What is IoT and where is it used?
There’s already been quite a lot of noise about IoT devices and everything else related to the topic for a couple of years. Let’s have a look at a more practical side of this. Can IoT change the world? To be honest, it already did in many ways. As for the individual users, it is enough to take a look at how much has changed in homes with robot vacuum cleaners, motion sensor lights and remote control of heating, as well as many devices. Manufacturing factories that implement IoT solutions are also undergoing real revolutions.
In this article, you’ll find out what the Internet of Things exactly is, how and where we use it, and why it’s such an important topic. You’ll also get some examples of IoT applications that helped businesses and individual users in everyday matters.
Internet of Things – what is it?
Starting from the beginning, let’s briefly explain what IoT is. The Internet of Things is the concept of connecting devices (things) in a network. Why connect them? Well, IoT devices can collect, process and exchange data with each other over a network, and this allows multiple environments to connect and interact with each other.
Simplifying this concept, it’s about combining the systems of electronic devices that can automatically communicate and exchange data over a network.
Smart connected devices use embedded systems such as processors, sensors and communication equipment to collect, send and act on the data they acquire from their environment.
In practice, this means that with IoT, we can use data from multiple devices simultaneously, helping to automate many processes.
The use of IoT devices and technology
A few words about how we use IoT devices and technologies. Most IoT devices you can use to read data such as temperature, status and content. However, it is the combination of devices and the network they are on that allows tailoring a software solution to act on this data. It can be said that the IoT concept and IoT devices have made the digital world connect and interact with the physical world. Does this happen with the help of human control? Not really. IoT devices can share and collect data with minimal or even no human intervention. People can configure and issue instructions to devices running on the network, but they don't have to control them or pace them, so almost complete or total automation takes place.
Through embedded processors, devices connect to the Internet and then communicate with each other. Of course, communication also takes place at the human-device level.
Who uses IoT devices?
IoT devices are being used both by users in everyday home life and on a large scale, for example, to increase the efficiency of manufacturing and production plants. We can connect household equipment, cars, vacuum cleaners, etc., but also specialized devices created or customized for a specific production line, fleet management or another business activity, like for a particular project.
If you think you've never dealt with such devices, you're probably wrong. Even a light that turns on through a motion sensor is exactly the use of IoT technology.
The sensor sends information about the movement to another IoT device or to the cloud, from which the device that is designed for it receives the information and the light turns on. All this in less than a second!
IoT devices have become so important to manufacturers that the term industrial IoT has even been created. Thus, industrial IoT is nothing more than the application of IoT technology in an industrial environment. This usually refers to hardware and sensors, as well as cloud technologies.
With IoT, the use of cloud solutions, as well as machine learning and AI, manufacturing in many companies can be almost completely automated. This is said to have created the fourth wave of the industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0.
Benefits of IoT for individual users
So let's focus on the benefits and use cases of connected devices thanks to IoT for individual users. We use a lot of home smart devices on a daily basis. For example, consumer IoT devices include refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, cleaning robots, gas and water sensors, air purifiers, coffee makers and light bulbs. And don't forget wearables, such as smartwatches.
And as for the benefits of using these devices:
With IoT devices, you will spend less time on chores and be more efficient. For example, you don't have to do manual work when the floor is cleaned for you by a robot. You can control it from your smartphone.
Convenience and cost reduction
IoT devices such as energy consumption sensors will help you monitor and control your consumption and also reduce it. Systems can also automatically switch off things that are not in use so that they do not consume energy or water when they’re not needed. Automatic light and heating switches when the temperature reaches a specific value is a comfort that is becoming a new standard.
Home security systems such as door locks, security cameras and water leak sensors as connected devices can detect and prevent accidents, for example by sending alerts to owners.
Benefits of IoT for companies
IoT device management is also increasingly used by organizations. IoT devices are most commonly used in manufacturing, transport and IT, but it cannot be said that these are the only sectors. IoT is also increasingly present in agriculture, construction, commerce or services.
We can talk about some industry-specific benefits because there are lots of industries that benefit from and owe their success to IoT solutions. However, let’s focus on those general advantages for businesses:
IoT devices give companies the ability to monitor and gain insight into huge amounts of data, such as, for example, changes and failures in the operation of production machinery or concerning the chain get. This makes it possible to optimise operations so that machines run as efficiently as possible and also to speed up the delivery process, etc.
Improving customer experience
Connected devices and systems will make access to data about customers and their choices even greater. Analytics on this data will allow you to provide better customer service and improve the customer experience.
Delivering better quality
IoT sensors and other smart devices are also helpful in monitoring and managing the quality of work and products. As with improving the customer experience, analysing the quality results will allow you to work on and enhance quality.
IoT systems are a simple way to automate processes and thus reduce labour costs and save on materials and utility consumption, just like in case of homes. Increased efficiency of machines and employees are also factors directly influencing the height of costs.
Generating more revenue
Improving the customer experience and reducing costs naturally leads to generating more revenue. IoT also enables better business models by analysing the data collected by smart objects and devices.
Internet of Things apps examples
Let’s see some examples of IoT apps we’ve created at FiveDotTwelve.
A mobile app for measuring air condition with IoT sensors
SensAIR app’s mission was to make a contribution to raising awareness about the quality of the air we breathe by measuring it with air sensors, whether at home or at workplaces.
We’ve built a mobile app that connects with IoT sensors so that users who want to take care of their air quality can conveniently access and easily monitor this data.
The sensor data is sent to the app via Bluetooth to show the air condition – measure pressure, humidity and other air parameters. There are also emergency air condition alerts enabling users to react immediately.
An app to open doors remotely
Smartlock is an app enabling remote security management, a system that allows users to remotely open doors that they have received authorization for. Having hardware in the form of a smart door handle, we created a solution to control it safely from the app.
Devices connected within a network send data via Bluetooth to recognize the authorised person requesting the door opening. Once they accept the user, the door handle is opened. This app is a part of the BramaXS solution that allows users to manage multiple zones. It’s a convenient and innovative solution for those who value comfort.
IoT device management system for utility
PowerWISE is a modern cloud-based web app for energy usage monitoring. This IoT platform allows large facilities such as shopping malls to manage and monitor their electricity consumption. The app enables the management of energy consumption data, the generation of various types of reports and analysis in real-time.
Devices that collect data, send and exchange information, and analyse it can really change industries, whole cities and countries, as well as our everyday life.
The Internet of Things has brought lots of improvements to our homes and workplaces. Now that you know its benefits and usability, you can go ahead and try using it for your own business too!