IoT is a network of electronic devices that are interconnected in order to exchange information. The main purpose of IoT is to access and operate the gadgets from a distance with little or no human assistance. IoT-equipped gadgets are connected to each other via the internet and are designed to exchange data with each other to perform remote operations. These interconnected devices or electronic gadgets are often referred to as ‘things’. Most of the electronic devices consist of embedded sensors. These sensors are used to emit data and tell about the status of the device. IoT establishes a common site for all the devices to dump their data and provides a common language for them to communicate with each other. This dumped data is then analyzed, and valuable information is extracted from it as per the need and convenience. The result is shared by all the connected devices. The devices may be connected to each other either by the wired method with the help of ethernet or wirelessly through Bluetooth. The term IoT was first coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999.
Examples of IoT in Real Life
1. Home Automation
Home automation is one of the best examples of IoT. Smart homes or IoT-based home automation systems are becoming popular day by day. In a smart home, consumer electronic gadgets such as lights, fans, air-conditioners, etc. can be connected to each other via the internet. This interconnection enables the user to operate these devices from a distance. A smart home is capable of lighting control, energy management, expansion, and remote access. Currently, this application of IoT is not utilized at a large scale because the installation cost is too high, which makes it difficult for a majority of people to afford it. However, home automation holds quite a promising future.
2. Wearable Health Monitors
Wearable health monitors are both captivating and useful. They include smart clothes, smart wristwear, and medical wearables that provide us with high-quality health services. They are designed to track activities such as pulse rate, step count, heart rate, etc. This data is recorded and can be sent to the doctors for detailed fitness analysis. These IoT based smart wearable devices are influencing our lifestyles a lot. Apart from performing these basic operations, they can also raise an alarm and send an alert in case of a medical emergency such as an asthma attack, seizures, etc.
3. Disaster Management
IoT helps in the prediction and management of natural disasters. For instance, take the example of forest fires. To avoid the chaos and destruction caused by a forest fire, various sensors can be installed around the boundaries of the forests. These sensors continuously monitor the temperature and carbon content in the region. A detailed report is regularly sent to a common monitoring hub. In case of a forest fire, an alert is sent to the control room, police station, and fire brigade. Therefore, IoT helps in staying prepared and respond swiftly in case of emergency.
4. Biometric Security Systems
A lot of security agencies make use of biometric systems to mark daily attendance, allow access to the authorized personnel only, and other related services. Advanced security, data communication, and minimized human intervention are some of the features of IoT being utilized in this sector. Biometric technology makes use of fingerprint, voice, eye, and face recognition. The reliability of IoT based security systems is higher than the manual or automated approach. The devices used in biometric security systems are interlinked to each other and possess the ability to dump the data after every usage to the host computer. This scanned data is stored for future use, and the useful information is retrieved as per requirement.
5. Smart Cars
IoT can be used to connect cars with each other in order to exchange information like location, speed, and dynamics. An estimate shows that by 2020, there will be 24 billion connected cars in the world. We use IoT in our daily life without even realizing its presence. For example, while finding the shortest route, while driving semi-automatic smart cars, etc. IoT is also used in vehicle repair and maintenance. It does not only remind the customer about the regular servicing date but also assists the consumer in repair and maintenance by providing proper guidance. On the basis of features provided, the communication technique of connected vehicle technology is classified into two broad categories:
1. Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I)
It allows the smart car to run a diagnostic check and provide a detailed analysis report to the user. It is also used to find out the shortest route and to locate the empty parking spot.
2. Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V)
V2V communication of smart cars makes use of high-speed data transfer and high-bandwidth. It lets the car to perform hefty tasks such as avoiding collisions, clipping unnecessary traffic, etc.
6. Process Automation
In the manufacturing industry, performing reoccurring tasks, such as label wrapping, packaging, etc., manually is difficult and is prone to human errors; therefore, automation comes into play. For instance, take the example of a cold drink manufacturing industry. Here, manufacturing machines and conveyor belts are required to be interconnected in order to share information, status, and data. This interconnection is IoT dependent. The status of the manufactured product and the machine health report is sent to the manufacturer at regular intervals in order to identify the faults in advance. An IoT equipped industry is advantageous as it elevates the production speed and maintains the uniform quality of the product throughout the production. It also helps to make the workplace more efficient and safe by reducing human error.
Due to climate change and water crisis, farmers go through a lot of troubles such as crop flattening, soil erosion, drought, etc. These problems can be easily suppressed by using IoT based farming system. For example, the IoT based irrigation system makes use of a number of sensors to monitor the moisture content of the soil. If the moisture level drops below a certain range, it automatically turns on the irrigation pump. Other than this, IoT also helps farmers to examine soil health. Before planning to farm a new batch of crops, a farmer needs to recover the soil nutrients. The IoT enriched software allows the user or the farmer to select the best nutrient restoring crops. It also helps in sensing the requirement of fertilizer and numerous other farming needs.
8. Shopping Malls
IoT finds its major application in shopping malls. In most of the malls, a barcode scanner is used to scan the barcode present on every product. After scanning, it extracts the necessary information and sends the data to the host computer. The computer is further connected to a billing machine that hands over the bill to the customer after proper processing. All these devices are connected together with the help of the Internet of Things.