Best 10 Examples of IoT applications
The new era of Information Technology: Internet of Things
It’s no surprise that with all the technological advancements we’ve experienced over the last couple of decades, the world is now smarter and more connected than ever before. The time is long gone when computers and devices were only found in big companies or in the hands of a few users. Today’s reality is that computers and devices are everywhere: in our homes, buildings, offices, our own pockets, and so on.
The beauty of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that all devices are capable of communicating with one another. Within the connectivity of the Internet of Things, devices communicate with each other and with the users to generate and deliver massive amounts of data through smart processes.
Based on Deloitte’s definition, IoT is a “suite of technologies and associated business processes that imbues devices of all types with an ability to communicate information about their status to other systems, creating the opportunity to evaluate and act on this new source of information.”
According to Nick Jones, research vice president at Gartner, “the IoT will continue to deliver new opportunities for digital business innovation for the next decade, many of which will be enabled by new or improved technologies.” Gartner estimates there will be approximately 14.2 billion connected things in 2019 25 billion by 2021, which will generate enormous amounts of data. “Data is the fuel that powers the IoT and the organization’s ability to derive meaning from it will define their long term success” said Nick Jones as well.
Given that the Internet of Things is expanding by the second, connectivity is in a position where it is going beyond computers and smartphones. Nowadays, IoT touches every industry across the economic landscape, from financial markets, agriculture, energy, software development, retail, automotive, healthcare, and many more through the use of different and varied devices. Watches, cars, home appliances, airplanes, scientific devices, and more are just a few of the devices that have recently joined the ranks of those leveraging IoT for its benefits.
According to IDC, the industries that are forecast to spend most on IoT solutions in 2019 are discrete manufacturing ($119 billion), process manufacturing ($78 billion), transportation ($71 billion), and utilities ($61 billion). To provide a context of how IoT is shifting the way we go about our daily routine, here are some examples of the influence IoT has on different industries:
- Smart homes: With IoT, smart homes are a reality. In this reality, you can adjust lighting settings, air conditioning, door locks, and more with a few clicks from a smart device.
- Wearables: Sensors and software collect data constantly and wearables take full advantage of it by processing it to gain insights about fitness, health, and entertainment requirements.
- Smart cars: Nowadays, vehicles are optimized to deliver key functionalities that make the driver’s life easier. From reading emails through the sound system to smart statistics and metrics about the car’s performance, IoT provides numerous applications for the automotive industry.
- Agriculture: Food supply is a critical issue that is closely monitored and IoT provides the means for smart farming where meaningful insights about soil moisture, nutrients, water usage, plant growth cycles, fertilizers, and more, play a key role in research and technology advancement to increase food production.
- Retail: IoT offers retailers the opportunity to connect with customers in an organic way that is geared to enhance the overall in-store and online experiences. For example, retailers can track a customer’s path through the store to maximize the layout and improve product placement.
- Energy: Smart power grids are designed to collect data and analyze the behavior of consumers and suppliers to improve the efficient use of resources. Additionally, smart power grids are capable of detecting sources of power outages to enable distributed energy systems.
- Healthcare: Smart medical devices powered by IoT help collect data to provide a more comprehensive patient analysis and even detect diseases. Through connected devices, healthcare providers can personalize the patient’s consultation and diagnosis.
In a subsequent section, we list real-life examples of IoT applications.
Popular types of IoT devices
As we described above, the list of industries that benefit from IoT is endless, but how exactly do they leverage its power? It is through the use of IoT devices that organizations and end users employ the entire breadth of capabilities instilled in data and connectivity. Almost every aspect of our lives generates data and IoT devices harness, collect, analyze, and interpret said data to turn it into insights that help deliver superior experiences.
IoT devices are computing devices that connect wirelessly to a network to transmit data with the goal of automating home, enterprise, and industry tasks. With the use of device management, users can control aspects such as security, interoperability, processing capabilities, scalability, and availability, which are critical in maintaining the health, connectivity, and security of IoT devices.
Some of the most widely used IoT device types include smartphones, smartwatches, smart refrigerators, smart door locks, medical sensors, etc. Here’s a list of a few of the most popular IoT devices:
- Google Home Voice Controller: IoT device that allows users to enjoy, manage, and control features such as media, alarms, lights, thermostats, volume, and more through voice commands.
- Amazon Echo: IoT device that is capable of processing voice commands to play songs, take phone calls, set timers and alarms, answer questions, check the weather forecast, manage to-do lists, manage smart home devices, and much more.
- Fitbit: High-performance, IoT wearable that provides smart features such as heart rate tracking, workout tracking, sleep pattern monitoring, food intake, and more.
- Bigbelly Smart Waste and Recycling System: Platform for smart waste management in a smart city framework. It provides historical and real-time data collection capabilities via a cloud-based service to assist with smart trash collection and reduction in overflow.
- Medication Dispensing Service: Made by the tech giant Philips, the Medication Dispensing Service automatically notifies patients when it’s time to take medication or refill medication, or a dose has been missed.
- Libelium Waspmote Sensor Nodes: Sensor device network that enables easy integration of industrial devices with the cloud for data communication.
- Ring Doorbell: Smart home automation system that enables users to monitor their homes through the use of motion-based cameras and smart doorbells.
- Logitech Harmony Universal Remote: Powerful smart device that enables users to control house media, lighting configurations, and other smart devices from a remote location.
- ESP32: Low-cost, low-power system on a chip (SoC) with WiFi and dual-mode Bluetooth capabilities that are engineered and widely used to work for mobile devices, wearable electronics, and the prototyping and development of IoT applications.
- Raspberry Pi 3: Small, affordable yet powerful computer that can be used in IoT projects due to the simplicity of connecting multiple sensors simultaneously.
- Odroid: It stands for Open and Droid, it is a development platform with hardware and software used to create IoT applications.
Best 10 projects of IoT applications
IDC expects worldwide IoT spending to surpass the $1 trillion mark by 2022. This number reaffirms the incredibly significant role that IoT plays in the technology ecosystem and its road to becoming one of the largest industry segments. Let’s examine the examples of some of the best 10 projects of IoT applications.
Enterprise-level IoT applications
Here are some large-scale examples of the Internet of Things applications that are designed to meet the needs of enterprise-level projects.
- IoT Cloud Platforms: IoT data platforms provide the foundation of tools to deploy products/services, from device management to data prediction, all in one centralized service. Popular IoT cloud platforms include Artik Cloud, AWS IoT suite of products (AWS IoT Analytics, AWS IoT Device Management, AWS IoT Core, etc.), Google IoT Cloud, Microsoft Azure IoT Suite, IBM Watson IoT, and Salesforce IoT Cloud.
- Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI): In this case study of Nigeria’s energy situation and how Huawei provided an IoT solution for Advanced Metering Infrastructure, we can see the real-life example of the country’s need to monitor the usage of customers to tackle issues such as electricity theft, difficult collection of electricity bills, and poor IT infrastructure. With Huawei’s AMI Solution, there was a deployment of smart electric meters that established a network to collect power utilization information in real time. Huawei’s IoT solution delivered an open and unified management platform that accelerated electricity charging and bill collection, and integrated electronic bills, which helped improve work efficiency and the overall user experience of the Nigerian population.
- Production flow monitoring: For the manufacturing industry, IoT has come to revolutionize the way production flow is monitored by tracking all events across a supply chain, tracking inventory down to individual components, reducing waste and unnecessary work, optimizing the packaging process, improving employee safety, and more. Two examples of manufacturing monitoring apps are Oracle Internet of Things Production Monitoring Cloud Service and QBurst.
Small business and home Internet of Things applications
Here are some examples of the Internet of Things applications that are designed for small businesses and households.
- Smart door locks: As of late, there has been a growing supply of security devices and a prime example of these are smart door locks. These devices have proximity sensors such as Bluetooth and NFC to lock/unlock doors when the smartphone of an authorized user is near. Users can remotely lock/unlock doors and share access with other parties, all through the use of a mobile device. Some of the biggest brands of smart door locks are Schlage, August Smart Lock Pro, Kwikset, Friday Smart Lock, and Lockitron.
- Smart home apps: Offerings such as Yonomi or olisto are paving the way in terms of smart home apps. These apps integrate with several connected devices and enable the user to configure rules and workflows to manage them based on group actions, sensor readings, and previous interactions with the devices. In essence, these apps connect all smart home devices in an organic way to create automated routines.
- WiFi thermostats: These devices, such as the Ecobee or Nest, enable users to manage temperature settings remotely. The WiFi thermostats provide geofencing capabilities which give users the capability to adjust the temperature based on who is home, energy reports which offer information about monthly usage and maximization of resources, and integration with remote sensors and smart vents.
- Home robots: The iRobot Roomba has set the standard for automated vacuum solutions since its release back in 2002. These vacuum robots map out and remember a home layout, adapt to different surfaces, create efficient movement patterns, and dock themselves for recharge.
Homebrew and do-it-yourself IoT examples
- Sebastian Alegria, a 14-year-old from Chile created a homemade earthquake early warning system by hacking a Twitter-based regional earthquake alert system and buying an off-the-shelf QuakeAlarm detector, which he modified by replacing the internal circuit with an Arduino board. Next, he connected this modified device to his server and put it online through the Twitter API. Now, he has a Twitter account with over 421K followers that provide early warning earthquake alerts that give users a 5-20 second window to prepare.
- A developer named Richard Pope created the bicycle barometer which takes daily weather forecast data and the status of subway lines to deliver a graphics output and determine if it will be a good day to ride a bike. Created from an old flea market clock, a web-connected Nanode, and data from London’s line and station status APIs, his smart barometer takes variables from different data points to deliver forecasts.
- Developers at HabitatMap developed AirBeam, a wearable air monitor that maps, graphs, and crowdsources pollution exposure in real-time. This device uses a light-scattering method to detect particles. The light scatter is registered and converted into a measurement that estimates the number of particles in the air. This information is collected and sent to the AirCasting website which then creates heat maps that indicate concentrations of high and low pollution levels.
Value and importance of IoT applications
The Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are two technologies that are intricately linked with one another. Every day, the Internet of Things is getting smarter and more powerful, which has led to a greater degree of involvement from AI and machine learning with IoT applications. Companies are designing IoT strategies that take into account the potential and value of the role that AI can play to deliver new offerings and operate more efficiently.
AI is the key that unlocks the potential of IoT. By integrating AI capabilities and machine learning-based analytics, IoT devices are now able to automatically detect patterns and anomalies in the data that smart sensors generate.
Speech recognition and natural language processing are opening new possibilities for ways in which AI can enhance IoT practices. For example, AI-controlled drones and robots now offer monitoring and inspecting capabilities that weren’t available before.
According to Carrie MacGillivray, group vice president of IoT and Mobility at the International Data Corp., “Adoption of IoT is happening across industries, in governments, and in consumers' daily lives. We are increasingly observing how data generated by connected devices is helping businesses run more efficiently, gain insight into business processes, and make real-time decisions. For consumers, access to data is changing how they are informed about the status of households, vehicles, and family members as well as their own health and fitness. The next chapter of IoT is just beginning as we see a shift from digitally enabling the physical to automating and augmenting the human experience with a connected world.”
AI and IoT are working closely together to transform the world as we know it for the better. For example, Prospera, an Israeli startup company, is using a combination of advanced cameras, sensors, weather stations, and artificial intelligence to help farmers respond quickly to warning signs of crop disease, leaf health, waste reduction, and more. And this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the value of AI + IoT.
The latent usefulness and prospective success of AI-powered IoT devices are showcased in these potential future applications, all aimed at improving the quality of life:
- Emotional analysis through facial recognition.
- Improved security and access devices with new capabilities from key fob technologies.
- Home appliances will tap into new ways of optimizing tasks to remove human involvement.
- Healthcare applications will continue to improve their ability to track vital statistics of patients and offer a more accurate diagnosis.
- Improvement of smart city technologies to reduce pollution levels, enhance traffic conditions, make highways more efficient by using solar energy and glowing lanes, enhance warning signs of danger zones, etc.
- Smart farming techniques that will enhance the food supply production.
- New shopping experiences, such as the example of Amazon Go.
As the Information Technology industry enters the next chapter of metamorphosis, IoT is the cornerstone of a comprehensive digital transformation strategy. When combined with other notorious technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, robotics, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, blockchain, and more, it has the potential to create innovative ways of reaching new heights of interconnectivity.
At Svitla Systems, we have the expertise to create IoT solutions for different industries and clients.
Previously, we worked with the company Buddy, a full monitoring solution that is comprised of IoT hardware, secure and scalable data infrastructure, operations portal, dashboards, and more. Buddy needed to maximize its ability to handle thousands of requests per second from customer devices. To achieve this, Svitla deployed a team of experts in IoT who were in charge of performance and scalability, who made sure all devices were optimized to improve the application system infrastructure.
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