Smart things: from hip to privilege in IoT

IoT (Internet of Things) is a digital age trend at the peak of discussion. It has become especially relevant and brightened with new colors during the ongoing pandemic, showing its impact on both everyday issues and the specifics of work processes.

We will analyze what surrounds us now and look into the near future of this trend.

The Internet of things is evolving these days, both in large-scale, basic needs-level processes such as healthcare and equipment monitoring and in more personal areas: customer service, car autopiloting, and wearable devices. This is confirmation that in general, IoT technology is diverse, fragmented, and does not adhere to strict standards.

IoT has ceased to be just a trendy term for the coming year and has come to be perceived as a technology that can change processes in various industries.

Let’s try to focus on the specific features of this technology, the use of which can be easily observed.

Edge computing.

A variety of modern IoT devices have sufficient computing power. Instead of sending data from these devices to specialized centers for processing, you can outsource this directly to the peripherals themselves, saving time by reducing delays to a minimum. This allows you to analyze the data in a nearly real-time mode. There is also a reduction in the cost of traffic. 5G will further increase the number of such devices and the volume of data in edge computing.

Different types of connections.

5G is not a one-size-fits-all option for absolutely all devices. Factory equipment, a fitness bracelet, a smart car – for each device, you need to select the type of connection that best suits the conditions of use. Especially since other network technologies are developing in addition to 5G.

Changes in business processes.

Many companies during the pandemic have been able to leverage digital technology to adapt their processes to the new operating environment. IoT technologies were deployed to connect equipment and assets to provide full service to companies’ customers.

Consumer and employee location data will be a key enabler of convenience. Stores have increased their use of geolocation data for their technical processes and customer-centric services and advertising activities.

Customers can register remotely to maintain a safe distance and avoid waiting in line. As time goes on, there will be more opportunities to build brand loyalty based on location data. 

Other IT solutions could be developed as well to provide better consumer experience. However, it is difficult to determine the readiness of each physical store to offer its customers a full suite of IoT-based services.

Maintenance is becoming predictive.

The format of maintenance after the fact of equipment failure is gradually becoming a thing of the past. It is being replaced by scheduled maintenance programs, which are significantly less costly because they are designed to reduce losses from downtime to zero. But the most technologically advanced option is predictive maintenance without schedules and plans, but with obligatory use of sensors and systems controlling them. Equipment breakdowns can be prevented by processing remote monitoring. As a result, we can minimize the financial loss, caused by the breakdowns, and extend the lifetime of equipment.

Active implementation of the digital twin theory.

The theory, formulated 20 years ago, is about equating a virtual “twin” of any object or process to its real prototype in the field of operation. IoT-connected assets form their virtual twins using numerous sensors. It becomes possible to visualize and analyze physical objects. Machine learning algorithms can be connected to the analytical processing of the accumulated data, which, together with other elements of artificial intelligence, provide effective solutions at the output.

Forced progress.

In contrast to previous features of IoT technology, which were formed under conditions of natural development, there were those that turned out to be in the mode of urgent progress. On their path of forced development because of the pandemic situation that arose, they have integrated the best that the technology could provide.

First and foremost, this is everything that applies to healthcare. This field has been transformed so that its relatively young digital and remote areas become cutting-edge. Healthcare has received a lot from IoT: wearable devices for regular remote examinations and the virtualization of medical care processes. With remote monitoring and edge technologies, huge amounts of patient information from blood oxygen sensors, wireless heart rate, and blood pressure tracking devices are being processed. The result is a beneficial database for healthcare. These processes keep the health tech sector in constant growth.

The “smart home” has evolved into a “smart building” even without the impact of the pandemic. However, current smart transformation technologies are not focused on yesterday’s priorities of energy efficiency and productivity. This year, the main priorities of IoT technology adoption are employee safety and health care in the office space. For example, if a year ago the design of the conference room was based on the use of lighting and heating elements to reduce energy consumption, now the priority in the design is given to providing the necessary distance between employees and tracking their movements to minimize the spread of viral diseases.

And that’s just the beginning of IoT triumph.

As a summary, we can conclude that IoT technologies, initially created for personal comfort, in a concise time have developed into solid business advantage, utilized by the leading companies in the majority of industries. The design of the new IoT is a great deal, which helps to achieve a new level of comfort and keep the safety and well-being of the whole society.