To put it in simple words, IoT refers to things that are connected to the Internet. When we think about the internet, we usually visualize a computer, cell phone or tablet with a screen and a mechanical or virtual keyboard, a web browser such as Google Chrome, Safari or Firefox, where you look for web pages and interact with the web. Well, now there is something called embedded computing, which means that a device that you don’t think of as “smart” is now smart because, even though it doesn’t have those elements mentioned above, it is connected to the internet. Just to start with some examples, think about smart watches, smart TVs, and wearables such as a bracelet that tracks the number of steps you take every day and sends that information to the cloud and can be accessed and visualized on an app in your cell phone or from a website; think about smart houses, lamps or air conditioners that use sensors to turn on or off automatically according to the amount of light or the temperature or that can be controlled using an app. We are used now to a printer being connected to a computer through a cable, but a printer that sends a notification when its ink levels are running low and can order a cartridge before it runs out or that can receive printing orders from a cell phone is a smart printer.
IoT connects things, applications, people, devices and data through the internet. It enables remote control of things, interaction with them and integration of multiple devices and apps. The potential growth of IoT is estimated at 50 billion connected devices; a number that exceeds the world’s population. This volume of devices entail a number of challenges. First of all, the development of hardware that is small and powerful enough to process information in an efficient way and perform in a reliable way; the increase of access to fast networks that are capable of handling this huge number of connected devices; cloud storage services that are reliable and secure enough to store the amount of information that will be created by all these smart things; the development of big data to filter useless information and artificial intelligence to process and turn all these raw data into useful information; finally, security, being surrounded by smart devices and things that store information about our health, daily activities, and other sensitive information represents and enormous challenges for people to be willing to trust smart things.
IoT will allow us to monitor complex processes and tasks in real time. This will facilitate data-driven decision-making at all times.
Sensors will allow to monitor and detect a decrease in performance in machines before they turn into failures that can cause a complete stop in a process.
Self-driving cars obviously depend on smart cameras that need to use AI to identify moving objects, calculate the speed and distance of other cars. Even traditional cars that can identify the level of light to turn the lights automatically are already using IoT; systems that monitor the battery charge level, tire pressure can prevent accidents and failures due to lack of maintenance.
In public transport, IoT can provide more security by tracking the location of vehicles, their speed and driving behavior.
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Connecting information about the use of electricity, water, internet or gas and allowing public utility companies and individual users about their consumption can increase awareness of what appliances or gadgets are responsible for high consumption and have an impact on it.
Sensors that can monitor the environment: light, temperature, humidity and the presence of nutrients in the soil, and regulate the need to water or use fertilizers to optimize the use of water.
Internet of Things combined with Artificial Intelligence can help have more sustainable homes by saving electricity in the use of lighting, heating and air conditioning systems. Smart gadgets and appliances like refrigerators that can use image recognition to help you keep track of the food you have in your refrigerator, coffee makers that start at a programmed time; monitoring security cameras from your cell phone and also controlling access to your home remotely are some of the options that are already possible.
Pace makers that can send data to an app and can identify irregularities in a timely manner.
Sensors that can monitor and store information like temperature, blood pressure, heart beat rate, exercise level, sleep quality and time, et cetera can help both patients and health practitioners have more reliable data to track habits and focus on prevention of disease.
Wearable devices that can detect brain activity and monitor attention and concentration levels to assist instruction in schools.
Monitoring inventories in shops, or even vending machines can increase efficiency and improve sales.
IoT can help monitor seismic activity, drops in temperature, wind speed, humidity among others that can help anticipate earth quakes, volcano eruptions, storms and provide timely warnings to improve reaction times in natural disasters.
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