workers in smart factories and industrial facilities (Industrial IoT, the essential component of Industry 4.0).
The question is not what you can connect but why you would do so: the purpose, the outcomes. And here is well there are a lot of potential goals which determine what things you want to connect so you can capture data from them (and have sent from, between and/or to them). That’s why often you’ll see distinctions being made between Industrial IoT, Consumer IoT and far more terms which are mentioned in this overview.
So, IoT is an umbrella term with many use cases, technologies, standards and applications. Moreover, it’s part of a bigger reality with even more technologies. The things and data are the starting point and essence of what IoT enables and means. IoT devices and assets are equipped with electronics, such as sensors and actuators, connectivity/communication electronics and software to capture, filter and exchange data about themselves, their state and their environment.
The connection of IoT ‘things’ and usage of IoT data enables various improvements and innovations in the lives of consumers, in business, healthcare, mobility, cities and society. The potential goals of IoT are often segmented into IoT use cases: reasons for which IoT is deployed. Examples: health monitoring, asset tracking, environmental monitoring, predictive maintenance and home automation.
There are hundreds of IoT use cases, depending on the industry and/or type of application. Some IoT use cases exist across industries, others are more vertical. An example: asset tracking is a universal use case. It could be a consumer application to know where your pet or skateboard is. But it could also mean tracking containers on a huge cargo ship. Same basic principle, a world of difference regarding technologies and context.