The Internet of Things is one of the main technological trends in recent years. Moreover, many of us are already using the technologies of the future with might and main, without even knowing it. So what is behind this definition?
The Internet of Things (Internet of Things, IoT) is the concept of a single network that unites devices so that they can exchange data with each other and the external environment, analyze this data and, on its basis, regulate certain processes. In short, these are technologies designed to automate actions that we are used to controlling ourselves in everyday life, and thereby make human life even more convenient.
The ability of phones, tablets or TVs to go online has long been a natural phenomenon, but here we are talking about more ordinary objects, be it an iron, microwave or any other household appliances. Agree, it’s still quite difficult to imagine that the refrigerator itself orders products for you with home delivery.
The essence of the Internet of Things is that a person sets only a goal, but not a program to achieve it. The system must analyze the data and, based on it, perform the task. The person indicates what needs to be done, not how.
The future, which used to be just the plot of science fiction films, can become a reality much faster than we think. The Internet of Things can significantly improve the quality of human life and affect almost all areas of human activity.
In industry, engaging smart technologies can help track all stages of production, implement effective solutions and eliminate defects before the product is released from the assembly line.
The Internet of Things will make our everyday life many times more comfortable: “intelligent” household appliances will monitor the house, “smart” medical devices will monitor the physical condition of a person. Modern concepts such as the smart city are also largely based on the capabilities of the Internet of Things.
Where is applied
The Internet of Things is penetrating into many areas of our life and is being successfully applied now.
The technology is most widely used in smart home systems: all devices are combined into a single network that controls the microclimate and, if necessary, controls power supply, heating, security and fire systems, household appliances and multimedia devices.
In agriculture, IoT technologies are used to monitor the health of animals, plants and the environment. Farmers in Spain and Germany use sensors that monitor the temperature and humidity of the air and tell them when it is time to fertilize plants or harvest.
The concept of “smart city” is also a merit of modern intelligent technologies. A striking example of this is Yandex.Traffic. This service collects data on traffic congestion, processes information and can create a detour route.
In construction, the Internet of Things helps to track the condition of houses and other structures, roads. Sensors in the road surface or on bridges analyze illumination, vibration levels, weather conditions and diagnose possible damage. This technology has already been tested in California and Michigan.
There are sports bracelets that can track sleep, diet, steps, and calories burned. Such a bracelet can serve as an alarm clock: it tracks the phases of sleep and wakes up the wearer in a state when it is easiest to wake up. Such devices are also perfect for medical purposes – to monitor the patient’s condition in real time.
Internet of Things in Russia
According to the IDC Russia Internet of Things Market 2016-2020 Forecast report, the volume of Russian investments in IoT technologies is already $ 4 billion, and by 2020 it will reach $ 9 billion. The leading spheres in Russia, where such technologies are actively introduced and applied, are transport, industrial sphere and power engineering. They occupy more than 50% of the total IoT market in our country. They are closely followed by the public sector developing the concept of smart cities.
The introduction of IoT into production allows monitoring the condition of equipment, controlling processes at all stages of production and preventing failures in a timely manner.
In the transport sector, IoT technologies help track location, routes and control the conditions of cargo transportation.
In the energy sector, smart meters are designed to improve the safety and efficiency of energy supply. The use of smart grids saves not only power companies, but also consumers – by managing the consumption profile and various energy-intensive devices.
Constraints and risks
Of course, despite its sometimes impressive possibilities, the Internet of Things is still in its infancy because conditions exist that are slowing down its development.
Lack of uniform standards
The main problem is the lack of uniform standards. For the technology to function successfully, all devices on the network must interact with each other, forming a single interconnected ecosystem, and this requires a single language. So far, the Internet of Things is separate systems, each of which solves its own problems. Large corporations such as Microsoft or Google are working on their ecosystems, and perhaps one of the platforms will become the basis for a single global network.
The technology is still quite young, so analysts and experts are seriously wary of cyberattacks and speculate about what will happen if the data falls into the hands of attackers. Having hacked the system, hackers will know absolutely everything about you and gain access to control any devices. Therefore, work on information protection mechanisms will become one of the priority directions in the development of the Internet of Things.
Another important task to be solved is uninterruptible power supply of devices connected to the network. To prevent communication between the devices, the autonomous operation of all devices is necessary, that is, the sensors must learn to receive energy from the environment, and not from batteries, as is happening now.
An additional obstacle is ensuring that all devices have access to the Internet. Not every device can be equipped with a Wi-Fi module, at least because of its size. However, the achievements of scientists in this area inspire optimism – microchips with a size of only 1 mm 2 with low power consumption have already been created . With it, almost any device can connect to the network.
The Internet of Things is developing so rapidly that there is a shortage of highly skilled programmers who will be able to implement and maintain IoT systems.
Obstacles, of course, exist, but they are not insurmountable, and over time, humanity will find a solution to all these problems.
What awaits us in the near future
Our near future is houses that can independently control the microclimate, manage all systems and optimally use resources, self-driving cars, solving the problem of traffic jams, medical devices that will help doctors analyze the condition of patients. All spheres of our life are in for a qualitative leap in the coming decades.
Despite the fact that some scientists and researchers express their concern about the rapid development of technology, in particular the fusion of IoT with artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things can bring many beneficial changes to our lives. And it depends only on us how quickly these changes will take place.