If you have not been living under a rock, you must have heard about the Internet of Things or IoT. IoT applications are ruling the digital world all around and revolutionizing the computing capabilities and data collection and analytical technology.
Now, the first question that you might have is: What is IoT or the Internet of Things? IoT is a platform where many embedded devices are connected with one another through the internet. These devices collect and exchange data with one another. Due to the collection of relevant data, IoT is able to interact and learn from one another, similar to human beings.
It is the active use of IoT which can actually make a city ‘smart’. IoT work with the help of predictive analysis and machine learning and the combination of both can boost the efficiency of specific work areas easily. There are many IoT applications and it continues to increase. However, some of the common ones in use are:
Top 9 IoT Real World Applications
1. Agriculture and Pest Control
Since we are going to look into the different IoT applications and the various IoT use cases, let’s start off with the areas where IoT use is most overlooked – farming. Agriculture is essential for human survival and the way the population keeps multiplying, it can be hard to maintain such large-scale agriculture without a major revolution.
Integrating IoT applications with farming can help to boost the production and keep it in line with the population explosion happening all over the globe. IoT applications can result in precision farming – that is, use of analytical data to understand soil moisture level, climatic changes, plant requirement, etc, and thus boost yield as well as encourage efficient use of resources.
This method can also be used for livestock management as well. A threat that the agricultural sector has always faced is pest infiltration. However, in one of the recent IoT use cases, a company, Semios, makes use of sensors to track pest population. There are other IoT systems as well which could be used to trap pests and notify authorities about it.
In recent times, we are becoming more and more aware of the environment and the damage that human activities have caused. Now, we are slowly trying to correct our mistakes and tackle environmental issues. We can make use of IoT applications to help us with this goal.
Some of the areas where IoT are working is preservation of bees. Honey Bees are facing a threat in this polluted world. Climate change is affecting them as well. However, by implanting IoT devices, beekeepers can take better charge of preserving hives. Using IoT with connected sensors, it is possible to keep track of the hive temperature, amount of food present in the hives and also, the pollen collection. IoT can be also used in waste management also, helping us take better care of our environment.
3. Smart Home Applications
Smart homes are probably the most common of all IoT use cases. The concept of smart homes has revolved around the internet for a long time. When Mark Zuckerberg displayed his smart home Jarvis, many people felt that they could actually fulfill their dream of having a Smart home.
A smart home works with the active use of IoT applications. Smart home devices collect and share information with one another in an integrated platform and automate their actions based on the owner’s preference. Hence, it is clear that they engage in a learning process to understand the preferences of their owner.
There are many IoT use cases related to Smart home appliances, but one of them can be Smart Thermostats, which monitor and control home temperatures to the comfort of the owner. Plus, there is smart lighting as well where the lighting adjusts themselves based on the user preference as well as external lighting.
4. Health Care
The use of IoT in the healthcare sector can redefine healthcare as a whole. The entire healthcare sector comprises physicians, patients, hospitals, and health insurance companies. IoT can target and enrich each of these parties. Patients already have access to several forms of wearables like fitness bands and blood pressure monitors to help with their health.
There are also alert mechanisms put in these devices to notify doctors or family members in the case of emergencies. For the physicians, it is quite easy to get into the history of a patient through the IoT device and access real-time health data easily. Real-time health data can also be used to increase the efficiency of clinical trials. IoT devices can be used inside hospitals to track locations of medical devices like defibrillators or wheelchairs and also help with inventory management, monitoring the environment, and temperature regulation. Learn more about machine learning applications in healthcare industry.
Since most IoT devices collect data and store them in the cloud, health insurance companies can access this data to track the routine activities of a patient (their lifestyle choices), whether they are adhering to their treatment plans or even looking into the operation processes.
5. Smart Cities
Many governments plan to build smart cities – that is – cities which heavily use IoT for several reasons like traffic management, public transportation, parking, utility billing, etc. Smart Cities can be referred to as large-scale IoT applications which cover a lot of problematic areas in a city.
While costly, it can be safe to say the benefits far outweigh the cost. With the combination of sensors, GPS data collection and cloud platforms, it will be easy to monitor traffic conditions of a specific area, plan construction program by predicting its impact on traffic and find alternative routes when necessary.
Use of smart billing for household use of energy and smart street lighting can help in the management of energy use. Another use case of the many IoT use cases is improving public safety by using smart cameras or smart microphones to help detect crime in any area across a city.
6. Safe Driving
With the increasing use of mobile phones, there has been a tragic rise in car accidents. These accidents have been connected to distracted driving. While there have been warnings against the use of mobile phones while driving, many drivers do not pay heed to it. However, with the help of IoT technology, it is possible to track the mobile usage of drivers during driving and block distracting apps.
IoT applications can also be used to understand driver behaviour and coach drivers based on how they are driving. A recent area where IoT is being used is in the construction of driverless cars. While it seems like something from the future, driverless cars are already in the making. These cars use advanced sensors and gyroscopes, all of which are connected to cloud platforms and the internet.
Using this platform, the driverless car is able to data from a variety of sources which tells them about the traffic conditions as well as potholes, sharp turns, speed breakers and other useful information required for driving. Driverless cars can be a perfect addition in a Smart City to ensure smooth traffic conditions.
7. Waste Management
We are slowly moving into a world which takes waste creation seriously. While many companies are moving away from non-biodegradable goods, it is important to manage the waste already being generated. IoT can bring a lot on the table to help with waste management.
One of the IoT use cases is selecting the right route for garbage trucks. IoT applications can notify truck drivers about filled dustbins and set a route for them so that they do not have to waste time by exploring locations with empty dustbins. IoT devices can also help in developing Smart bins, that is, trash bins which can segregate waste into categories like plastic, metal, glass or paper. Bin-e, a Polish company, has already generated Smart Waste Bins as one of the many IoT use cases related to waste management.
8. Tackling Industrial Issues
Using IoT in the industrial sector is sometimes seen to be similar to the Industrial revolution. How can IoT help with Industries? In the manufacturing department, IoT can be used in asset management and inventory management. Implanting IoT in the manufacturing sector can help in tracking the efficiency of the systems being used, detect any errors in the machinery, detect causes of lack of efficiency, etc. IoT in the industry can help in tackling unplanned downtime too.
9. Supply Chain
If you are using Amazon or Swiggy, you might be aware of the tracking system they use to track the delivery of your goods. Supply chains have been using IoT applications for quite some time. It has helped suppliers to track goods in transit as well as get immediate customer feedback with the help of a rating system. IoT systems can also help the supplier or drivers to preserve the goods better during transit by communicating information about temperature and pressure that the item is being preserved in. Hence, IoT can optimize workflow by improving the supply chain transit.
IoT is a game-changing technology that is affecting many different industries. More and more companies and civic bodies are taking up IoT applications. The world is slowly transforming into a ‘Smart’ world with Smart solutions. IoT has given both businesses and governments many options to improve their work and become more efficient. Plus, for IoT professionals, a bright future shines on the horizon with brand new opportunities coming up in the near ‘Smart’ future.
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