IoT has impacted many aspects of our daily lives – our households, our work, how we commute, entertain, and rest. Smart homes, smart buildings, connected cars, and smart cities have already shifted the traditional realms into a high-tech lifestyle. Nowadays you can optimize the levels of lighting in your bedroom to set them into a sleep mode, and the future of IoT applications will bring us so much more – our cleaning will be automatically organized, grocery shopping done, and our homes will be better protected.
From connected cars and smart city lighting to home automation systems, robotics, asset tracking, and supply management optimization, the IoT market is forecasted to reach $1111.3 billion by 2026, with the number of connected devices growing to 75 billion in 2025.
But to understand how IoT creates real economic value, it’s worth going beyond the hype and looking at the full potential of the Internet of Things technologies.
Industrial IoT: smart industry solutions
The advancement of cloud and 5G will transform plenty of industries, especially the manufacturing field. The aim of Industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions is to optimize operational efficiency incorporating automation, intelligent manufacturing and smart industry solutions, industrial control applications, and predictive maintenance. IIoT offers innovative approaches towards improving customers’ experience and channeling new revenue models that will lead to industrial digital transformation.
But all technical advancements have two sides. The other side of industrial digital transformation is that manufacturing businesses tend to be skeptical about it and avoid the transition to IoT. They dismiss the real value that IoT can generate to them, and consider it just as some fancy new dashboard.
It may be hard to realize the capabilities of IIoT and simply jump on the IoT-adoption train without a full IoT stack in place, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. Businesses tend to plan in advance. But one thing the Covid outbreak has taught us, do not to underestimate the power of digitalization in managing operations and communications.
By 2027, the IIoT market is envisioned to reach $263,4 billion.
According to McKinsey & Company research, there are six myths that hold business leaders back from embracing IIoT technology. One of them is that digitalization requires total readiness. Luckily, there are Agile methodologies enabling businesses to rapidly develop and iterate quickly, and learn along the way.
Industrial IoT connects networked sensors and smart devices across such industry verticals as:
- Manufacturing & retail
- Logistics & transportation
- Mining and metals
- Oil & gas
- Energy and utilities
Leveraging advanced data analytics IIoT is empowered to bring transformational business outcomes and new opportunities. And by 2027, the IIoT market is envisioned to reach $263,4 billion.
With IIoT, businesses will enhance their operational efficiency and productivity, maximizing utilization of their assets and applying innovative production processes. There are other benefits of IIoT that can dramatically impact the business performance: reduction of costs, time savings, elimination of human errors, a better understanding of customer demands, and industrial safety.
Let’s take a closer look at applications of IIoT:
1. Remote monitoring and asset management
Remote monitoring, tracking, and asset control can save energy and costs. Moreover, a 360-degree view of each stage during the production process can help make real-time adjustments to achieve a seamless flow of manufacturing and prevent defects.
Organizations that incorporate smart devices into their factory operations, supply chain, and logistics can remotely monitor and manage the performance of assets and gain full visibility in terms of shipment tracking, damage prevention, traceability issues, monitoring conditions, etc. For example, intelligent IoT sensors ensure proper storing conditions are maintained during the transportation of products. And adding IoT to the traditional linear manufacturing supply chains will transform them into dynamic digital supply networks (DSN) with efficient and advanced manufacturing, asset performance management, and control.
AWS IIoT solutions allow manufacturers to collect valuable data to efficiently control material flow, detect bottlenecks at the early stages, monitor asset condition, and ensure optimized operation of machinery and equipment.
2. Predictive maintenance
With Industrial IoT, the risk of equipment downtime is eliminated and as a bonus, it also impacts the safety of workers. Making predictions based on collected data from IoT sensors have become easier than ever before. The manufacturer can predict the potential breakdown or dangerous situation in the factory before it happens. The IoT sensors analyze temperature, vibrations, sound parameters and provide the manufacturer with immediate data on the current situation.
Such market players as Dell and Cisco, Oracle, Siemens have built solutions to securely connect assets and get real-time visibility of operating processes with automated preventative maintenance.
3. Smart robotics
IoT sensors are used to measure the incoming streams snd collect digital data about the system, and smart robots powered by this real-time data can react accordingly.
Incorporating AI solutions and Ml algorithms into high-tech IoT robots will help industrial automation progress. With 5G low latency and unbelievable speeds, industrial robots could do more advanced tasks which will let businesses achieve more than ever.
Applying IIoT to smart robotics will improve overall business efficiency and cohesiveness – robots’ will play a great role in streamlining business operations and businesses will get real-time supply chain visibility.
IoT in agriculture: precision farming
The agricultural field is currently experiencing a decline in the human workforce which triggers the adoption of connected farming solutions that reduce human involvement in agriculture processes.
Hundred of years ago, manufacture was carried out manually, and afterward, the First Industrial Revolution gave rise to steam power and the cotton gin. From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, large factories experienced advancement in their working practices: chemical fertilizers, grain elevators, use of electricity, and satellites to adjust their workflows.
Specialized equipment, wireless connectivity, sensors, drones, and IoT solutions in general, are the next steps in reinventing farming as we know it.
By 2023, the global agriculture IoT market is expected to reach approximately $30 billion.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, due to the exponential growth of the world’s population, global agricultural production will increase by almost 70 percent by 2050.
These stats show that the farmers have started to embrace smart technologies to close the supply-demand gaps, reduce waste and operational costs, achieve high crop yields via smart spraying, and obviously, enhance productivity. In fact, precision farming empowers farmers with the ability to ensure optimum application of resources, leverage advanced analytics, and monitor production results remotely.
So, what are the main benefits of IoT applications in agriculture?
1. Data collection by smart devices
In order to improve the efficiency of daily workflows and track the state of business in general, smart farming techniques (control systems, drones, sensors, automated vehicles, motion detectors, wearable devices, etc.) are applied. Also, ground- or aerial-based drones are used to perform field analysis, monitor crops and assess their health, spray or irrigate if needed.
All these advanced technologies capturing real-time data can help:
- enhance production output
- minimize costs and energy consumption
- preserve resources
- track equipment efficiency
- foresee the output of production
Smart agricultural sensors and drones can be applied in the fields to define soil’s acidity or temperature. In this way, if the soil moisture decreases, sensors can be deployed to irrigate the soil. Farmers can use mobile technologies to monitor their equipment, crops, the amount of seeds, etc. For instance, to track field activity and accomplish harvest efficiency, John Deere uses IoT sensor solutions that provide real-time data on seeds density, vehicle state, etc., and are sent to the cloud.
2. Smart greenhouses
In contrast to conventional approaches where environmental parameters of greenhouse farming are controlled manually, smart greenhouses have a self-regulating microclimate that eliminates human intervention. Therefore, such self-controlled automated environments will impact production and energy efficiency.
With smart greenhouses monitoring crops, farm managers will have 24/7 access to real-time insights processed in the IoT cloud platform and turned into actionable analytics. A farmer can use these intelligent data to regulate irrigation, lighting, spraying, and the climate in general.
Moreover, insights from big data and analytics can be used to make predictive models on the dashboards or customized mobile applications:
- Improve yield rates
- Cut down labor costs
- Eliminate human intervention
- Predict production rate
3. Livestock tracking
Utilizing wireless IoT applications, farmers are able to collect data on the well-being and health of their cattle and obtain precise stats and metrics to adjust animals’ nutrition and health care accordingly. With IoT technology, farmers can prevent the spread of diseases by identifying sick animals and separating them from the herd.
Remote monitoring caters for animals with higher precision and maintains their good health. IoT sensors in livestock farming help:
- Remotely monitor animals location
- Obtain stats on livestock feeding and produce
- Run statistical predictions to prevent the outbreaks
Smart homes: comfortable living
Nowadays it’s a common thing to ask Google or Alexa to change the track in your playlist or switch off the lights. And due to the Coronavirus pandemic, a clean indoor environment has become more important than ever. Touchless technologies have actively been implemented in 2020, and their popularity continues to grow. In the near future, homeowners are expected to embrace IoT-based cleaning and sanitation solutions to limit exposure to possible illnesses. There are already UV Light Phone Sanitizers like PhoneSoap to save phones from bacterias. Further, we should expect IoT devices incorporated into larger devices and things surrounding us (groceries, deliveries, etc.).
Smart buildings and homes full of smart devices and bots can predict our actions by analyzing our preferences, states, and needs. Sounds pretty amazing. But with AI integration, IoT can entirely transform the reality we live in.
1. Energy efficiency
Home energy management systems equipped with sensors, plugs, thermostats, and meters are not a future anymore. We are already able to adjust our heating, lighting, water to optimal levels without the need to intervene. What about robots? They are already cleaning our houses, or even teaching our children how to take care of pets like AIBO Sony.
Based on your needs and past experiences, IoT systems can bring significant shifts into the way we consume our energy and resources. Take a Nest thermostat from Google, for instance. It can help build your save-energy schedule and adjust it automatically so that the temperature will not be the same when you’re away from home or sleeping. Moreover, you will get suggestions/reminders on how to use less energy.
Not only interior energy solutions can be smart. Do you know that smart windows equipped with sensors can monitor the weather conditions and transmit the data to smart management systems that will optimize the thermostat’s settings?
2. Comfort and well-being
The evolution of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence creates more robust and disruptive solutions when combined with the Internet of Things. You might already use AI-powered gadgets to check the weather for the next day or find a recipe. However, the future of smart homes offers much more opportunities. ML algorithms capture data about the residents on the previous experiences and coordinate smart gadgets via IoT. So in the future, home bots will be able to manage your household and cook your favorite pasta.
Talking about comfort and well-being it is worth mentioning smart lighting. In smart homes, people can regulate lighting levels and color temperature to boost concentration and energy, or in contrast, to help relax. Philips Hue, for example, is a brilliant solution for home residents who want to transform their lives according to feelings.
3. Smarter security
Smart security solutions offer great ways to increase safety. For example, smart locks similar to smart lighting with predefined settings can automatically lock and unlock your home without a key and can be controlled from your smartphone.
Let’s take Yale, a manufacturer of key-free locks available in touchscreens or keypad models. Yale’s locks have in-built features to synchronize with smart homes and alarm systems. You can also add additional entry codes for those you trust.
One more example refers to smart windows that are connected to your home system and transmit data to the app so that one can check the windows remotely. Moreover, with smart windows, one can control the home’s energy efficiency as well.
4. Reducing food waste
Approximately 40% of food in our fridges is thrown away. With automated shopping lists, shopping and meal preparation can become more effortless. In today’s reality, there are already solutions offering smart tags and accessories to tag everything in your refrigerator. For instance, Ovie Smarterware is aimed at reducing food waste by incentivizing people to track their products and eat more home-cooked meals instead of eating out. Smart notifications deliver suggestions on how to use your food and even recipes provided by the database based on the contents of your fridge.
Already at the shop and do not remember what’s in your fridge? Samsung Family Hub refrigerator makes it easy to know exactly what’s inside with an easy swipe-down. In-built cameras facilitate efficient and seamless shopping from anywhere and food expiration tags will notify what’s going off.
Smart cities: sustainable future
The world’s population growth creates the need to reshape the economy and society, reinforce lifestyles and establish sustainable, efficient, and enhanced environments. Smart cities are the cities of the future that are interconnected and offer plenty of solutions to such challenges as growing traffic, climate changes, increasing urbanizations, pollution, high energy consumption, unsafety, etc.
Smart cities collect data and transmit it into comprehensive analytics platforms that further provide targeted insights to city officials and authorities. This data helps improve infrastructure, safety, eliminate energy usage and costs, cope with congestion and parking issues, and ultimately, refine urban living.
Smart cities powered by IoT technologies require modern networking solutions to exchange data with other devices and systems; so that a city will be ensured with multiple points of connectivity based on such criteria as coverage area, power consumption, data amount to transmit, security, scalability. The core areas of smart city are as follows:
- Smart transport system & traffic monitoring
- Connected cars and public transport
- Smart parking
- Smart lighting
- Improved water and waste management
- Smart public safety
- Smart government services
Next, let’s take a look at forms which the future of IoT will take in various spheres of urban living.
1. Smart transportation and traffic monitoring
According to the McKinsey report, transportation applications could have a huge economic impact—more than $800 billion per year in 2025. But how can smart urban mobility solutions bring value to smart cities?
- Traffic congestion is a widespread challenge in megalopolises which can be handled with a smart transport system. With such technologies as M2M communication, GPS, and cloud, and connected devices, data can be collected within different locations to predict traffic movements, congestion, estimate travel times, the most optimized routes, and detect incidents.
Euristiq implemented an MVP of a smart traffic monitoring system in the Dublin Port Tunnel with the typical flow of 26,700 vehicles per day, to automatically detect incidents. Such a system aggregates data from camera sensors and displays different types of alerts and real-time metrics on the map.
- In terms of efficient public transportation, data analytics can be used to monitor bus and subway routes to prevent overcrowding, delays, and identify alternative routes that eliminate possible risks on the roads.
- Being a part of smart traffic management, smart parking is the source of frustration for businesses and citizens alike. IoT systems allow drivers to direct vehicles to the available parking space, thus reducing busy roads and traffic congestion.
- Autonomous vehicles can significantly reduce traffic accidents, fuel consumption, carbon emissions, and parking demand. McKinsey estimates that elimination of traffic incidents will save 95,000 lives per year; 15 percent of parking slots could be freed up, and fuel consumption could be 15 percent lower.
- Green mobility is one more solution for healthy transport and reduction of traffic jams and CO2 emissions. For instance, Euristiq and a Danish bike rental company have partnered to develop a smart bike-rental system with an Android app for simplified renting. Euristiq also developed an intelligent bike maintenance functionality where admins can track locations, quickly resolve issues, create custom price plans, etc.
2. Smart public safety
To enhance the security and safety of citizens and to improve public health, city leaders are embracing advanced technologies such as face recognition, biometric systems, camera sensors, drones, and others.
A digitally connected system provides the city with the opportunities to capture detailed information via sensors and surveillance cameras and make effective estimations of situations. Therefore, in the case of an emergency, public safety officials, medical teams, firefighters are the first to receive push-notifications from smart systems.
Based on the research on smart, safe cities conducted by Intel and Dell we summarized the main smart public safety use cases:
- Incident and emergency detection & response. Smart lighting, low latency optical and microphone sensors, 5G solutions, can help promptly detect emergencies and send alarms to public safety officials. For example, in the case of a fire, building IoT sensors detect the temperature rise and smoke and alert the Building Management system; or a network connected to traffic signals helps ambulances move freely through the city and communicate with doctors en route.
- Gunshot detection. The chance to catch criminals increases with gunshot detectors installed in the buildings or on the streets. Public safety officials can receive immediate notifications which lead to fast responses and higher chances to save citizens’ lives. In addition, drones, wearable cameras, face recognition, videos can help identify hot spots for crime and make predictive models on other dangerous areas.
- Sensor monitoring of the city environment. To detect data anomalies, hazards, operational failures, breakdowns, IoT sensors (microphones, CO2 sensors, humidity sensors, thermostats, etc.) are implemented in infrastructure buildings. Thus, the environment is monitored to detect potential dangers to ensure citizens with higher levels of safety.
3. Smart lighting
IoT smart lighting offers a wide range of use cases for smart cities beyond the conventional illumination approach ensuring security, HVAC, and analytical data. Turning back to public safety, monitored smart lighting systems can significantly enhance citizens’ security by, for example, increasing lighting level in high crime areas or even adjusting lights to improve visibility during poor weather conditions.
Among other benefits is energy efficiency. Smart grid LED lighting significantly reduces energy consumption and subsequently improves its efficiency. Ultimately, cost electricity bills are lowered and street light usage is optimized.
A good example of a smart city lighting solution is Lumintell, an intelligent and maintenance system that streamlines street light usage by decreasing the lighting during off-peak traffic hours. This solution was developed by Euristiq for the Novalume company.
Smart cities are growing
The demand for smart cities has been growing rapidly. According to Statista, by 2025, global spending on smart cities will reach more than a trillion dollars worldwide. As of 2019, such cities as Oslo, Amsterdam, and Zurich were ranked as one of the smartest cities with an index score of nearly 8 out of 10.
So why are these cities recognized as the ones leading the way? For example, with 12,000 datasets across every urban district, Amsterdam is known for its City Data open source database which citizens can access with Bluetooth devices. There is one housing development that allows to distribute and store power based on demand; another solution uses carbon dioxide to generate electricity. Smart lighting is also an essential factor for Amsterdam’s city energy efficiency: for example, pedestrians and cyclists can regulate city lighting levels from their mobile apps.
Oslo aims to cut CO2 emissions and intelligently adjust the amount of lighting with electric vehicles, smart grids, and EV-charging technology. Their goal is to cut emissions by 95 percent by 2023, and 650,000 LED lights connected to the processing stations confirm the city’s smart intentions.
According to the IESE Cities in Motion Index 2020, London, New York, and Paris are declared as the smartest cities in the world as per nine dimensions (economy, environment, mobility and transportation, governance, etc.). For more information on city comparison, check out this interactive map.
IoT in healthcare
IoT has brought a wide range of use cases that provide more advanced and optimized solutions to manage life and health. Wearable devices such as smartwatches can monitor health conditions and gather data to predict illnesses; ingestible sensors, being a high-tech fiction fantasy, can collect data inside our bodies to monitor medication and detect irregularities.
According to Statista forecasts, the number of healthcare IoT devices is anticipated to increase to 25.8 million units by 2025, and the healthcare industry revenue is expected to grow up to $135,87 billion by 2025. Here are the benefits that medical institutions, healthcare workers, and patients can leverage from IoMT (Internet of Medical Things):
- For patients → Real-time data tracking. Smart medical devices connected to an app collect health metrics such as blood pressure, oxygen, heart rate, temperature, etc. allowing to generate alerts to doctors about an emergency as soon as possible. With the reports based on data, patients can be recommended hands-on treatments with better accuracy.
- For doctors → Correct diagnoses. With smart devices and sensors, doctors could stay closer with their patients even remotely, and analyze collected data for more accurate diagnoses.
- For hospitals → Tracking staff and inventory locations. Hospitals can benefit from improved hygiene conditions, drug management, equipment control, automated pill reminders.
IoMT use cases:
1. Connected monitoring and treatment
Health conditions can be monitored and controlled with IoT devices, ensuring more effective treatment. For example, for those suffering from diabetes, it is vital to regularly measure the level of glucose. Continuous and automatic monitoring by IoT devices is a perfect way to alert the patients about problem detection. The same is with heart rate monitoring which eliminates constant visits to doctors. Moreover, heart attacks can be predicted if an IoT device detects the formation of clots in the blood. During the pandemic, hospitals have started to use IoT devices to remind people entering the hospital to sanitize their hands.
2. Emergency waiting time reduction
IoT-enabled devices can track room occupancy, improve hospital resource management and thus reduce emergency room waiting times. In New York, Mt. Sinai Medical Center implemented IoT-powered software AutoBed which tracks occupancy of 1200 units and provides the best-fit solution for each patient. This software can not only optimize time and efforts for doctors and nurses but also save the lives of patients who are not aware of their critical conditions. With the implementation of AutoBed software, waiting times were reduced by 50%.
3. Ingestible sensors
Ingestible sensors give doctors the opportunity to collect data from digestive and other body systems and access accurate information about the patients’ needs. Having microscopic size, ingestible sensors can penetrate with pills and dissolve in the stomach. Connected with other sensors placed on the body, the combined data can be used to predict the right medication dose for the patient when it’s most needed.
4. Robotic surgery
Robotic surgery is performed by small smart devices with minimal disruption into the human body. These IoT devices must be able to perform a surgery in a less invasive way and interpret complex conditions inside the body compared to humans who cannot always provide accurate decisions on how to proceed with the surgery. Also, robotic surgeries heal faster.
The first robotically assisted surgical device was used in Paraguay, by Virtual Incision Corporation to resect the colon. The surgery was a success and the patients recovered well.
5. Connected inhalers
Smart inhalers can monitor the frequency of asthma attacks and also help identify the triggers. With wearable asthma monitors, a person can take preventive measures in time. They are connected via Bluetooth to a mobile app where the owner gets notifications when an inhaler is used improperly, about potentially dangerous conditions, or when it is left accidentally at home.
To the future of IoT
There is so much to be gained from a new reality powered by IoT. With the help of connected devices, industries can expect better outcomes, advanced production outputs, minimized costs, better productivity, workflow optimization, health improvement and comfort, and much more. The use of the Internet of Things and AI applications and the increasing number of connected devices becomes more mainstream and accessible.
Smart traffic monitoring, green mobility, smart city lighting – our teams have experience in these smart city solutions mentioned above and even more. Contact us about your IoT project, and we’d be happy to help you with your IoT adoption.