IoT applications

We have been exploring the Internet of Things from chapter one, and at this point, it is time to touch some of the IoT applications making our lives easier. Many industries are already adopting the capabilities of connected devices in their operations, and as we go further, you will understand the far-reaching nature of the Internet of Things.

Smart and Connected Cities

The simplest explanation of a smart city is that city which utilizes new technology and digitalization to improve and simplify the lives of the residents, businesses operating within the environs and visitors that come into the city. When we talk about smart cities, we think about the Internet of Things. Since IoT focuses on making devices smarter, application of IoT on any city will automatically turn it into a smart city. Also, no city can be smart without the presence of connected devices that are constantly interacting with one another. Therefore, it takes connectivity and accessible data to create a smart city and that is where IoT comes in.

IoT applications in smart cities are evident in some of the smart devices being used in such cities. Right now, smart cities use traffic lights that monitor patterns and changes to enable them to adjust their timing for smooth traffic flow. Also, these cities use sensors to monitor the quality of the air, wearable devices which first respondents use to monitor vital signs, garbage sensors that help city personnel to know when the need to empty dumpsters arises and parking sensors to determine when a garage has no space for additional cars (IoT Innovation, n.d.).

Smart home – Home automation

This is another IoT application that is making waves online due to its uniqueness and exciting features. A smart home is an automated home where every appliance can send and receive instruction from one another. That’s a simple explanation of what happens in such a home. Imagine a scenario where the heating, air condition, lighting can communicate and function automatically without any command from you.

A smart home can be operating on hubs or platform that will control the whole appliances in the home. One of platform or hub which can make your home smart is Apple’s HomeKit. With this App, you can control all your home products using your iPhone but with the latest iOS version. Other smart home platforms available are Google Home, Amazon Echo, Samsung’s SmartThings and Apple’s HomePod (WIKIPEDIA, n.d.)

One good thing about running these smart homes is that they save energy, time and money (KASHYAP, 2016).

Industry 4.0- Manufacturing automation

Another area which is benefiting from IoT and its products is the manufacturing sector. The Internet of Things has helped to automate industrial processes with Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Big Data. Manufacturing plants are already utilizing many IoT applications in their operations. With some of the apps, supervisors can manage inventories, facilitate production flow, and monitor development cycles. Some of these applications are evident in areas such as:

  1. Digital Twins

This app is used by manufacturing industries to reproduce a digital form of a developing product to ensure efficiency, accuracy, and effectiveness in the final product.

  1. Supply Chain Management

With IoT devices, industries can monitor what is happening in their supply chain by keeping track of their inventory system or monitoring them globally.

  1. Self-dependent systems

These machines are enhanced with IoT and ML to detect issues internally and fix them without human intervention. These self-healing capabilities help to save cost and reduce idle time thereby boosting productivity.

Apart from the above applications of IoT, other areas where industries are benefiting are workshop mirroring, smart pumping, etc. (The Manufacturer, 2019).

Health care

The application of the Internet of Things in the healthcare sector is evident in areas such as smart medical devices and connected healthcare system. The aim of integrating IoT in this sector is to help people live healthier and simpler by wearing connected devices for easy monitoring. Once a patient wears the IoT device, doctors can monitor and collect personalized data of their patients whenever necessary. By this, it will be easier for them to develop strategies to fight illness (KASHYAP, 2016).

Some of the innovations in medicine using IoT can be seen in areas of:

  • Cancer Treatment
  • Insulin pens and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM)
  • Closed-loop insulin delivery (Automated)
  • Connected Inhalers
  • Ingestible sensors
  • Connected contact lenses
  • Apple App for monitoring depression
  • Coagulation testing
  • Apple’s ResearchKit & Parkinson’s Disease
  • ADAMM Asthma Monitor (Econsultancy, 2019).

Agriculture and Environment

The need for food due to increasing population has brought IoT into Agriculture. The idea of automating farming has taken roots in the sector. Farmers are now using advanced research and techniques to increase their food production. With data generated by IoT devices, farmers can now identify the suitable soil nutrients and moisture levels for different plants, control the rate of water usage as it affects plant growth, and determine the best fertilizers to apply on different plants (KASHYAP, 2016).

When it comes to the IoT applications in the agricultural sector, you will find the evidence in areas such as:

  • Precision farming
  • Agricultural Drones
  • Livestock Monitoring
  • Smart Greenhouses
  • Crop Management
  • Cattle management and monitoring
  • Farm Management Systems, etc. (Eastern Peak, 2019).

Energy, Oil, and Gas

The impact of IoT in the energy sector can be seen in the form of energy engagement. With real-time data as generated by the Internet of Things devices, the future of power grids looks positive. With IoT applications into the operations of the power grids, we can be sure of smartness as well as the reliability of the system. With the advent of smart grids, data collection will become automatic and with it, analyzing consumer and supplier’s behavior towards electricity will be easier. Also, we can be sure of the efficiency and economical use of electricity (KASHYAP, 2016).

In the oil and gas sector, IoT applications can be seen in areas such as;

  • Data Management
  • Asset Monitoring and Tracking
  • Health & Safety
  • Predictive & Preventive Maintenance
  • Remote Services (Lee, 2019).

Construction

When it comes to IoT application in the construction industry, you will notice the impacts on areas such as:

  • Advanced worker’s Safety

IoT application in construction has eliminated the need for smartphones use on job sites by providing gadgets such as fall detector. This app works as a wearable device and will automatically notify the right people if a worker falls. Some of these wearables are also attached to workers helmets, vests, and boots.

  • Automated Workflows.

With the advent of RFID tags and sensors, equipment servicing and material ordering are now automatic. Workers can easily get a notice that they need to order some materials and also know when to carry out preventive maintenance on equipment.

  • Real-Time Reporting

People who are in the offices can get real-time progress of what is happening at the job sites even without them being there. With IoT devices such as drones, video cameras, and other internet-connected devices, getting reports becomes easy.

  • Increased lifespan for buildings.

With IoT-enabled devices such as circuit breakers, digital power meters, and smart thermostats, operators can easily monitor energy consumption in a particular building. Also, whenever there is an abnormality in the building, the notifications go very fast to the stakeholders who will ensure that they mitigate the problems (Clavero, 2018).

Public safety & Surveillance

Keeping the public safe from unforeseen dangers is always the priority of every government. By employing the use of smart devices, a lot of improvement is now evident in this sector. Few of the safety measures that are contributing to promote safety thanks to IoT are:

  • Wearable Safety trackers

When young girls and children put this device on, they are more protected than before, and parents find it easier to relax. The reason is that law enforcement agencies can easily track them if anything happens to them. With devices such as smartwatches, the police can determine when a child is afraid or in danger through his/her heartbeat.

  • IoT-enabled surveillance networks

The era of ordinary street cameras is gone and replaced with smart cameras that can be used to prevent crimes instead of only solving them. There are advanced surveillance cameras that have sensors to detect when a crime is about to happen. Nowadays, these smart cameras can report anomalies in public areas thereby galvanizing security agents into action.

  • Smarter law enforcement operations

IoT has improved the operations of our law enforcement agencies. With data collected from Internet-connected devices, security officials can access real-time data and analyze them to take proactive actions (Joshi, These 3 IoT applications are taking care of your safety, ladies! 2019).

Transportation

The Internet of Things has also reached to the transportation industry and is contributing to easing of operational processes. Some of the areas where the impact is clear are:

  • Fleet Management

This is an IoT technology that helps business leaders to achieve operational efficiency, manage fuel consumption, reduce cost, ensure regulatory compliance and fasten response time during accidents. With features such as geo-fencing, GPS tracking, customized dashboards, key players in the industry can take business decisions in real-time.

  • Smart Inventory Management

IoT has provided the industry with the fastest and smartest way to manage their inventory in warehouses, production and distribution center. With this, inventory and maintenance costs are reduced.

  • Geo-fencing

This is an advanced GPS that captures the real-time location of a device or an asset using the coordinates of the area. With geo-fencing, drivers try hard to remain on their duty posts since any form of deviation is reported.

  • Management of Public Transit

Real-time tracking of public vehicles has now made it possible to know their locations and when they will arrive at their destination (Verma S., 2018).

Aerospace and aviation

The far-reaching benefits of IoT can be seen in the aerospace and aviation industry as well. Many customers can attest to the fact delays and cancelled flights due to maintenance have reduced greatly. IoT is helping engineers to ensure that such scenarios do not occur.  These days, aerospace engineers can identify areas that require maintenance and fix them to prevent a complete breakdown. Therefore, maintenance technicians no longer need to fix these issues after they occur but prevent them from happening in the first place.

Other areas apart from predictive maintenance are that technicians now use sensors to get meaningful data that will tell them when an Airplane is about to fail. With such information, they can plan preventive maintenance schedules to stop such system failure (Edelen, 2017).

When it comes to aviation, IoT is enhancing areas such as fuel efficiency, reliability, customer satisfaction, quality, etc. With applications like smart baggage, Cloud Computing, tracking passengers, actions, alerts, and great improvements have been seen in this industry. Also, most of the modern engines operating in the industry are now using up to five thousand sensors to generate large data in a bid to improve aircraft maintenance (Poothireddy, 2017).

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