Some have dubbed the Internet of Things, or IoT, the “Intelligence of Things,” and even the “Internet of Everything.” Whatever they call it, there is no doubt that IoT has been steadily emerging and shaping our future. Put simply, IoT eliminates the need for human interaction with other humans or computers to transfer data.
IoT already has numerous uses — smart homes, connected cars and smart retail to name a few — and it is expected to have an even larger impact on our lives in the future. Gartner reports that in the year 2017, there were more than eight billion IoT-connected devices in the world, while in 2018, that figure surpassed nine billion. It is expected that in 2020, IoT-connected devices worldwide will close to 21 billion.
While IoT certainly has its place in transforming the way we interact with some of the everyday items around us, it has important business applications as well. For example, Nesten is a Los Angeles-based company specializing in IoT-optimized blockchains and communication networks that’s building an IoT platform to create a decentralized ecosystem. As Andrew Baek, CTO of Nesten, recently explained to Virtual Strategy, “We believe the IoT industry requires an entirely new financial ecosystem to lend itself to a wide range of use cases. The system needs to be able to operate autonomously in a highly secure manner and support micro-level transactions with minimal overhead”.
Nesten’s platform uses multi-layered blockchains to operate the communications network in order to run its own financial incentive system. Nesten has partnered with another IoT company to create a low-cost yet highly scalable ecosystem for IoT communications. With a team specializing in embedding and communications networks, they created Nesten G1 Gateway, which supports several different connectivity protocols. Individual gateways will be registered to blockchain to form the network. The launch of this IoT platform will change the telecommunications infrastructure, moving away from having one centralized provider to having integrated network participants.
Comcast is also using IoT technology to enhance business processes. MachineQ™ is a Comcast serviceleveraging connected sensor, network and software technologies to enable innovative IoT solutions for asset tracking, geo-location, water infrastructure, facilities management and pest control. As Alex Khorram, General Manager of machineQ, articulated in a press release, “IoT solution providers are seeking secure, reliable and highly scalable network connectivity, device-management capabilities and new IoT microservices, like geo-location, to speed their time-to-market. Our new customers have chosen machineQ because it can be deployed across a wide range of different enterprise use cases.”
Honeywell has been focused on IIoT, or “Industrial Internet of Things,” a network of networks that, per the company’s own language, “uses the internet to connect people, processes, and assets, optimizing business results. It leverages smart connected assets, enterprise integrated automation, secured cloud-based data and advanced analytics to improve industrial automation processes.”
A couple of hundred wireless nodes have been released in major metro areas, as well as overseas, with more to be released as time goes on. For now, nodes are being strategically placed in high-demand locations such as Houston, the Washington DC suburbs, California, and others.
- The growth potential of IoT technology will be high, just like in other industries, such as artificial intelligence. The IoT industry has reached the billion-dollar mark and is expected to reach the trillions in coming years.
- While IoT technology today is used largely for the improvement of business processes, IoT technologies of tomorrow will be geared toward customer experience.
- IoT will fall in line with other technologies, such as 5G. They will integrate due to both meeting connectivity demands. It will enhance telecommunications, and IoT companies will create 5G support to their platforms in the near future.
- Eventually, the goal is for various industries including retail, logistics and asset management to utilize IoT.
- Visionaries say that the emergence of IoT marks the coming moment when sensor-driven data will connect everything to everything else and artificial and human intelligence will become whole, essentially transforming our planet — and virtually everything in and on it — into one single, thinking entity.