The Internet of Things

The “internet of things” is the latest buzzword that can be heard in Silicon Valley. It is the newest avenue for innovation and bright minds all over the world are moving towards this rapidly advancing sector. Almost, every business report predicts a massive rise in the value of goods and service that will be enabled by “internet of things”. The bright future of this technology is almost a foregone conclusion. In this article, we will have a closer look at what “internet of things” means and how it is going to influence the day to day lives of people.

What is Internet of Things ?

The internet of things is a new technological system that talks about embedding chips in things that we use every day. This will enable them to send and receive data and become smarter. Examples of internet things would be lights that dim automatically depending on the time of the day, appliances that can listen to voice commands, a doorbell that can be answered remotely, etc. This technology is expected to change the way humans live by ushering in a wave of automation that has not been seen until now.

Notable Activity in this Field

Technical firms have been pouring billions of dollars into this idea because of the widespread belief that the “internet of things” is the internet of the future! Google has made a great acquisition of Nest i.e. a firm which makes smart thermostats and smart cameras. Amazon has also been selling smart speakers through its website. There is no official data released by these firms about these sales. However, it seems like the “internet of things” is more of a futuristic concept in the present as opposed to something consumers want to spend money on now!

Lack of Consumers Interest

The “internet of things” seems to have a bleak future as far as consumer markets are concerned. A lot of big companies invested money in a lot of products amidst increasing fanfare. However, there isnít enough consumer interest to match the investments. Less than 6% of the people have products that have “internet of things” enabled in their homes. Also, less than 15% of the population of the United States intends to buy these products in the next five-year range.

The main reason behind this dismal consumer appeal is that fitting chips into normal household items makes them very expensive. A smart thermostat would cost about 10 times the price of a regular thermostat. Hence, consumers simply cannot afford to buy these products.

Increasing Business Interest

Unlike consumers, businesses are more than happy to buy these products. This is because these products help them cut down manual labor which is very expensive in western countries. The modern warehouses and even hospitals are full of smart devices that function according to a preset program reducing the need for human intervention and therefore eliminating jobs. Companies like Amazon have fully automated warehouses that can work with the help of one-fourth the workforce that a manual warehouse would require. This is where the bright future of the “internet of things” comes from. These products also collect and transmit valuable data. This data can then be mined by these companies to streamline their processes and further improve efficiency.

Healthcare Applications

The “internet of things” has a huge market when it comes to its applications in the healthcare sector. The products that have this technology can be used to drastically reduce the number of casualties related to chronic diseases. The “internet of things” can be used to create products that continuously monitor the health of the patient and immediately notify the patient and/or the doctor when a mishap is likely to happen.

The “internet of things” can be used in preventive healthcare as well. Gadgets like “Fitbit” which measure the number of calories burned, the number of steps walked, etc. has also become increasingly popular.

Push From Insurance Sector

The internet of things is also receiving a push from the insurance sector. The insurance sector has realized that houses with smart appliances like “smoke detectors” are less likely to have a mishap. As a result, they offer steep discounts to customers who have these gadgets fitted in their houses subsidizing the cost of these devices to some extent. Some insurance companies have made such devices mandatory if houses above a certain value have to be insured.

Lack of Standardization

The big problem that internet of things is facing is the lack of standardization. This lack of standardization is a big hurdle as it prevents devices from communicating with one another. As a result, these devices are just piecemeal solutions and not holistic in nature. The next logical step in the “internet of things” story has to be the linking together of all these solutions to a single standard. This is what has happened with the internet and also with a wide variety of other technologies.

The internet of things concept is therefore still very nascent. At the present moment, it seems to have only business applications. However, it is expected to grow by leaps and bounds in the near future and is expected to change the way humans live in the next few decades!


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