Recent years, the Internet of Things (“IoT”, for its acronym in English, Internet of Things) has become a frequent concept in technology forums, and aims to become a trend of global reach that would revolutionize. On the one hand, the lives of millions of people, and on the other, that would generate great improvements in the management of companies and their services.
Beyond an expression that is gaining ground in the world of new technologies, Internet of Things is already among us, and are billions of dollars that annually invests the industry to promote technologies that generate data based on behavior of the objects. Therefore, here are three answers to understand the concept of Internet of Things.
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What is and how is Internet of Things defined?
Internet of Things is defined as a network that uses various universal sensor systems to connect the physical world (objects or things) to the Internet. This terminology, coined as “IoT” in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, a British pioneer of technology, proposes that objects or things can connect to each other through chips and circuits, and generate relevant information that is analyzed by mathematical algorithms to generate greater efficiency and performance both in companies and in people’s daily lives.
In practice, the IoT results in companies being able to collect information and analyze it in real time. This translates, for example, to control the stock of a product at a certain point of sale, ensure the good performance of the cold chain in a company in the food sector, regulate the lighting required in plants according to the number of workers present, and included, calculate the necessary maintenance to avoid the failure of an industrial piece.
What practical applications does the IoT have?
Currently, most of the networks of sensor systems connected to the IoT come from the industry, and it is used by small and large companies to increase their productivity and efficiency. Among the many pragmatic applications of the IoT that are now a reality, those that we list below stand out.
Asset tracking and inventory. This technology is frequently used in the mining and transportation sectors, and allows to have detailed information in real time about the location and condition of various industrial equipment. It also enables access to immediate information about stock needs, or it offers the possibility of making automatic orders when certain merchandise could be sold out.
Transport. The IoT allows companies to track their vehicles, their cargo and maintenance, making sure that they take the right routes and that the cargo is kept in optimal conditions.
Electric grid (smart grid). It uses communication networks to provide better monitoring and control of the electricity network, so that it improves performance and consumption criteria, as well as generating significant energy savings.
Agriculture / livestock. Through a system of sensors designed to detect soil moisture, ambient temperature and weather forecast, agricultural companies can optimize irrigation, prevent pests and improve their production. For its part, in the livestock sector, the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) facilitates the counting and location of livestock.
Control of urban infrastructure. It involves the control of traffic lights, bridges, train tracks or urban cameras. In Seoul, capital of South Korea, IoT-related technologies have revolutionized the city. The local subway has a system that allows to vary in real time the speed and quantity of trains according to demand, in the same way that public transport buses are electric and recharge automatically when traveling the highways. Also in South Korea, the city of Songdo has sensors to control the temperature, the use of energy and traffic, low consumption LED lights, solar panels and wind turbines.
What figures does Internet of Things offer?
Numerous studies have attempted to provide an insight into the penetration of technologies associated with the IoT. For example, a report by the consulting firm Gartner indicates that 40% of European companies would be investing, before the end of 2018, in initiatives related to the Internet of Things. In addition, 21% of organizations on a global scale have set themselves the task of implementing IoT internally, with the aim of saving costs and boosting their productivity. The same study reveals that 20,400 million smart devices would be connected to the IoT by 2020.
Similar are the results obtained by the global strategic consultancy McKinsey, which foresees an annual economic impact of IoT for 2025 of 11,000 million dollars. On the other hand, a report from the International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that 50% of all new operating assets will be self-sustaining by 2020. Finally, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) revealed that in 2018 we will arrive to the 16,000 million devices connected to the Internet.