There has been a big buzz around the Internet of Things (IoT) for a while now, and more and more reports are developing with the conclusion that the IoT will change everything. The concept of IoT revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication and is going to connect all devices to each other via the internet. While the buzz around the IoT is growing, it may end up being bigger than most people realize.
Most of the discussion about the IoT is focused on machine-to-machine communication (M2M,) but making machines “smart” doesn’t just refer to M2M- it’s also about sensors. A sensor is very different than a machine, as it measures, evaluates, and gathers data. The Internet of Things comes together with the connection of sensors and machines, so the real value it creates is the crossing of gathering data and leveraging it. In other words, the information collected by all of the sensors wouldn’t be beneficial without a machine in place to analyze it. The key to using leveraged data is cloud-based applications, as the IoT doesn’t function without them interpreting and transmitting the data from sensors.
The IoT will make almost everything in our lives “smart.” In the real world, digital sensors could allow crops to report when they need water, or parking spaces to alert us when they become available. Sensors would also be extremely useful in construction, as smart cement (equipped with sensors to monitor stresses or cracks) used in bridges would alert us to fix problems before they occur. This would end up saving lives, and accidents caused by construction issues or weak structures would be much lower- possibly even non-existent one day.
The technology wouldn’t stop there, however, as the sensors on the bridge would be able to communicate information to a car via wireless internet. A car would receive a message from the bridge about a hazard ahead, and will either instruct the driver to slow down, or the car could slow down by itself.
What It Means
Of course, the technology would not only apply to bridges and cars but soon there will be smart cities, using sensors everywhere possible. The Internet of Things will bring a huge and fundamental shift to our world, and making things “smart” will be a major engine or creating new services. The IoT will go beyond construction and energy, and impact every field, and eventually every part of our lives.
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