In a time that’s brimming with exciting and groundbreaking innovations, the IoT stands out as a potential game changer — and it’s just getting started.
Although it’s more useful in some industries than others, its reach extends further than many realize, Here are some ways it’s making a difference.
1. Consumer Electronics
Much of the IoT’s functionality affects industrial machinery, collaborative robots — or cobots — and similar, professional-level electronics. But this doesn’t mean consumer electronics will go by the wayside.
There are a plethora of IoT-driven consumer devices on the market already, and there are undoubtedly more to come. Some current products include:
- Next-gen locks to secure your home, your bike and other personal belongings
- Bluetooth-connected devices that attach to other items — like your keys or the TV’s remote control — to help you find them when you lose them
- Smart plugs and appliances that monitor and regulate power consumption
- AI-powered thermostats that automatically adjust the temperature according to the time of year, outdoor weather conditions or one of countless other factors
Since interest in the IoT is just starting to gain widespread momentum, and many developers are only beginning to explore the possibilities, it will be interesting to see what consumer innovations come next.
2. Health Care
The entire health care industry is at the forefront of IoT implementation. With so much riding on the hardware and software systems of the average hospital, it’s easy to see why they’re so quick to embrace the new technology — and there are plenty of options hitting the market.
Personal health care devices, like wearable fitness gadgets and bands, let consumers monitor their health. Other hardware allows medical officials to track patients and staff members, monitor equipment for efficiency or maintenance needs and ensure medication dispensation.
Manufacturing is also on the front lines of the IoT’s initial launch. There are many applications for next-gen hardware and software in this industry, too — but it’s not without its risks.
While some manufacturers currently use the IoT for everything from inventory control and warehouse management to assembly operations on the factory floor, others are hesitating as a result of the potential risks.
The industries of both public and private transportation have much to gain from the IoT — and some are already making headway. Self-driving cars are already on the streets in multiple markets, but there are some serious risks involved here, too.
In the public sector, many entities — including U.S. governmental agencies and departments — are exploring IoT implementation.
Initiatives like the Mobility on Demand Sandbox program, launched in 2016, facilitate access to advanced and next-gen applications meant to increase mobility, strengthen passenger service and provide easier accessibility for those with limited mobility.
Although many construction roles still require manual labor and a more traditional approach to the job, these are quickly giving way to innovations like aerial drones, next-gen power tools and automated machinery.
One company, Caterpillar, began the transition to the IoT more than a decade ago. The groundwork for the IoT wasn’t even in place — but this didn’t stop them from upgrading their hardware and embracing next-gen software.
They currently boast nearly 600,000 IoT-connected vehicles around the globe — all of which are connected to an in-house analytics team to help process data and bolster efficiency.
From Consumer Electronics to Modern Construction and Beyond
The IoT is so versatile and flexible it’s hard to limit it to one professional sector or industry.
It has legitimate and relevant uses in nearly every industry imaginable — and we’ve only seen the beginning of what this next-gen tech has to offer.
While it might be years before it reaches its full potential, the IoT is not only usable in its current state, but its beneficial to almost every company doing business in the 21st century.