The Internet, one of the most significant inventions of all time, helped us to connect with people using computers and Smartphones. The new generation of network IoT (internet of Things), connects things with the ability to sense, control, and communicate. Find out what are the applications of the Internet of Things.
1. Smart Home and Office
Smart home applications with the use of smart sensors are becoming popular now. Any smart device can be configured and connected to the internet and controlled using a simple mobile application.
Smart Door access control system
Smart locks and door access systems are one of the most popular and cost-effective solutions of the Internet of Things. Smart locks are easy to implement and control using a web interface or Smartphone application.
Integration with RDIF tags, smart door accessing systems can be securely implemented. Users can grant access to the doors using the mobile app and lock them again once the person leaves the premises.
For example, if a person wants to enter your house while you are not around, you can open the door for that person using the Smartphone application.
Smart lighting for home and office
Smart lighting is one of the attractive smart home applications using the Internet of Things. In addition to energy saving, it also enables us to manage effectively. Light ambiance can be changed using smart hub devices or smartphone apps.
Smart lighting can be configured to respond to voice commands and motion detectors/proximity sensors. These sensors will activate the light when someone enters the room or leaves the room. Moreover, it can be configured to turn on when the ambient light is below a certain threshold (turn on when sun light is low).
Automated Gate and garage
Using smart sensor technology and the Internet of Things, gates and garages can be controlled (operated) conveniently. Once you are about to enter the house or after leaving the premises, you may open or close the gate using mobile devices.
Smart thermostats and humidity controllers
Smart thermostats are cost-effective and convenient smart-home solutions that can be controlled using an internet connection and smart hub device (or using a Smartphone app).
Common sensors for home/office automation:
- Motion/proximity sensors
- Voice controlled sensor
- Light sensor
- Temperature and humidity sensors
- Smoke/fire sensor
- Precipitation sensor
Analyzing traffic over a period of time gives an insight into possible trends and patterns that could occur during peak hours. It will help to inform commuters to take alternative routes to avoid congestion and delay.
Smart lighting on streets
Smart lighting is an effective solution to save energy in the cities. Smart sensors can detect the presence of people or vehicles in proximity and increase light intensity when someone passes by.
Once the person or vehicle is away from that area, smart light will automatically reduce light intensity to save energy. Maximum light intensity will be activated during emergencies to support recovery activities.
Since the smart lighting systems are connected to the control and monitoring network, any faulty light units will be automatically reported, and necessary maintenance will be initiated.
Pollution monitoring and reporting
Increasing air pollution is one of the challenges we face in growing cities. To solve this issue, smart sensors are deployed across the cities to monitor any changes continuously.
Some of the standard sensors are temperature, air quality (like CO2 level, haze, and smoke), moisture, etc… Interconnected smart sensors collect data, sends this data to the monitoring stations, and initiates warning messages during bad air quality detection.
Smart Parking Solutions
Smart sensors installed in the parking area collect information about the availability of parking slots and update it to the database in real-time. Once the spot is occupied, it will be updated without any delay.
Service providers and customers can plan and manage parking issues using smart parking solutions.
Populations in cities are increasing every year, and based on statistics, this trend will grow in the coming years. An increase in population contributes to an increase in waste as well.
Many cities are adopting the recycling of water using water treatment units. With an IoT system, the amount of wastewater, consumption in a geographical area, and trend of waste produced can be analyzed effectively.
IoT and smart sensor technology enable us to manage this issue efficiently. With a smart waste management system, authorities can predict the amount of waste produced in a particular location, how to process it properly, trigger waste clearance, analyze data for future planning, etc…
Example: smart sensors implemented on trash bins can send alerts to the waste management system once the bin is full (or reached the threshold limit). If the waste quantity in the bin is low, it will not be emptied.
With analytics solutions, an overview of waste generated in every part of the city and how much waste are generated in duration can be easily assessed. This information will be used to plan during the city expansion and upgrading projects.
Fleets for waste collection and treatment can be managed, and any changing trends can be predicted via smart analytics solutions.
2. Wearable Devices
Wearable smart devices were introduced as smart watches around a decade ago, and many more functions have been added since then. Now our smartwatches and wearables are capable of reading text messages, showing notifications of other apps, tracking location, monitoring workout status, reminding schedules, and continuously monitoring health conditions.
With the Internet of Things, wearable technology can be used beyond these functions. Major smart wearable manufacturers are developing special operating systems and applications dedicated to smart wearable devices.
Many people have shared their stories of how a smartwatch saved their life during an accident and medical emergencies. Life-saving applications make smart wearables one of the most favorite devices among other IoT devices.
Parents can track their child’s location; caretakers will get a notification if the patient’s vitals are low or blood sugar levels are changing. Using wearable technology, doctors and medical professionals can continuously monitor their patient’s body conditions in real time.
Future smart devices like smartwatches and fitness bands will be optimized to perform more functions and connect with other smart IoT devices in the smart home and other applications. Pairing with Smartphone applications will enable these smart wearables to initiate more tasks and get notified promptly.
Future of Wearable Technology
Future wearable technology will be capable of detecting diseases early and triggering treatment during early stages. Sensitive nano-sensors can detect components in our body fluids (sweat, tears, and saliva) and notify certain physical conditions that could trigger more severe diseases in the future.
Surgical implanted nano-sensors will indicate possible medical conditions (like cancer) that could develop in our body before it become severe. Finding a medical condition in the early stages has more effectiveness in treatment.
For example: if we can find out the chances of developing diabetes before it affects our body, we can change our diet and seek medical advice to avoid or delay the disease as much as possible.
Future healthcare procedures will include more wearable devices for convenient, accurate detection of diseases and monitoring of many medical conditions.
The healthcare industry has been utilizing the possibilities of the Internet of Things for life-saving applications. Starting from collecting vital data from bedside devices, real-time diagnosing process, and accessing medical records and patient information across multiple departments, the entire patient care system can be improved with IoT implementation.
IoT will offer convenience for medical practitioners, improve accuracy in the information (helps to reduce error in the data), increase overall efficiency, and saves time for each procedure.
Doctors can monitor patients’ status remotely and suggest necessary procedures when required.
Data loss and mistakes will be reduced to a lower level with IoT devices. Most modern medical devices can be connected to the network, and data can be accessed securely (In the future, all devices will be able to connect to the network).
Round-the-clock patient monitoring is possible with smart IoT devices. Immediate changes in a patient’s vitals will automatically notify responsible medical practitioners in real-time.
Doctors can prescribe medicine after assessing patients remotely with the help of smart IoT devices. In many cases, hospital visits may not be required.
Example: Many hospitals are offering telemedicine facilities. Patients can follow up on treatment via video conferencing.
Besides the healthcare systems’ efficiency and cost-effectiveness, IoT also offers better patient satisfaction. Overall, the hospital experience will be improved with the implementation of IoT in healthcare.
Find out more about how wireless technology is used in Medicine and Healthcare
4. Autonomous Driving
Autonomous driving has been evolving with artificial intelligence and smart sensor technology in the Internet of Things. An earlier generation of autonomous vehicles (partial automation) will assist drivers in driving safely, avoiding collisions, and warning about road and vehicle conditions.
Examples: cruise control assistance, parking assistance, line changing assistance and efficient fuel /energy management, etc.
As we collect huge amounts of data from thousands of vehicles (using millions of sensors and camera units), AI can predict certain scenarios on the road and help to implement them in the future generation of vehicles for better safety and efficiency.
Self-driving cars and connected car concepts will offer a much safer road experience in the future with the use of the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence (AI). One of the significant components of IoT in automobiles is smart sensors, which continually collect information about the vehicle, road condition, other vehicles, objects on the road, and road conditions.
The system consists of camera units, proximity sensors, RADARs, and RF antenna arrays to collect information and help the vehicle to make decisions based on sudden changes on the road. Vehicles and smart objects can share information with each other using RF technology.
Example scenarios: ice fall on the road, vehicle breakdown/accident on one line, heavy traffic in a particular direction on the highway, etc…
Accurate information is significant in making a split-second decision while driving. There would be a bigger impact if the data is not accurate or delayed, and it could even lead to fatal accidents.
5G technology offers a faster data rate with a low latency network, which is crucial for autonomous driving technology.
Sophisticated algorithms are being developed to learn different scenarios from various conditions on the road. With this powerful software with continuously learning AI, manufacturers can enhance the safety of self-driving (full automation) vehicles in the future.
5. Agriculture and Smart farming
There are a lot of challenges in the agriculture and farming industry to produce more crops and vegetables to feed the increasing human population. The Internet of Things can assist farmers and researchers in this area in finding more optimized and cost-effective ways to increase production.
In developed countries, the young generation is not attracted to conventional farming and agriculture. A lack of support staff could lead to productivity; authorities have to find alternative ways to overcome this issue.
The Internet of Things is one of the promising solutions to make the entire agriculture and farming industry more efficient with fewer workers. Smart sensor technology will help improve each stage of agriculture, and automation helps to reduce manual labor.
Smart irrigation is a method of efficient use of water for agriculture using the Internet of Things. Smart sensors are deployed into the soil, constantly monitoring and sending information about soil conditions to the control station.
Once the soil starts to dry or reaches a threshold value defined by the farmer, the control system initiates the water flow, and it will be stopped after a set time. Implementing automated irrigation systems into agriculture can reduce waste or water and manual labor.
Smart Greenhouse using sensors
Greenhouse farming is one of the successful agricultural methods to artificially control the environment for increased production of vegetables and fruits. Inside the greenhouse, the essential parameters like CO2 level, temperature, and moisture level are monitored round the clock, and automatic precipitation, light, and moisture control will be activated using an IoT system.
This smart monitoring system control is much more efficient and cost-effective than the same task workers perform. The data collected using various sensors deployed in the greenhouse will be sent to the cloud, it helps to access the data for further analysis easily.
Predication farming is a method of applying useful information collected over duration of time for improved quantity and quality of agricultural products. Experts will analyze when would be the best time/season for farming, what should be the best parameters for maximum productivity, suitable fertilizers, and how to plan a particular product ready for harvest, etc…
The Internet of Things offers many solutions for the convenient tracking of animals with the use of smart RFID tags. Farmers can easily record data of each animal with the implementation of IoT and smart tags.
For example, movement (cow, sheep) from a particular location, age and weight of the individual, and vaccination details can be stored in the database and easily accessed by just scanning the smart tag.
6. Industrial IoT for manufacturing
The manufacturing industry is one of the early adopters of the Internet of Things which entirely changed several stages of a product development cycle. Industrial IoT will help optimize various stages of product manufacturing, such as:
- Monitoring of supply chain and inventory management
- Optimization in product development
- Automate mass production processes
- Quality testing and product improvement
- Improves packaging and management
- Process optimization using data collected from a huge number of sensor networks
- Cost-effective solution for the overall management of factories
Find more about applications of the Industrial Internet of Things
7. Disaster management
The Internet of Things, with a wide range of smart sensors, allows engineers to build a more effective emergency response system for factories, schools, hospitals, airports, and any other public gathering places. Any emergency situations like a fire outbreak or flooding will be automatically detected using sensors, and this information is shared with responsible work groups in real time.
A disaster management team can respond effectively within seconds to start recovery operations. With a better preparation plan, a disaster management team can work safely and assist each individual in evacuating safely during an emergency situation.
During an emergency, the fire department, emergency response volunteers, police force, ambulance units, and nearby hospitals will receive an alert about the scenario. An automated warning system improves preparedness and allows authorities to plan and handle any situation immediately.
Some of the common sensors: are smoke detectors, temperature sensors, humidity sensors, CO2 monitoring sensors, and precipitation detectors.
Sensor deployed in many locations (where a higher possibility of wildfire could happen) is continuously monitoring CO2 emission levels, fire, and smoke. These smart sensors are connected to a network where any changes in the data will be immediately identified, and alert warnings will be sent during a wildfire.
8. Logistic and fleet management
Smart logistics is complex since the goods must be handled with greater care and efficiency. Apart from moving from one location to another, service providers have to ensure the perfect condition is maintained during transportation.
Smart sensors capable of connecting to IoT networks continuously monitor the GPS location, temperature, humidity, shock, and tilt angle of the container used for transpiration. Data collected from these sensors are processed and analyzed in a central cloud system.
The logistics team can access this information from anywhere using an internet connection. The movement of the fleet can be monitored in real-time and updated to customers about the progress of delivery.
Any delay during transportation will be notified to the responsible members of the team.
9. Smart Grids and energy management
The smart grid concept is an enhancement of existing power grids with sensors deployed on the transmission lines and individual customer outlets. These sensors help to notify of any failure or abnormality in the line and understand the nature of usage and behavior patterns over time.
These data can be used to find areas of improvement, lossy nodes during transmission, and peak time usage statistics using smart meters and sensors. Energy companies can use this information to improve existing grids and implement new changes during upgrades and thus reduce carbon emissions.
In case one of the transmission lines is down, smart sensors will automatically trigger to switch to another grid to provide uninterrupted supply. Manual action from a worker could take a longer response time, and this could cause long power outages and losses.
Customers also will benefit from the implementation of IoT for energy management. With optimized use and energy saving, overall efficiency and energy wastage can be significantly reduced.
Example: Smart meters can notify customers about peak time usage costs and non-peak time costs. Based on this data, customers can schedule some tasks during non-peak time to save energy costs.
10. Big Data Analytics
One of the basic components of big data analytics is the data itself; many organizations consider data as the most valuable asset to grow their business strategies. The source of data could be from anywhere, like machines, the environment, plants, people or even animals.
The Internet of Things uses hundreds of types of sensors designed to collect data from wide range of applications. Huge amounts of data from millions of smart sensors will help big data analytics to improve its decision-making algorithm using artificial intelligence and machine learning.
For example, autonomous driving technology needs a lot of data from many sensors embedded in the vehicles. These smart sensors collect the behavior of the engine, field data, maps, and camera feeds to improve self-driving algorithms to handle any situation that could occur while driving.