Internet of Things: The next iteration of connectivity!

Internet was born out of the need to build robust, fault-tolerant communication via computer networks.  For past decades, it has become the underlying fabric of digital communication and data exchange. It has given us the ability to transmit data almost instantly and collaborate with peers, business partners, family members no matter what their geographic location is. But how do we take this enormous powerhouse to even greater levels in order to both augment and ease our actions, decisions or processes? The answer was given by CMU in 1982 when it came out with an experimental Coke machine, the first internet-connected appliance, capable of reporting its inventory to the warehouse and the number of bottles to the users. The technology that was used is what we now know as the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, or objects that are provided with unique identifiers, sensors and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. In simpler terms it means everyday objects talking to each other, sharing information and easing human actions and lessening human interventions.

Imagine a manufacturing facility which houses complex machines! The facility owners would naturally want to reduce maintenance cost, increase asset availability, and ultimately improve customer satisfaction. IoT can enable these machines to monitor their data such as temperature, vibration, or rotation speed and issue an alert long before a breakdown happens. This data combined with ERP and enterprise asset management (EAM) systems can enable the facility to change from reactive to predictive maintenance and service, improving capacity utilization.

At a bigger level, such as city, IoT solutions can be deployed to automate otherwise cumbersome, laborious, time-consuming processes or calamitous events.  IoT enabled environmental sensors which measure wind, seismic activity, water levels and tides can provide crucial insights about eventuality of harmful events. IoT solutions can also alert citizens much before such events take place, monitor traffic and control traffic lights to help accelerate evacuation before a storm by prioritizing the outbound direction of key thoroughfares, or mobilize medical systems to cater to any eventuality. During normal conditions, IoT enabled sensors can accomplish plethora of critical tasks such as balancing power distribution, reducing traffic congestion, enhancing surveillance, or monitoring air quality. IoT holds enormous potential and it has started to be implemented at various scales globally, resulting in better productivity and reduced human efforts.

On the flip side, there is a lot of skepticism surrounding IoT solutions. The primary apprehensions are the security of the data, authentication of the device, vulnerability of devices to viruses etc.  This is analogous to the situation Internet was in 20 years ago when it was in nascent stages of its development. There have been lot of initiatives by governments to create robust security measures for IoT devices and programs. Dubai government has already launched Data Wealth initiative and the Dubai IoT Strategy, which will protect the emirate’s digital wealth and pave way for Dubai to developing a robust and advanced IoT ecosystem.

There are numerous implementations and solutions that can radically transform the way we do business, deliver policies, run cities, provide healthcare or interact with loved ones. In the future, IoT will continue to grow and become more advanced, realizing the true potential of the Internet.


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