Have you ever used an app on your phone to control the heating in your home? Or a FitBit to track your sleep cycles, step count and activity levels? What about installed a “Find my Phone” app to track your phone in case it gets lost or stolen? These are all examples of the Internet of Things.
IOT is the merging of the physical and online world. By taking physical objects (devices, vehicles, building, etc) and embedding them with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity, it enables the objects to connect and exchange data. Now, physical objects can be sensed and controlled remotely allowing for a greater connectivity between the physical world and computer-based systems. The outcomes are improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit.
In today’s day and age, anything can be equipped to connect with the internet. Cell phones, home appliances, wearable devices along with parts of machinery, such as a black box on an airplane. Pretty much any object or person can be part of this rapidly growing network.
There are many examples of using the internet of things both in a person’s life and in business. One example would be a family member wearing an alarm button that they can press to notify emergency response teams when they are in destress. Another example would be the monitoring of garbage in disposal bins to optimize routes for pick-up. A third example would be a smart feeder that calculates the amount of food your pet should be eating and orders food for you when you run out.
How can this apply to business? The opportunities are endless. Sensors can be attached to devices to perform a wide variety of tasks. They can be used to manage a fleet of items, determine when you are getting low on supplies through a weight metric or tell when something is full and needs to be emptied. The information can also be used to give you notifications or trigger an action such as an automatic tweet, an email notification, even a purchase through Amazon. These are just some of the many examples.