The concept of the Internet of Things suggests that in the near future all the everyday objects will be connected to one other in such a way that they will be able to communicate among themselves. The objects or things can be anything from devices and cars to buildings. Although the concept is generally spoken of as something that is about to happen, a large part of the technology and benefits of the Internet of Things already exists. Automated houses are a good example of this. In an automated house sensors can detect your presence and cause the lights to be switched on, the air conditioning to choose your preferred temperature, and the stereo to play your favourite music. So, in an automated house, we already have a network of devices sending and receiving data among themselves without any human interaction in between.
One of the major fields in which Internet of Things will be used is environmental monitoring. This includes the monitoring of the quality of natural resources such as air, water and soil, and even wildlife. It can also help to provide early warning of disastrous phenomena such as earthquakes. Infrastructure management is another area where the Internet of Things can make a great impact. This can include well-coordinated maintenance work on structures such as bridges and railway tracks, and also better incident management. Better monitoring can avoid risks and increase safety, and in the event of any incident, IoT can make it possible to deliver the best service in minimum time and less cost.
The Internet of Things can be of much use in the industrial sector as well. Energy optimisation, quick response to product demands, predictive maintenance and measurements leading to better health and safety management and automated controls are some of the ways in which IoT can benefit the industry. The Internet of Things can play an important role in energy management in general. Devices such as televisions, stereo, and even bulbs and switches being connected to the IoT, energy consumption can be optimised. It will be possible to control devices, such as heaters, air conditioners and ovens, from a remote location which can help with better management of energy. It will also be possible to set timers to regulate the use of many gadgets. These facilities are already available to some extent.
The possible of the Internet of Things in healthcare is immense. It can be used to monitor the health of patients and senior citizens, and assure assistant when necessary. These devices will be able to monitor the condition of the patient such as heart rate and the working of implants, and will be able to report any irregularities to the carers even when they are away from home. Home automation can make your life much easier and more comfortable. It helps you have long vacations without worrying about the safety and maintenance of your house. You can water your garden, monitor your house and even switch on your television for a while to create the impression that someone is living at the place, all when you are enjoying your holidays on the mountains or at a beach. IoT is also expected to make the transportation system more efficient with possibilities such as electronic toll collection systems and smart traffic control. Electronic Toll Collection or ETC, which is already in use in many countries like Chile, Japan and Singapore, electronically takes the toll from the bank accounts of the owners of the vehicles, which means that they do not have to stop to pay. In India, a tag lane – a lane at a toll gate designated for ETC – has started operation at Krishnagiri toll gate.
The biggest challenge is the question of security. With such vast amount of data on cloud, it is difficult to ensure privacy. There is a fear that big corporations and government bodies will be able to manipulate the society using the Internet of Things. Modern electronic devices being very difficult to recycle, there is also a concern about the environmental impact IoT can have. It is also expected that since technology develops fast, equipment linked to IoT will need replacing much faster than those equipment traditionally are replaced. This can cause concerns regarding waste disposal.IoT also allows companies to make changes to the devices they sell and even shut down the device completely, after the sale. Various organisations are still discussing and researching the possibility of ensuring privacy and safety while using IoT.
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