In recent years, the Internet of Things allowed discovering new possibilities in different areas of business. New developments are changing work cycles of production, healthcare, sales, customer service, and communication within organizations. If the company management does not keep pace with the abrupt changes in the world of technology, they risk falling behind.
Experts say that IoT systems already have a serious impact on the business, regardless of the field of activity. Fortune Business Insights predicts that by 2026, the installed base of IoT devices will exceed 1 billion pieces. This market is developing at a tremendous speed and venture investors are paying lots of attention to IoT projects. Such devices are able to change the approaches to doing business globally; they facilitate many processes and therefore affect the entire production cycles.
Making Sense of IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of interacting devices, including simpler equipment, such as sensors and detectors that allows collecting various data. Such devices can collect, store, and analyze important information without direct human intervention. Further, this data can be processed and analyzed to discover certain trends and make predictions. IoT created a base for such concepts as smart manufacturing, smart home, and smart city.
The competitiveness of a business grows thanks to the employment of innovations. Using modern computer devices, not only can you reduce the cost of technical equipment and repairs but also control the consumption of resources. In particular, the commercial sector is quite interested in IoT solutions. For example, in agriculture, the introduction of IoT devices can improve the productivity of the land by up to 500 times. Is there any agricultural company that would ignore the possibility of such an achievement?
How IoT is changing businesses?
The idea of wireless data transmission is nothing new. For the last sixty years, satellites have been in Earth orbit, providing us with useful information from space. For the industrial sector, M2M interfaces were a huge breakthrough but it is already over 20 years old.
The full implementation of IoT in the commercial sector has long been hindered by the lack of affordable storage data. However, in the last decades, this problem was overcome and powerful cloud platforms appeared that are able to store and process huge amounts of information.
Thus, every year, the Internet of Things becomes more and more accessible at several levels, to both ordinary consumers and large manufacturing companies. For instance, 90% of senior executives in telecom, media, and technology consider the growth of the IoT market to be crucial for their business.
Industries that use IoT the most actively
Manufacturing companies are the ones that seek IoT technologies the most. In this area, the application of innovation has yielded quick results in several directions:
- Optimization of complex production processes;
- Monitoring of technical equipment’s condition;
- Control over the industrial machines’ usage correctness;
- Management of workplace safety;
Large corporations always strive to increase productivity and reduce downtime. Sensors, built into various equipment and related software allow tracking usage details over longer time spans. It is very convenient in monitoring the reliability and quality of products. In particular, IoT’s innovative capabilities help to analyze the driving experience, which became a godsend for the transportation industry.
With the help of IoT, you can secure any institution. After all, the correct disposition of sensors devices over a compartment would allow predicting and eliminating most of the health and property damage risks. Companies have invested in corporate security for years. Now, most dangerous situations can be forecasted using technology. Whether it is a factory machine, a truck cabin or a doctor’s office – IoT sensors can improve workplace qualitatively.
Another notable sphere for IoT implementation in healthcare. Internet of Medical Things develops quickly. Medicine is particularly sensitive to technological breakthroughs. On the one hand, they greatly facilitate the work of personnel, and on the other, they bear an increased risk due to a direct relation to human health. Nevertheless, it is difficult to argue with the fact that innovative equipment significantly increases the working capacity of medical personnel. Indeed, today, experts have developed many diverse medical devices that measure pulse, heart rate, blood sugar, and allow responding quickly to tiniest changes in any indicators.
IoT Sensors Types
Modern equipment developers did a good job and today, with the help of sensors, almost any physical quantity can be measured. The market is saturated with a wide variety of sensors. There is single-component hardware, the most common example being a photosensitive diode, and there are more complex modules with integrated microcontrollers. The majority of measuring devices are installed in the workplace for safety. After all, any company is worried about not only a high level of productivity but also the protection of its employees. Using high-tech solutions, you can protect employees from unpleasant situations such as failure of a working tool or harmful chemical leak.
Sensors can determine the level of illumination, ambient temperature, noise, pressure, position in space, changes in height, distance, or speed, as well as the presence of gases in the air, etc.
Sensors capable of recognizing different objects, such as radars, image processing devices, sonars, photon or ultrasound measurers, are considered to be innovations of recent years. Developers in this field have achieved significant results and the choice of such devices indicates the high demand for the IoT industry.
Sensor type list
Besides digital components, there are also analog (mechanical) sensors. These are characterized by the highest possible accuracy and wide measuring ranges. In the digital IoT ecosystem, data from sensors of analog type is digitized before being submitted for further analysis. In turn, digital sensors are determined by two states – zero or one, on or off, the door is open or closed, etc.
How to Use Sensors in IoT
Sensors are the main elements of IoT that collect the necessary information in real-time. Measuring devices are installed at specific subjects, such as cars, machines, buildings, etc. Data from sensors is sent over the network to the processing device for collection and analysis. Thus, the handlers receive information about the context of the subject in dynamics, while modern analytic methods provide guidance for optimizing existing processes.
Turning Signals into Big Data
Sensors and other IoT equipment are connected to processing hardware – microcontrollers, servers – in order to assimilate the collected data and carry out the necessary analytics. There are devices that can be connected directly but most connect over gateways. Gateways allow connecting traffic from long-distance IoT networks to wide area networks with greater bandwidth.
IoT gateways are usually equipped with more potent power sources and more impressive computing resources than the mentioned end nodes. Gateway-based edge applications can even conduct some degree of preliminary analytics of data received from cloud and endpoint sensors. A typical node assumes long-term independent operation, usually thanks to powerful battery and/or solar panel.
The efficiency of traffic is increased by the presence of threshold triggers in gateways, during the transfer of collected information to central cloud servers. The diverse capabilities of wireless technologies provide high-quality interaction of gateways with cloud services and end nodes.
The market today presents a number of interesting radio interfaces with a variety of capabilities and technical specifications. So the consumer can easily match the delay time or bandwidth requirements of specific software.
IoT Business Security
The rapid development of the industrial Internet of Things in the manufacturing sector produced a lot of vulnerabilities. Frost & Sullivan’s security research of 2018 details a number of attack vectors and possible resulting losses.
Given the serious consequences of such misdeeds, experts have to take additional safety measures when creating IoT systems. According to surveys, 90% of developers believe that most modern IoT products are not equipped with sufficient security features.
Thus, at the end of 2018, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) approached the issue of safety from the regulatory side and issued the standard ISO/TR 22100-4:2018 standard, “Safety of machinery – Relationship with ISO 12100 – Part 4: Guidance to machinery manufacturers for consideration of related IT-security (cyber security) aspects”. This document describes all the due considerations to software development, including firmware and apps for IoT hardware.
Today, the ability to control house appliances over the net is nothing new. Modern manufacture automation systems can predict the equipment faults and request maintenance in advance. In security systems, devices such as a motion sensor or a carbon monoxide indicator are quite customary.
All these technologies are designed to protect human life and make it more comfortable. If we talk about business, the leadership of large companies has long accepted the IoT technologies. Such industries as medicine, retail, agriculture, logistics, already have a high IoT adoption rate.
Business is changing, you need to constantly keep abreast and monitor innovations. After all, with the right approach, good organization, and attention to the security details, IoT technologies provide notable results.