Demystifying IoT – What It Means to You

Harish Taori
Harish Taori

Summary Bullets:

  • IoT expands the meaning and value of the Internet as more physical objects (i.e., sensors, actuators, devices, modules and new age systems) will be connected to the internet and accessible through Internet protocols or web services. It will enable humans/software programs to analyze data, evaluate patterns and take predictive or preventive actions based on the derived intelligence.
  • In addition to consumers, utilities, energy, automotive, manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and retail were early adopters of M2M and may start piloting IoT applications as supply side economics make sense. The IoT ecosystem is getting ready for enterprises to innovate business models and improve operational efficiency.

Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data were among the key ICT themes that dominated the majority of panel discussions and presentations at CommunicAsia 2014. Both buzzwords, in addition to cloud and social, are often the current topic of discussions in IT circles. I chaired a panel discussion on IoT and will be using that session in this blog in an attempt to demystify IoT.
IoT is a natural evolution of Internet and machine to machine (M2M), which find its roots in industrial automation. It not only further integrates the physical world with the digital world, but also enables machines to learn from the events and become smarter by gaining predictive and cognitive capabilities. Machine learning will play important role in gaining these capabilities through data mining, statistical modeling and artificial intelligence. The IoT ecosystem will enable companies and consumers to create and enjoy new services that are founded on web-based business models.

As consumers, we will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of IoT and will drive adoption of connected devices, and related innovative services that will make us more productive and efficient, while making our lives more convenient. My favorite use case on Consumer IoT is the story of Swat. A technophile, who owns a few connected devices including a smart car, enjoys music among other fine things in life, and has a personal context aware software agent named Kelly. On a family trip from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Kelly ordered his favorite cup of Jamaica coffee before he started, to be picked on his way, initiated faster processing at the border by transmitting confidential details to border immigration through a trusted channel, knows his music taste in order to play Swat’s desired music in the car, bought his son’s preferred movie to be streamed in his smart car on the go, using the payment approval on his smart watch, pre-ordered his wife’s favorite local delicacy and informed the hotel to arrange the room the way he likes. Kelly can seamlessly communicate with Swat through any of his smart devices. I am not sure how Swat lived his life before Kelly.

Similarly, several industries such as Utilities, Energy, Automotive, Manufacturing, Transportation and Logistics (supply chain), Healthcare, Agriculture, Insurance and Retail have been benefiting from M2M applications for over 5 years. Each industry has a strong business case to invest in IoT. Let’s talk about cross industry IoT use case for automotive, government and insurance and how it benefits them. By embedding sensors, modules and cameras in a smart car, the automobile manufacturer gets behavioral and usage information to improve design and safety features in the car; the government traffic department gets information on traffic conditions, violations and driving behavior as well as enables the drivers to top-up their smart cards and pay taxes; whereas the insurance companies gets better understanding of drivers’ road behavior compared to others that can be used to customize pricing of insurance policies, rewarding the good behavior while punishing the bad behavior, and in case of accident, it has all the details of the accident, to process the claims.

The use case possibilities are endless across the industries and the value that IoT will create for consumers, enterprises and government is enormous. It’s a matter of time before the ecosystem is ready to unlock the true potential IoT. In some of the upcoming blog posts, I will explore the barriers that the IoT ecosystem will face to realize the IoT vision.

What do you think?

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