In the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT), we explored what it is, how it works, and experienced the life-saving properties of it (at least saving from an angry significant other heh heh 😜). So if you haven’t already, take some time to read through the first installment of the IoT before you continue on here.
Today, we’ll be discussing another segment of the IoT – where we see it today and in the future. Considering the exponential growths technology is undergoing, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we can expect to see the IoT more and more around us in the very near future. Heck, some of us might already be using it now … let’s take a look at some examples of the IoT being applied today:
If you like to be fit (pun intended) or exercise regularly, you’ve probably heard of or used Fitbit One which tracks your steps, floors climbed, calories burned, and sleep quality. Where the IoT comes in for the Fitbit One is through monitoring your progress. Any data that’s collected from the device is wirelessly synced with your computer and/or smartphone, which transmits the fitness data into comprehensive charts that track and monitor your growth.
WOAHHH. What??? An entire city can integrate the IoT?? Believe it or not, it’s true. In 2012, Barcelona began deploying responsive technologies across urban systems including public transit, parking, street lighting, and waste management. Using 500 kilometers of fiber optic cable within the city initiated 30 years ago, individual IoT systems across urban services were created.
To improve energy efficiencies, Barcelona installed 19,500 smart meters that monitor and optimize energy consumption in targeted areas of the city. To decrease waste production, households deposited waste in municipal smart bins that monitor waste levels and optimize collection routes. For transportation, digital bus stops were installed that feature updates on bus locations, USB charging stations, free WiFi, and tools to help passengers download apps to learn more about the city. For drivers, sensor systems were applied that guide drivers to available parking spots. And this is only the beginning of the scope, many more initiatives were practiced by the city of Barcelona.
These innovations brought about significant cost savings, improved the quality of life for residents, and established Barcelona as a center for the young IoT Industry.
Have you ever been to Amazon Go? It’s the store where customers go in, pick up what they need, and leave without interacting with any actual cashiers. In fact, the entire checkout process is automated and lets customers put merchandise directly into their shopping bag and walk out. Just like that.
How does this work? The store has gates (similar to the gates at train stations) and only allows those who have the Amazon Go smartphone app to enter. Every time a customer takes an item off its shelf, the item is placed into their online shopping cart. Conversely, if the item is placed back on the shelf, it’s removed from their online shopping cart as well.
While there’s only one location available now, there’s bound to be more considering where the future of the IoT is heading to now.
The Future of the IoT
In 2016, over 3.9 billion connected devices were used worldwide. By 2020, the number of connected devices is expected to be up to 21 billion. That’s 5.38 times more and the number is only going to go up from there.
Many more cities will become smart cities and use IoT technology to automate, remotely manage, and collect data, and artificial intelligence will become a ‘real thing’ with the IoT. This is only the beginning of the future. J