For years, people have been imagining about smart objects that can be controlled remotely, and that can notify the owner of specific events. Over the time, this imagination has become real and has brought a new revolution in the world of connected things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how we work and live as more number of devices around us are becoming connected. It is simply a merger of operational technology and IT. IoT connects devices such as tablets, phones and computers. It also links places, things and people in their physical world to restructure the processes, gain insights and explore new possibilities.
IoT is as vast as its name. As defined in Wikipedia, it is “the network of physical devices, vehicles, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data.” Hence, in simpler terms, the common thread is that all IoT setup includes collection of sensors that are connected to gather data and analyze them to gain insights.
The IoT create new efficiencies in the work areas, provide tangible value to the customers and thereby generate new revenue for businesses. Though at an infancy stage, if identified correctly, IoT can bring a revolution to the ways a business is implemented. The growing trend can help the businesses in improving their bottom line by reducing operating costs, increasing productivity, and helping in new product development or expanding to new markets. Meanwhile, organizations need to analyze how to store and process data in a manner that its cost does not offset the benefits. Also, they need to have sophisticated and robust back-end infrastructure for handling IoT initiatives and solutions.
IoT has already been implemented across various industries, small businesses and large organizations. For example, in automobile, connected cars are a top IoT device. It is estimated that there will be more than 220 million connected cars on the road by 2020. In defense, drones and military robots are being used and developed. In healthcare, connected healthcare devices are being used to collect data, automate the process and more. In utilities, energy companies are trying to meet the growing demand in energy by installing smart meters. In food services, companies are using devices with digital signs connected throughout with grocery stores and fast food companies. In retail stores, beacons are used to monitor the customer behavior and push messages or advertisements. In banking, live stream video of a teller is introduced in some teller- assisted ATMs globally.
Apart from these developments, there are various drivers for IoT ecosystem. The expanded Internet connectivity is a major driver. With high mobile adoption, acceptance has improved. Low cost sensors and large IoT investments are other few drivers. There are various restraints that restrict the growth of IoT. The major one is the security of data and privacy concerns. Implementation is again a big challenge when the technology is highly fragmented.
IoT ecosystem is growing at a rapid pace with lot of scope of improvement. As per various surveys, it is forecasted that by 2020, there will be 34 billion devices connected to the Internet. Across the three entities of IoT ecosystem- businesses will have 11.2 billion devices installed, with $3 billion expenditure at $7.6 billion ROI by 2020. Government will have 7.7 billion devices installed, with $2.1 billion expenditure at $4.7 billion ROI. Consumers will have 5 billion devices installed, with $900 million expenditure at $400 million ROI by 2020.
Having known the facts, drivers and challenges of IoT, large organizations opt to build systems to handle such challenges and turn out to cloud-based software-as-a-service solutions to connect/integrate systems, provide data security and perform analytics. In conclusion, opportunities are numerous and only time will tell how companies will grab those chances and reap the benefits. The world is transforming: let us wait for it to become legendary.