What is IoT?

IoT has shaped and transformed a wide plethora of industries by connecting devices, automating processes, and boosting productivity. Besides, specialized branches of IoT, such as IIoT and IoMT, are revolutionizing many industries today, the pace of which is only going to increase in the forthcoming future.

Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a system involving different connected devices that interact or ‘talk’ to each other, sharing data to execute various tasks. As IoT promises a ‘smart’ civilization in the coming decades, intelligent homes, smart cars, wearables, and many connected devices have entered the picture, set to evolve the digital landscape and how netizens interact with each other. The projected number of IoT devices in the world in 2021 is around 46 billion. It is more than two-fold growth since 2018 when there were 22 billion connected devices.

(Image source: Pixabay)

What is IoT?

IoT encompasses billions of connected devices spread across the world. Thanks to high-speed internet (and the evolution of cellular network technology – to 5G), the world moves towards a more intelligent tomorrow, which would make sharing and collection of colossal amounts of data as quickly as it has ever been!  Besides high-speed internet, the omnipresence of wireless networks and the availability of economical hardware now virtually connects everything. Any device integrated with sensors can bank on digital intelligence to communicate in real-time. The entire process works without the intervention of humans. Eventually, IoT is fostering a responsive and more intelligent world, amalgamating physical and digital universes.

Some examples and applications of IoT Devices and Systems

IoT devices are everywhere, ranging from smartwatches to smart homes. Apart from these consumer-oriented devices, there are connected enterprise equipment, robots, machines, and smart-workers in futuristic industrial facilities and factories. No wonder IoT would be ushering in the fourth industrial revolution.

Have a look at some examples to get a broader idea about the potential of IoT.

  • Smart Home: Automated homes are now a reality. Smartphone-enabled features allow homeowners to monitor their appliances from miles away. Even people sitting at remote offices can switch on or off their AC, refrigerator, or other gadgets using smartphones. There are also intelligent locks, baby monitors, CCTV cameras, and other security appliances connected digitally.
  • Smart Buildings: Smart buildings come with intelligent technologies, including facial recognition, motion-detected lighting, and biometric access control. Deploying intelligent systems in buildings can help optimize expenses on electricity, water consumption, and other resources.
  • Smart Cities And Smart Nations: The Forbes Magazine declared London, New York, Paris, and a few others the smartest cities in the world in 2020. Deploying IoT in various domains like urban planning, technology, transportation, environment, and other areas, more such cities with connected systems are likely to develop. These cities would include innovative housing, intelligent urban planning, and reduced traffic congestion.

How Does IoT Work?

The IoT environment consists of seven elements, each of which executes its part. These include:

  • Connectivity
  • Connected devices
  • Data
  • Communication
  • Intelligence
  • Action
  • Ecosystem

An IoT ecosystem essentially consists of internet-enabled intelligent devices. These devices come integrated with embedded systems like sensors, processors, and communication hardware. As a result, they can collect, dispatch, or act on the available data as programmed. Devices connected to the system share the data as compiled by these sensors. They manage this data by communicating with edge devices or IoT gateways. The data may be analyzed locally or in cloud systems. The devices can perform most of the tasks without any intervention from humans. However, people can interact with these smart devices, providing instructions to set them up.

Protocols in the connected devices primarily differ depending on IoT applications, networking, connectivity, and communication. Besides, IoT can also deploy Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to collect and process data.

Types of IoT

Three broad categories of IoT are there, although the second and third ones are the wider applications of the main category. These are:

  • IoT (Internet of Things)
  • IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things)
  • IoMT (Internet of Medical Things)

Although these systems have a similar character, connected devices and intelligent systems at the center, IIoT and IoMT are used explicitly in manufacturing and the medical field, respectively. On the other hand, IoT is the broadly used category for consumer usage. While IIoT is more concerned with industrial applications, supply chain management, and agriculture, IoMT involves integrating medical applications and devices to connect and manage healthcare IT systems. In general, IoT involves IIoT or IoMT plus remote monitoring, wearables, asset tracking, etc.

Benefits of IoT Devices and IoT Ecosystem

Organizations from all industry verticals can heavily benefit from IoT. While some of these benefits are conditioned to specific industries, others are applicable across many sectors. Some key benefits of IoT for enterprises are:

  • Saving time and money
  • Monitoring different processes of business
  • Enhancing the overall CX (customer experience)
  • Adapting fresh business models and integrating them
  • Boosting up the revenue generation

Through IoT, enterprises get the opportunity to rethink and evaluate the way they approach business. Besides, it provides them with strategic tools to streamline their marketing campaigns.

IoT also has got the potential to revolutionize agriculture, easing up the job for farmers. With sensors collecting data on temperature, humidity, rainfall, and soil condition, it is possible to automate several farming processes. Even within structural buildings, sensors can monitor the ambient infrastructure. It would enhance the operations being carried out in bridges, buildings, and other places. It would save time and cost significantly by boosting the workflow.

Every industry, including finance, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and banking, has the scope to capitalize on IoT and reap huge benefits.

IoT Applications

  1. Finance: IoT is here to revolutionize the finance sector, particularly in investment, insurance, and personal banking. Using IoT, the service providers can identify customized products that might suit individuals. Data analytics primarily deploys IoT, where the institutions need to evaluate huge amounts of data available on customers. Payment data, geolocation, and payment data collection through connected devices streamline the process.
  1. Banking: IoT leverages the banking sector in several ways, leveraging payment security and producing valuable insights. In the process, it fosters better wealth management. With IoT in the banking sector, financial institutions can speedily accumulate information while broadening their range of insights. Banks can also alert users in case their financial stability comes under threats. Enhanced transparency and automation of transactions are other benefits of IoT.
  1. Transportation: IoT has already proven to be effective in vehicular traffic management in metropolitans. This contributes to developing smart cities. In this process, mobile handsets are used to collect data and share the same from vehicles. This data passes through Google Maps or similar applications. This helps in contributing to effective traffic monitoring, displaying the traffic conditions in various routes while gaining relevant information on estimated time to arrive and distance. IoT is also effective in fleet management.
  1. Industrial Automation: In the industrial setting, IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) will be the game-changer, and this is likely to bring about the fourth industrial revolution. Already, interconnected instruments, sensors, and other devices are being networked together to automate processes. Amalgamating IoT, big data, cloud computing, and fast internet, researchers have been using this power to automate different industries. This results in time savings, significantly boosting productivity.
  1. Healthcare: IoT is revolutionizing healthcare, with sensors and wearables connected to patients. This enables doctors to keep a watch over their condition remotely in real-time. IoT monitors specific metrics continually and alerts the doctors with automated signs. In the process, it prevents lethal events in patients under high risk. Presently, hospitals also have smart beds equipped with customized sensors. These systems can observe body temperature, oxygen level, and blood pressure and report the same.
  1. Manufacturing: IoT presents different industries with the opportunity to digitize their manufacturing processes. This mechanism involves the use of sensors that can collect vital production data from other gadgets. By deploying cloud software, the manufacturers can gain valuable insights regarding the efficiency of their units. This brings them several benefits, including shorter time to market, reduced cost, enhanced safety, and mass customization.

How does The Future look for IoT?

IoT presents the world with limitless potential to exploit data and technology. In the coming years, integrated AI and better network agility will further boost advancements in the industrial internet. Eventually, IoT would be working at hyper-scale, automating, deploying, orchestrating, and securing numerous systems.

With billions of connected devices operating simultaneously, the world would have massive capacities of actionable data. Eventually, it can automate different business processes and evolve the digital ecosystems of today.

Final Words

With IoT ecosystems overcoming possible digital hurdles, fresh streams of revenue are on the cards. However, cyber threats would continue to be one of the issues that can slow down or even jeopardize this massive digital revolution. A calculated approach with adequate countermeasures to address such adversaries can help the world realize the true potential of IoT. In all likelihood, IoT would usher in the fourth industrial revolution, taking internet applications to levels that have not been touched yet.

Disclaimer:  The author of this text, Jean Chalopin, is a global business leader with a background encompassing banking, biotech and entertainment.  Mr. Chalopin is Chairman of Deltec International Group,

The co-author of this text, Robin Trehan, has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, a Master’s in International Business and Finance, and an MBA in Electronic Business.  Mr. Trehan is a Senior VP at Deltec International Group,

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this text are solely the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Deltec International Group, its subsidiaries, and/or its employees.