How Can IoT Improve Our Lives?

The Internet of Things (IoT) aims to connect everyday electrical objects with each other in an extensive network to make people's lives easier and more seamless. Technopedia defines the concept as:  “The internet of things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes the idea of everyday physical objects being connected to the internet and being able to identify themselves to other devices.”

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IoT

Illustration: Milica Mijajlovic

However, consumers may wonder why is this important and what are some of the tangible benefits that can be felt today?

Stay tuned, read on!

Currently, devices dubbed as “smart” are only scratching the surface of what IoT can become. Under this smart category, we currently have refrigerators, TVs, smart locks, etc., for the end consumer, but there are much more devices for industrial and medical use. 

In essence, smart devices are outfitted with sensors that transmit data to hardware or software components inside a device which are either gathered for further analysis or produce some sort of action from the device aimed at automating certain processes. 

What are the benefits of IoT for business? 

Experts estimate that the market for IoT will surpass $2.4 trillion annually by 2027, with over 41 billion devices connected to the internet. Such predictions certainly point to the benefits that these devices will offer, but what are some concrete examples for businesses? 

By offering real-time information, IoT devices in a business can lower operating costs; for example, devices can track machine status and suggest maintenance before it can negatively affect production capacities. Furthermore, IoT devices can manage and monitor staff to assist in making better work decisions. The automaker Ford introduced body tracking sensor technology, which helped them reduce assembly line injuries by 70% and increase worker productivity and efficiency.  

Businesses often handle large amounts of customer data, which is an ideal point for IoT devices to enter the fray by tracking, monitoring, and uncovering exciting trends from the accrued data. Such processes can enhance the customer experience, make it more personalized, and increase a firm’s bottom line. Overall, the use of IoT in business settings increases the return on investment (ROI) and helps monitor each aspect of work that has the potential to streamline processes and increase delivered value.  

How can the use of IoT make your life more comfortable? 

Having smart devices take away the stress of everyday small things, like tracking your overall health, tracking and ordering meals and filling out the fridge, turning the temperature and light switches on and off, and managing important tasks and to-do lists, seems like a utopia. While there is undoubtedly more development ahead for technology, everyday lives are getting more bogged down by mundane tasks, and consumer-grade IoT devices can help manage that even now.   

Aside from the mundane tasks, IoT medical devices can literally help save lives, with the advancement in insulin pumps, patients will have an automated and discrete process of tracking blood sugar levels and insulin delivery – an artificial semi-automatic pancreas if you will.  

A similar industry to healthcare is fitness, which has been revolutionized by IoT, with wearables helping consumers track their fitness goals and assist in reaching them. Recently, devices like Peleton and Mirror introduced a new dimension of exercise on demand, connected to other users, powered by IoT technology.   

Finally, a large revolution has been underway in the vehicle space, with more and more electric vehicles offering automatic parking and even automatic driving. The connectivity of cars can have numerous benefits in terms of lowering car accident-related deaths and injuries, reducing the stress of driving in crowded streets, and creating less congested roads by exchanging information on traffic status.  

What might the internet of things do in the future? 

The future of IoT should be bright despite the short-term challenges seen in electronic component shortages across the globe. Market volatility will need to be considered when it comes to IoT projections, but the collision of IoT and Metaverse seems inevitable, even in the short term. This “collaboration” would connect the physical world with the virtual one, where digital twins (a virtual representation of a person or thing) could explode in popularity.  

IoT 2023 Trends

Photo Illustration: Freepik

In industrial use, digital twins are used for penetration testing and modeling purposes to establish stronger security, more productivity, and better plan for expansion. For consumers, digital twins could mean living a second life in the virtual world or even testing certain activities or procedures on themselves before actually committing to doing them in the real world.  

Cellular connectivity will have to improve even further for an IoT future to be in full bloom as envisioned by futurists and business leaders. Speedy pass from 2G to 5G will have to accelerate in the future, where connection quality and speed will play a major role in certain aspects of IoT, such as connected cars and traffic information exchange, which will have to be instantaneous.  

One of the most revolutionary changes that IoT technology could bring in the future is full implementation into smart cities and agricultural advances. Namely, cities and municipalities could leverage IoT technology to make the lives of their constituents better and safer. On the other hand, agricultural workers and farmers, in general, could leverage IoT to create better yields on their farms, widen their knowledge about food and soil cycles, and fight poverty and malnourishment.   

What are the advantages and disadvantages of IoT? 

Despite being innovative and helpful, IoT, like most things, has its advantages and disadvantages. While there are numerous advantages and several disadvantages, below we will cover the top 5 to present a better overview of the technology.  

Advantages  

  1. Minimize human effort – humans are not lazy by nature, but automating certain tasks can have multiple benefits for both leisure and productivity as a whole;
  2. Efficient resource utilization – by collecting large amounts of data and feedback, resources can be better utilized, and production and productivity improved;
  3. Save time – one of the main advantages of IoT is certainly to save time by either improving efficiency or by minimizing human effort, which can then be channeled for other things;
  4. Saves money – by constantly exchanging data and helping users make data-based decisions, IoT devices will help save costs and conserve energy;
  5. Increased productivity – closely linked to the previous benefit, but IoT devices will allow an exponential increase in productivity and workplace safety, as shown by Ford in the above-mentioned example.
IoT Smart House

Photo Illustration: Freepik

Disadvantages  

  1. Complexity – designing, creating, connecting, and maintaining the vast network of IoT devices will be a complex endeavor where failures could be costly and even detrimental for the end users;
  2. Security issues – network attacks will probably never go out of style, therefore for a complex interconnected network of always-on devices, network security will pose a huge risk;
  3. Unemployment – with the rise of automation, there is a possibility of lower-skilled laborers and even highly skilled ones losing their jobs, with predictions that self-driving vehicles will displace millions of drivers in the near future;
  4. Time and cost – deploying IoT devices on a large scale will involve a lot of manpower, a huge number of devices, and vast amounts of time, configuration and integration into the network will be crucial, and all of this will require skilled workers and a lot of time;
  5. Privacy issues – as the world gets more connected by the day, user data is exchanged over networks with little to no user input or, in some cases, knowledge; an IoT future will mean almost no privacy as devices will constantly juggle our personal data for various purposes.

Dino Kurbegović is a project coordinator and an investor and technology enthusiast with years of experience in managing complex projects. His journey into content writing began in 2014, covering finance, investing, crypto, technology and complex technical topics.