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Implications of Rise of the Internet of Things in Our Lives

The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to revolutionize our world, and while its effects are already becoming apparent, we are only at the inception of its transformative journey. This article provides an overview of the current progress toward IoT standardization and what experts foretell.

In the near future, almost every device and object you own will be connected to the Internet, whether through your smartphone, footwear, or everyday household appliances. Courtesy of the leading IoT development services, Many household devices like the thermostat, security system, smoke detector, doorbell, and refrigerator are connected, but we should be excited with how the technology can reform urban life. IoT is already transforming cities with cleaner energy, water, transportation, and safety management. Additionally, the potential for IoT to improve productivity in the manufacturing sector is incredible and drives significant innovation.

As technology continues to evolve rapidly, the next decade will look starkly different from 2016, in large part due to the IoT boom. The concept of IoT can be difficult to grasp. To many, it presents as a cacophony of several sophisticated, seemingly unrelated technologies jumbled together in a coherent way. Therefore, this article will explore the plans underway to build a future IoT.

Radical technological transformation

Gartner Inc., a technology consulting firm, predicts that the number of connected devices worldwide will increase by 30% this year, reaching 6.4 billion. This figure is expected to soar to 21 billion by 2020. According to Gartner, more than half of new business processes and systems will integrate IoT by 2020. As the cost of incorporating sensors and connecting physical things to other devices, systems, and people decreases, the impact on both consumers and businesses continues to escalate.

Chuck Evanhoe, a futurist and technologist who has extensive knowledge on IoT, sheds more light into the proliferation of internet-connected devices. He believes that IoT will significantly improve information for both consumers and businesses. The impact of IoT will be far-reaching and improve all systems that we use in our daily lives.

While the media often focuses on the secular applications of IoT in consumer technologies, the potential benefits extend far beyond everyday life. Interneted devices have the potential to increase efficiency and cut costs in production and manufacturing, making the work coordination and output better.

Evanhoe highlights the multiple merits of IoT, stating that “From smart appliances to the smart factory, we will have more accurate information, greater control, and insights into the appendages required to function. By digitalizing the world, systems can run autonomously until they require certain human interventions such as predictive maintenance.”

Transitioning to Industry 4.0

The traditional manufacturing sector is undergoing a major transformation with the advent of smart manufacturing or Industry 4.0 – the fourth wave of the Industrial Revolution. Technological advancements based on IoT are now making factories more intelligent, secure, and eco-friendly. This integration allows factories to access an array of smart manufacturing solutions, which streamline the production process, leading to substantial improvements in production efficiency and cost reduction. The advent of IR4.0 is expected to result in billions of dollars in revenue and productivity over the next decade.

IoT enables manufacturers to closely watch the lifecycle of products and understand consumer behavior, allowing them to make necessary tweaks to product design and features. This information helps manufacturers’ acheive faster product adoption and sales. A recent survey conducted by Gartner predicts that 43% of enterprises will adopt IoT by the end of this year, with the oil, gas, utilities, and manufacturing sectors being the biggest adopters.

In the automotive industry, IoT brings about changes that are yet to be fully realized. The Internet of Things is already affecting the way carmakers design and envision the future of their fabrications. As more connected cars enter the market and consumers demand more technology in their vehicles, the impact of IoT will become consolidated.

Igor Demay, Chair of ISO/TC 22, Road vehicles, notes that IoT in the automotive sector started with navigation systems “changing dramatically the relationship between the driver and the vehicle.” The second phase involved “mirror devices” such as mobile phones and portable navigation units called nomadic devices. The third and upcoming phase will consist of advanced driver-assistance systems and self-driving solutions.

Uneasy road ahead

The Internet of Things (IoT) can be challenging and overwhelming, especially with the ongoing debates surrounding standardization. The main obstacle IoT faces today  is the absence of uniform standards. While some aspects of IoT technology lack standards, others have multiple standards with no clear benchmark. This leads to a disjointed communication method which restricts the usefulness of connected machines to only their own brands.

To grasp the difficulties caused by the lack of standards in product development and industrial progress, let’s examine the connectivity roadblocks. For instance, if a smart footwear company and a smart office technology company use different communications protocols, their products will have minimal compatibility. However, if they both used the same standard, they could work together seamlessly.

It’s no surprise that IoT has become a topic of great interest in the standards community. To address the issue, ISO/IEC joint technical committee JTC 1, has established a Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) related to Industry 4.0, which aims to develop a blueprint for the interoperability of IoT systems. The SAG Chair, Kai Rannenberg, believes a network connectivity which facilitates the exchange of data is critical. He also believes that the IoT “opens up great opportunities,” but also poses major risks when data collection is excessive or when devices connected to the Internet are not designed to handle these challenges.

Rannenberg sees standards as a way to leverage IoT technologies and build more efficient, made-to-order systems. He believes that there will be interfaces, and standards are needed to avoid them becoming impediments in bringing products to market. He also envisions a set of standards that would ensure that all devices linked to the web can communicate undeterred with one another, regardless of the operating system or manufacturer of the device.

Collaborating and sharing

ISO is focused on instilling collaboration in the effort to establish standards for the Internet of Things (IoT). Along with interest groups and industry consortia, ISO, IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), and ITU (International Telecommunications Union) recently joined forces for a workshop on IoT standards in Berlin, Germany. The German Institute for Standardization (DIN) and the ISO member for the country, hosted the event and was spearheaded by ISO/IEC JTC 1. The purpose was to exchange experiences and learn about progresses made towards standardization in IoT among the troika.

During the workshop, experts from various industries shared their thoughts on the impact of IoT on their respective fields and presented several usage scenarios, including smart grids, smart fabrication, value chain management, and wearable smartdevices. They also discussed global issues such as renewable energy, smart cities, and smart healthcare as examples of areas where IoT could have a considerable transformative effect. Privacy, security, and reference architectures were among the cross-cutting issues discussed.

The workshop resolved that international standards are crucial in creating a global market for secure, energy-efficient, and interoperable IoT systems. Panelists agreed that prolonged collaboration between the three international standards organizations is vital for the workability of IoT.

In truth, multiple collaborative efforts will be needed before standards are finalized. We can expect to see a slew of joint efforts geared towards compatibility unfolding organically. 

Beyond connectedness

The blistering pace of change in the IoT innovation befuddles the most seasoned experts’ ability to predict the future of its standardization. Notwithstanding, the potential is without borders.

Futurists like Evanhoe, wield a deep understanding of technology trends and where they are heading. According to him, “The convergence is inevitable. IoT goes beyond connected devices with IP addresses; it encompasses all automatic identification technologies, such as RFID and barcodes, to help identify the ‘things’ in IoT. All these technologies are working together to enable IoT and its benefits.”

IoT is coiling up to connect us in ways we can’t even imagine, through our phones, wearable devices, and everyday household objects. So, if you’re pumped and looking to capitalize on the next big thing like this leading IoT development company does, then jump on the IoT standards bandwagon and brace yourself for an exciting ride.