Internet of Things

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Somil Rastogi, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

 

Currently, the Internet is mainly operated by humans. Certainly, there are miles of fiber optic cabling and millions of routers around the world directing Internet traffic and hundreds of server farms  that are crunching numbers for optimal service. But in the core of it, the Internet is a person-to-person network and the electronics are merely there to facilitate that network.

The Internet of Things creates a network of multiple devices that communicate with each other without human involvement. This device-to-device connection mostly involves the collection of data and the processing of that data so that said devices can make their own decisions and act accordingly. Therefore the name: Internet (connectivity) of Things (devices).

The Internet of Things is a concept that requires three things in the core:

  • A technique for devices to be interconnected,
  • A technique for devices to gather data,
  • A technique for devices to process that data and make decisions accordingly.

This interconnectivity has huge implications for efficiency and automation. When utilized effectively, this no-human-involved sort of self-device-management frees us up to spend our time elsewhere. In the future, maybe it’ll save us as little as a few minutes per day or as much as several hours per day, but all of it adds up to big gains in the long run.

The Internet of things will touch every corner of our life in future. One of the common scenarios will be the prescriptive medication. A track on our health and daily habits could aid hospitals to predict ills in advance. Other sector of IOT application will be Utility- the smart electricity grid, the smart meters, connected grids and sensors in windmill and solar panels could aid us to track and manage energy usage and help us to build predictive modeling to schedule downtimes and efficient energy usage. IOT can be applied on a large scale as well such as Traffic management. If the city’s infrastructure was expanded to include roadside sensors and satellite imaging, that data could be used to analyze traffic pattern around the city and dynamically adjust the traffic light operations to minimize the choke points and jams.

The most disruptive application of IOT will be it the manufacturing sector, which will transform what things are manufactured but more importantly ‘How things are manufactured’. The future of manufacturing plant will be the Modular factory units which will be flexible manufacturing factories and integrated logistics. IOT will aid in Virtual production which involves Digital plant with Virtual inspection, through this we will be able to control and manage manufacturing facilities from miles away. Collaborative robots will aid in smart manufacturing, the activities which involves precision, personalized tasks and risk in manufacturing will be done easily. The Radio Frequency Identification (RDIF) will aid in finished products tracking as well as in real time location systems and online monitoring process, vendor parts etc.

In such a interconnected environment Data security is extremely important. Device-to-device connection is all good and dandy until a human decides to spoof part of that connection and remotely hijack a device for malpractices. This isn’t a huge problem for something like device-regulated home temperature, but losing control of city-wide traffic could spell disaster. And then there are device malfunctions. We all know how software and hardware can both be buggy, and sometimes those bugs are quite major. With regard to the Internet of Things, buggy hardware (errors in data collection) and buggy software (errors in data processing) can throw massive wrenches into the large systems that future generations may grown to depend on.

One might wonder, if we have reached at too much complexity (IOT), but the future generation of kids would think nothing of it. It seems their wonderful plastic human brains could adapt to any acceleration technology and embrace it lovingly. IOT, whatever way we think about it, whatever way we think it will turn out to be- IOT is happening. Every major global government and every major economic block is investing heavily in IOT. There are already hundred of million things connected to internet we are heading to hundred of billion things or possibly trillion trillions. And it will change our life that’s one certainty.

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