A light nudge on my hand reminds me that I have been sitting idle for too long and I should walk. She has been constantly and silently tracking me, day and night. Should I be concerned? Maybe no… maybe yes!
Just as the alarm goes off in the morning, she fires up the coffee machine and by the time I am freshened up, my cup of hot coffee is ready. I smile, what would I do without her! I can’t find my car keys and will almost miss my meeting, but then she comes to the rescue and finds them. On every turn of the road, she guides me, helping me avoid the traffic jams. Back home, she knows when I go to sleep and dims the lights, putting on some light music just as I fall asleep. All she expects in return is some spark, 1 Amp to be precise.
My devices have become an integral part of my day to day life. Even without realizing it, we have a lot of devices connected to us, via us or from us to the world, to everyone via the oldest complex network in the world – The Internet. Devices, sensors or even machinery connected to Internet, talking with each other via data, consists the core of IOT.
Wiki says: The vision of the Internet of things has evolved due to a convergence of multiple technologies, including ubiquitous wireless communication, real-time analytics, machine learning, commodity sensors, and embedded systems. This means that the traditional fields of embedded systems, wireless sensor networks, control systems, automation (including home and building automation), and others all contribute to enabling the Internet of things.
Or in layman terms, the need of mankind to interconnect the world and diminish the walls of technologically varied domains was the seed of IOT.
IOT is seen and misunderstood by many as something very much complex and complicated on the way it works. Look around you. Right from the fitness band on your hand, the fire alarm on your ceiling, the attendance swiping machine at the door you pass 20 times a day to the weather satellite hovering at 36K km constantly burning its processor to calculate the next storm, it’s all IOT. Apple HOME is a very good example of how Apple wants to bring IOT to your home, all of it, using your phone to control everything from the lights to the temperature of the refrigerator and the sprinklers on your lawn.
All you need for IOT is a sensor, a Smart Phone and Internet. Imagine you are a huge Manchester United fan, someone who never misses a game and a gadget freak. You walk into a Mall to shop not knowing yet what to buy, dozens of shops covering layers of floors and you stand there confused in the lobby deciding where to start from. Ideally you would start in your usual pattern covering all the shops eliminating your choice based on your choice of brand, your budget, the discount and the popularity of the store. For a Mall with 400 shops, you can imagine the stress. But what if you had it all done, all sorted out for you. Magic? No, Logic.
You walk into the mall, your smartphone gets connected to the Wifi and a Bluetooth beacon detects your location inside the Mall. The Mall identifies you to be a new user, tries to build your profile from what it finds about you on the Internet (remember all those Instagram pics you uploaded wearing your favorite colors and styles?). By the time you reach the lobby, it knows who you are, so it sends you a message – “Hey! Visit our ManU factory outlet on the 4th floor and get 15% discounts just for you”. Excited? Who wouldn’t be?
All it did was search you, your likes, favorites, fan clubs on social media and created a virtual avatar of you. By now, it knows how long you will stay and what suggestions to give you. And all this through sensors and the Internet. By the time you reach the store, another sensor detects your location and Voila! You have a new message – ”Welcome to the ManU store. Here is the coupon code we promised you!”
IOT is evolving into IOE, the Internet of Everything. It is very quickly extending beyond the tried and tested tasks of automation and monitoring. Rather, the value shift is moving toward predictive and remote access. In turn, this approach is enabling people to make real-time changes anytime, anywhere, and on any device and impact the business positively.
These 3 things comprise the basis of building any IOT/IOE.
- Development: As companies continue to collect more data from a variety of sources, the IT function is left with the hefty task of integrating devices, data sources, and application across the entire value chain. The real art and science behind this task lies in how hyperconnectivity allows this information to be distributed across the business network to avoid data silos.
- Business models: Consumers expect products to add value to their lives – whether in the form of convenience, reliability, privacy, or efficiency. This increasingly popular demand across all B2B and B2C markets are forcing companies to shift away from the traditional approach of producing, selling, and delivering a tangible product.
- Consumer behavior: Security, privacy, convenience, and stickiness of service. These are the highly sought-after attributes of the customer experience. People are becoming more aware that data is captured, access, and analyzed throughout the buyer journey. With the help of advanced analytics, decision makers can dig deep into this data and gain insight never before thought possible. On the flip side, the traditional market will need to rethink how it treats consumers along the way – choosing concessions to drive additional value.
If you have customers, IOT applies to your business. Although there’s a temptation to do nothing until everything settles down, consumer behavior is significantly more advanced based on their adoption of technology and their perceived value.
And who knows in the end we live in the world controlled by SKYNET and there will be no John Connor to save us. To conclude this article, I would suggest a very good title that I recently watched – “I.T”. It would surely make you think about the wonders IOT can do.
- Ankit Koshti – Digital Innovations | @ankit_rck