INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT)
The Internet of Things or IoT, is a System of Interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals, or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring Human to Human or Human to Computer Interaction.
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A thing in the internet of things can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address and is able to transfer data over a network.
Learn more: The Caterpillar Train, a new concept for an urban mass transit system, was developed by an Indian Railways
Increasingly, organizations in a variety of industries are using IoT to operate more efficiently, better understand customers to deliver enhanced customer service, improve decision-making, and increase the value of the business.
EXAMPLE OF AN IOT SYSTEM
- Traffic Management System
- Factory Digitalization
- Product flow Monitoring
- Inventory Management
- Safety and Security
- Quality Control
- Packaging optimization
- Logistics and Supply Chain
Here are some advantages of IoT:
IoT encourages communication between devices, also famously known as Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication. Because of this, the physical devices are able to stay connected, and hence the total transparency is available with lesser inefficiencies and greater quality.
Automation and Control
Due to physical objects getting connected and controlled digitally and centrally with wireless infrastructure, there is a large amount of automation and control in the workings. Without human intervention, the machines are able to communicate with each other leading to faster and timely output.
It is obvious that having more information helps in making better decisions. Whether it is mundane decisions as needing to know what to buy at the grocery store or if your company has enough widgets and supplies, knowledge is power and more knowledge is better.
The second most obvious advantage of IoT is monitoring. Knowing the exact quantity of supplies or the air quality in your home, can further provide more information that could not have previously been collected easily. For instance, knowing that you are low on milk or printer ink could save you another trip to the store in the near future. Furthermore, monitoring the expiration of products can and will improve safety.
As hinted in the previous examples, the amount of time saved because of IoT could be quite large. And in today’s modern life, we all could use more time.
The biggest advantage of IoT is saving money. If the price of the tagging and monitoring equipment is less than the amount of money saved, then the Internet of Things will be very widely adopted. IoT fundamentally proves to be very helpful to people in their daily routines by making the appliances communicate to each other in an effective manner thereby saving and conserving energy and cost. Allowing the data to be communicated and shared between devices and then translating it into our required way, it makes our systems efficient.
Automation of daily tasks leads to better monitoring of devices
The IoT allows you to automate and control the tasks that are done on a daily basis, avoiding human intervention. Machine-to-machine communication helps to maintain transparency in the processes. It also leads to uniformity in the tasks. It can also maintain the quality of service. We can also take necessary action in case of emergencies.
Efficient and Saves Time
The machine-to-machine interaction provides better efficiency, hence; accurate results can be obtained fast. This results in saving valuable time. Instead of repeating the same tasks every day, it enables people to do other creative jobs.
Optimum utilization of energy and resources can be achieved by adopting this technology and keeping the devices under surveillance. We can be alerted in case of possible bottlenecks, breakdowns, and damages to the system. Hence, we can save money by using this technology.
Better Quality of Life
All the applications of this technology culminate in increased comfort, convenience, and better management, thereby improving the quality of life.
Here are some disadvantages of IoT:
Currently, there is no international standard of compatibility for the tagging and monitoring equipment. I believe this disadvantage is the most easy to overcome. The manufacturing companies of this equipment just need to agree to a standard, such as Bluetooth, USB, etc. This is nothing new or innovative needed.
As with all complex systems, there are more opportunities of failure. With the Internet of Things, failures could sky rocket. For instance, let’s say that both you and your spouse each get a message saying that your milk has expired, and both of you stop at a store on your way home, and you both purchase milk. As a result, you and your spouse have purchased twice the amount that you both need. Or maybe a bug in the software ends up automatically ordering a new ink cartridge for your printer each and every hour for a few days, or at least after each power failure when you only need a single replacement.
With all of this IoT data being transmitted, the risk of losing privacy increases. For instance, how well encrypted will the data be kept and transmitted with? Do you want your neighbors or employers to know what medications you are taking or your financial situation?
Imagine if a notorious hacker changes your prescription. Or if a store automatically ships you an equivalent product that you are allergic to, or a flavor that you do not like, or a product that is already expired. As a result, safety is ultimately in the hands of the consumer to verify any and all automation.
As all the household appliances, industrial machinery, public sector services like water supply and transport, and many other devices all are connected to the Internet, a lot of information is available on it. This information is prone to attack by hackers. It would be very disastrous if private and confidential information is accessed by unauthorized intruders.
As devices from different manufacturers will be interconnected, the issue of compatibility in tagging and monitoring crops up. Although this disadvantage may drop off if all the manufacturers agree to a common standard, even after that, technical issues will persist. Today, we have Bluetooth-enabled devices and compatibility problems exist even in this technology! Compatibility issues may result in people buying appliances from a certain manufacturer, leading to its monopoly in the market.
IoT is a diverse and complex network. Any failure or bugs in the software or hardware will have serious consequences. Even power failure can cause a lot of inconveniences.
Lesser Employment of Menial Staff
The unskilled workers and helpers may end up losing their jobs in the effect of automation of daily activities. This can lead to unemployment issues in society. This is a problem with the advent of any technology and can be overcome with education. With daily activities getting automated, naturally, there will be fewer requirements of human resources, primarily, workers and less educated staff. This may create an Unemployment issue in society.
Technology Takes Control of Life
Our lives will be increasingly controlled by technology and will be dependent on it. The younger generation is already addicted to technology for every little thing. We have to decide how much of our daily lives are we willing to mechanize and be controlled by technology.
Scenarios: Imagine a scenario when:
Your fridge can identify that you have run out of milk; it contacts the supermarket and orders the quantity you usually need, and also informs you by sending a message on your phone!
Your alarm rings at 6:30 am; you wake up and switch it off. As soon as you switch off your alarm, it conveys to the geyser to heat water at a temperature you prefer and also the coffee maker starts brewing coffee!
You are on your way while returning home from work and you use an app on your mobile to switch on the lights, the AC in your home, and tune the TV to your favorite channel so that your house is ready to welcome you before you even open your door!
What would really make a refrigerator “smart” would be if it could read tags and alert owners when their food is about to reach their expiry date, for example. Or perhaps it could refer to an online calendar and make orders on a regular basis for certain items to be delivered.
This technology has a lot of applications in various fields. Following are some possible areas where we can leverage the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to solve day-to-day problems. However, it can be put to many more uses.
The IoT can be used to monitor the vibrations of buildings, bridges, and monuments in case the building material is threatened or overloaded. Noise pollution can be controlled around hospitals and schools. It can be used to manage traffic especially during traffic jams, peak hours, accidents, and rains. It can be used to manage street lights―automatically switch them off in the presence of sunlight and switch them on at the onset of darkness. Another good application is alerting the officials to empty the trash bins when filled with waste.
The IoT can be used to remotely control and program the appliances in your home. It can be useful in detecting and avoiding thefts.
By using this technology, we can automate manufacturing processes remotely. It can also prove useful in optimizing the production processes. We can manage the inventory and the supply chain. We can also diagnose if the machines require repair and maintenance. We can monitor the emission of toxic gases to avoid damage to workers’ health and the environment.
We can use this technology to identify health problems. The patterns of heart rate, pulse, digestive system, and blood pressure can be monitored and diagnosed for anomalies. The information can be sent to the doctor for analysis. The hospital can also be contacted in times of emergencies. This system will be very useful to senior citizens and disabled people who live independently.
A very important application of IoT is detecting pollution and natural calamities. We can monitor the emissions from factories and vehicles to minimize air pollution. We can track the release of harmful chemicals and waste in rivers and the sea, thereby arresting water pollution. We can also keep tabs on the quality of water being supplied for drinking. We can send warnings of earthquakes and tsunamis by detecting tremors. We can keep the water level of rivers and dams under surveillance to be alert in case of floods. The detection of forest fire is also possible with this technology.
Although IoT has quite a few disadvantages, its advantages of saving the consumer time and money can’t be ignored. So the time isn’t far when the Internet Of Things will be commonly seen in both households and companies. Efforts will have to be made to find ways to combat their disadvantages.
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