Internet of Things Development: the Good, the Bad and the Future of IoT
From this article, you’ll learn about the future of IoT technology and find some predictions regarding the Internet of Things: market estimates, complementary technology trends, and much more…
|💡 This article is written with expert advice from TATEEDA GLOBAL’s software developers that have considerable experience in developing IoT solutions and applications for American healthcare providers and other companies.|
No one can deny that technology has taken a quantum leap in a few short years, and it continues to develop faster than most of us can keep up with. One of the most rapidly growing sectors of technology is the Internet of Things (IoT), where devices interact with other devices to keep people connected. How is IoT being used today? IoT provides convenience and mobility to millions of users, but the many benefits of the Internet of Things have to be weighed against its dark side.
Twenty years ago, none of us could have imagined how technology and the Internet would transform the way we work, communicate, entertain and socialize. It seems we time-traveled at warp speed to a new dimension where the entire world is at our fingertips. Technology has liberated us from cubicles, snail mail, shopping malls and time zones, ushering in a new era of unprecedented connectivity.
Internet of Things (IoT) technology works to smooth over the rough edges where obsolete work processes and counterproductive lifestyles meet modern, more productive and sustainable ways of working and living. IoT connects and integrates our software and devices, molding work processes and communication to fit the way we live in the 21st Century.
Table of Contents
IoT Basics: Internet of Things Tutorial
Internet of Things technology leverages the Internet to connect everyday electronic devices embedded with software and sensors to each other. IoT lets your smart devices communicate, send, receive and interpret data and information from connected devices anywhere in the world, in real-time.
How often do we resort to IoT systems in our everyday lives?
Whether you know it or not, you probably already use IoT technology. If you wear a fitness tracker or smartwatch, integrate your car’s sound system and GPS with your phone, use rideshare services like Uber or Lyft, or use your smart device to interact with your bank account, you are leveraging the Internet of Things.
Learn more about 14 Major Healthcare Technology Trends of 2021
But the applications of IoT software go far beyond your personal use, with a multitude of applications for business, industry, government, and finance.
Examples of IoT networks in everyday life include smart assistants like Alexa or Siri connected to your television, audio system, HVAC system, and more. IoT networks are shaping our everyday lives by changing the way we do everyday things. Let’s learn more about this topic from the next section…
How can IoT improve our lives now and in the future?
This technology has already become a reliable foundation for many breakthrough innovations and projects. Some of them offer exceptional performance and resource-saving strategies for the industrial sector, like AI-optimized energy consumption, smart agriculture, machine-controlled supply chains or construction, reduced waste/pollution for better efficiency, ecology, profitability, and much more.
Other IoT-based solutions bring new levels of convenience and amplification to healthcare, communications, and entertainment (remember amazing drone light shows with hundreds of small quadcopters forming giant 3D images in the sky?)
|📈The Internet of Things future: According to market researches, the number of connected IoT devices will exceed 75 billion by 2025. There exist more optimistic estimates giving even greater numbers (up to 100 billion) of IoT tools/devices expected to be active by the same year.|
Thousands of devoted IoT developers and engineers keep designing and building innovative IoT-powered systems for almost every area of life, including medical practice, traveling, military, education, telecommunication, urban management, and countless other fields. Let’s consider just a small part of fields where IoT implementation has already become a crucial technological advancement.
Why is IoT important? Let’s see…
🚈 Modern transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture:
- Industrial robots and self-sustaining, autonomous machinery.
- Consumer-grade drones and auto-pilot technology.
- Automated (unmanned) vehicles: cars, trains, elevators, forklifts, etc.
- Different types of smart devices, including sensors and cameras.
- Industrial controllers and smart equipment of all types.
💡 Energy-efficient projects and technologies:
- Smart buildings: computer-regulated HVAC, lighting, and water consumption.
- Smart city: computer-managed street lights, traffic lights, street heating, and other components of smart urban infrastructure.
- Energy efficiency tracking in industrial objects and processes.
- Renewable energy-generation projects (solar panels, wind generators, etc.)
⚽ Healthcare applications and consumer-grade wearables:
- Integrated body implants and adhesive sensors synchronized with health tracking applications, like ECG devices or glucometers.
- Fitness tracking watches and apps for daily use (cycling, long-distance and trail running, swimming, etc.)
- Professional-grade hospital systems for controlling health metrics and vital signs in patients.
🏡 Smart homes:
- HVAC management
- Alarm systems
- Energy management
- Interior/exterior lighting
- Water supply system
- Automated garden watering
- All types of smart home appliances.
With the Internet of Things technology, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts by integrating the most useful features of our electronic devices and coordinating them to serve our individual needs.
Technologies Behind the Development of IoT Systems and Services
There exist several tech domains that are strongly associated with IoT functionality and underlie its key capabilities and the whole spectrum of IoT industry technology trends. IoT-based offerings show exponential growth in the market thanks to winning combinations of and steady overall progress in these complementary digital technologies:
- Cloud Computing
- Big Data
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Machine learning (ML)
Let’s learn more about their features and the value they bring to IoT…
Cloud Computing: Fogging, Hybrid or Multi-Cloud Application Development
☑️ Cloud computing is a predominantly marketing-coined term that covers several interrelated services. It’s employed by IoT solutions to manage and process the great amounts of data they accumulate in the course of operation.
The principal feature of this technology makes it similar to the architecture of IoT itself: it relies on an allocated network of devices, too, and benefits from a distributed model of computational resources. However, devices in cloud computing are distant powerful computers and servers virtually assembled to networks or clusters over the Web.
Cloud computing helps to move, store, protect, manage, and analyze large arrays or streams of data without deploying costly on-site/in-house hardware infrastructure.
Required computational powers can be borrowed from multiple companies providing cloud services (so-called public clouds), including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and many others.
Cloud-based systems can be virtually described as having two layers:
☑️ Cloud front-end layer: Сlient devices, which can also be locally organized in several network layers, including computers or mobile devices of all types: smartphones, cameras, tablets, etc., and/or different IoT devices, too. The front-end layer can include a complicated local network structure with networking hardware and software deployed to drive an IoT system.
☑️ Cloud back-end layer: Includes powerful machines that execute data processing and data storage functions. Using cloud-backed computational resources is like having a remote, virtual data center that you don’t have to buy server computers for, rent a premise, pay for power consumption, and other overhead. At the same time, your data is reliably accessible from anywhere via the Web, which makes Cloud solutions a great foundation for IoT environments.
☑️ Hybrid cloud: This term describes a combined environment including a mix of cloud facilities: in-house data centers, private clouds, and/or public clouds.
☑️ Multicloud: A cloud solution that relies on a diverse set of cloud computing providers rather than a mix of cloud technologies like a hybrid cloud does.
|👆 At TATEEDA GLOBAL, we are experts in building hybrid cloud and multi-cloud solutions for different business purposes, including healthcare and medical systems. If you’re looking for U.S.-based partners for a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud project development and augmentation, please contact us for a free consultation.|
☑️ Fog computing: Also called fogging or edge computing, it is a tech of distributed computing where a considerable share of operations is performed on the peripheral end of an IoT/cloud system, so less heavyweight raw data is moved from devices to a cloud.
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Big Data in IoT: Is It a Technology or a Volume of Data?
☑️ Big Data is not a distinct technology but a set of different applications and methods allowing to organize, engineer, manage and make use of astronomical amounts of data, including high-level operations like data visualization or sharing.
The Internet of Things can generate super-huge arrays of information that otherwise would be hardly possible to store, operate and analyze. Smaller data streams come from a myriad of standalone data points (devices, sensors, etc.), which will accumulate into a mighty flow of data at the endpoints of IoT systems or—even worse—conglomerates of these systems.
To understand how huge IoT-generated Big Data can be, consider the following estimates:
|The New York Stock Exchange can generate about one terabyte (1000 GB) of data a day.|
|Facebook generates 4 petabyes (4000 terabytes or 4000000 GB) of data per day.|
|One aircraft engine can produce about one terabyte of data per flight. This number is confirmed by IBM figures that tell us that an average aircraft normally generates between 500 GB to 1 terabyte of data per flight.|
☑️ Big Data management platforms: When IoT projects pour their Big Data into special analytical platforms, it meets proper technologies and tools, so it’s possible to process, investigate and mine those enormous bodies of data for useful insights and findings. This will help optimize and improve IoT-powered business processes. You can find a great variety of Big Data exploration and analysis products/platforms out there, supplied by Oracle, IBM, and many other hi-end providers.
⚠️ Do you need help? If you need a consultant or a tech partner that can help you build an IoT system that is integrated with Big Data platforms, consider TATEEDA GLOBAL. We have a team of experienced developers and tech engineers that will readily help you with this task. Contact us for more!
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in the Internet of Things
☑️ Machine-powered IoT management: Big Data coupled with AI-powered capabilities can unlock plenty of opportunities in micro- and macro-management and regulation of IoT environments—superbly fast yet accurate system analytics, decision-making, and informed response can make IoT systems autonomous, self-reliant, and highly efficient.
Artificial intelligence demonstrates unparalleled results in the management of complicated IoT systems with multifold parameters and factors that demand rapid (within seconds or milliseconds) and highly-efficient response and decision-making, which is not available to human operators.
If an artificial intelligence system is well-trained with the help of simulations and other ML methods, it can work much better than any rigid algorithms created by human programmers. In situations that fall outside some predicted, algorithm-based actions, AI can save the day by offering pretty creative and well-informed decisions and actions that are based on mathematical modeling and previous experiences.
☑️ The key capabilities of AI that complement IoT projects include:
- Exceptional data analytical capabilities for accurate informed decisions and response scenarios generated and offered within very small periods of time.
- Superb system sustainability against unpredictable situations and malicious activities, including cyber-attacks and other emergencies.
- Augmented reaction to all sorts of IoT situations involving a great number of smallest factors, based on Big Data insights and simulations, so a better system efficiency and safety can be achieved through orchestrating system components and tech parameters without resorting to human engineers.
IoT Technology Trends in 2022
The future of the Internet of Things is bright and full of amazing opportunities!
Let’s learn more about the most impactful IoT emerging technology trends that will contribute to the exponential growth of connected device projects in the upcoming years.
5G for Superb IoT Connectivity
📶 With a greater bandwidth and enhanced wireless data transmission speed and signal quality (in comparison to the previous 4G standard), it’s about to revolutionize IoT capabilities. Some of the 5G advantages include lower latency, larger network coverage, and considerably faster data exchange between devices and/or networking hardware components. This new telecommunication standard became one of the most important Internet of Things emerging technologies in 2021/2022 and on.
🔐 Growing implementation of blockchain technology is one of the latest IoT technology trends. Blockchain brings better security and data protection methods to IoT networks and devices. It ensures tamper-resistant data records, so each transaction can be surely verified to prevent disputes and security breaches in an IoT system. The idea behind using blockchain with IoT is to minimize the impact of centralized nodes or “authority” and allow more autonomy for devices, so, for example, if a centralized element gets hacked, it won’t compromise the security of the whole system.
Digital Twin Technologies
🏭 A digital twin is a virtual model that can be created with the help of IoT sensors to reflect and simulate a real object. For this, an object being studied, usually a piece of industrial hardware (like a jet engine, wind turbine, bridge, skyscraper, etc.) gets furnished with various sensors and control devices. Those devices/sensors are used to monitor the crucial performance metrics of an object and data is sent to the IoT system software in order to create a digital twin. It can be used for running simulations, including different physical parameters, such as temperature, wind power, speed, etc.
|📡 Would you like to share the bright future of IoT with your own project?|
At TATEEDA GLOBAL, we are ready to help you integrate the latest Internet of Things trends into your business practice and projects. If you have any questions or ideas to discuss, please feel free to contact us!
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A Brief History of IoT
Back in the early 1980s, long before most of us ever heard of the World Wide Web, computer science nerds at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University launched the world’s first IoT project by connecting a soda machine to the ARPANET, an early iteration of today’s Internet, to collect data on its contents. Over time, students added a video camera to the soda machine, and a screen to display information on the weather and other topics of interest. While the system was primitive, it was an early foray into what would later become a technologically advanced approach to modern living.
Fast forward to 2020, where over 8 billion things are connected to the Internet for use on a global scale. That number is expected to skyrocket by more than triple by 2022. The potential for IoT technology is limited only by our capacity to imagine new applications for it.
Advantages of Internet of Things (IoT)
The practical uses of IoT technology are growing at such a rapid pace that it would be impossible to list them all in a single article. Clearly, the phenomenal adoption and growth of IoT is evidence enough that the technology provides profound advantages.
Some Internet of Things benefits include:
- Connectivity: It wasn’t so long ago that we needed a variety of different devices and remote control pads to enjoy the advantages of technology. Remember when your mobile phone was just a phone, and you had separate devices for listening to music, taking pictures, accessing the Internet and enjoying your favorite movies and TV shows? No one could have predicted in the 1990s that we would have all the knowledge in the universe available at our fingertips in 2020. IoT gives us connectivity to people and devices all over the world.
- Efficiency: All that connectivity saves us time, money and energy. We can get things done in seconds that once took hours. IoT has made it possible for many of us to work from home, saving time on commuting and money on gas, not to mention the cost of parking, work attire, grooming, lunch and other work-related expenses. We can communicate with the office from anywhere, and no longer have to lug a briefcase full of files with us on business trips. In fact, even business trips are becoming passé as online meetings become the norm.
- Convenience: IoT makes everything easier in our business and personal lives. No more trips to the bank to make deposits and withdraw money. No more buying stamps and envelopes to pay your bills. No more forrays to the library or government agencies to access information, data, forms or documents. Music, book and video stores are largely relics of the past as we tap into streaming services and ebooks. We can even buy groceries, learn a language or earn an advanced degree without ever leaving home. If you want to learn more about convenient services in healthcare, read: Patient Portal Development Guide: Types, Features & Cost
- Health, fitness and wellness: Wearable technology is enjoying immense popularity, and it will only continue to grow as wearable devices become smarter. Monitor your heart rate and blood pressure, keep an eye on your body temperature, clock your performance and more from your watch or fitness tracker. Medically implanted devices (IMDs) are also tapping into IoT to regulate pacemakers, defibrillate heart arrhythmias, pump insulin and stimulate the brain. The recent global pandemic ushered in a huge surge in TeleHealth, eliminating the need to visit your doctor in person for a checkup or prescription, thanks to IoT. Read also: The Ever-Growing Internet of Things for Healthcare
- Environment: IoT holds great promise for protecting our planet and making life on earth more sustainable. Smart technology can help us monitor and control our usage of water, energy and natural resources. It can increase the efficiency of manufacturing, monitor air and water pollution and reduce waste. IoT technology is being used to stop deforestation from illegal logging and protect endangered species from poachers. It is even being used to track bee populations and monitor the conditions of beehives.
- Personalization: It’s no coincidence that when you go online to find a certain type of product or service, it very quickly comes looking for you. Every time you do a web search or visit a website, data is mined on your consumer behavior, and either sold or exploited by businesses to create a personalized web experience. The types, cost and quality of products and services you purchase online tell a story about your tastes and preferences, and even your income bracket. Your web searches for vacation destinations, medical services, dating sites and fitness memberships provides information to e-commerce that creates a consumer profile. The types of music or movies you access from streaming services influences the options you are shown first on your next visit. Like it or not, if you use the Internet as a consumer, you are being profiled and your shopping journey is being personalized.
Additional Pros and Cons of Internet of Things
Despite its many advantages, the benefits of IoT need to be weighed against its dark side.
✔️ Data mining: If the idea of consumer personalization makes your skin crawl a bit, it is because data mining is a gross invasion of privacy. Despite being a right that is guaranteed and protected by the US Constitution, personal privacy is becoming increasingly difficult to safeguard in a connected world. And as profitable as data mining may be for businesses, it offers very few advantages to the individual consumer.
✔️ Surveillance: Data mining’s dirty cousin, surveillance, goes beyond pilfering consumer data to invading your personal life. We know that smart devices can see, hear and read what we do, say and communicate. We simply have no idea how that information is being used, or by whom, and its potential for evil is enormous.
✔️ Cybercrime: As we become increasingly reliant on IoT technology for everyday living, we make ourselves more vulnerable to cybercriminals. Sophisticated hackers can violate the security of any and all smart devices, including your computer, tablet or smartphone, your medical devices, TV, webcam, home security system and more.
✔️ Employer oversight: With remote work becoming commonplace, IoT could potentially free humanity from being imprisoned in an office or cubicle five days a week, enabling us to travel, relocate or make our schedules more flexible. But don’t get too comfy working in your PJs. Orwellian new software is being used by some employers to keep workers shackled to their computers, monitoring every keystroke made and website visited. Such excessive overreach may soon make us nostalgic for the good old days at the office, when we could dawdle in the break room or sneak in some online shopping without our masters breathing down our necks. Read also: Medical Staff Management and Scheduling Software Development
IoT Applications for the Real World
Our lives at home and at work are full of electronic devices that make our lives easier, more efficient and more secure. You can now integrate your home’s security system with lighting, your HVAC system, a nanny cam, music, television and more.
Your workplace processes can be enhanced with data collection, intranet, virtual assistants, cybersecurity, supply chain tracking, remote conferencing and infinitely more. The applications of IoT technology at home and in business will continue to expand in the coming decade, playing off of one another as they evolve.
Following are some examples of popular real-world IoT applications that have become indispensable to our everyday lives:
- Rideshare services like Lyft and Uber connect GPS with driver’s smartphones and user’s devices to enable summoning, paying, locating and navigating rides to just about anywhere.
- Smart home systems can be programmed and monitored from your computer or smartphone from anywhere in the world. Turn lights off and on, adjust your home’s temperature, turn off appliances and more.
- Fitness and health tracking systems can provide feedback and data on heart rate, mileage, energy expenditure and more, all from a smartwatch or tracking device worn on your wrist.
- Personal home assistants can change your TV channel, find movies by genre, director or actor, make purchases, play music and more, in response to your vocal commands.
For business, IoT saves time and money by streamlining systems, tracking inventory, coordinating operations and connecting personnel. Examples include:
- IoT office technology frees up employees’ time with the use of voice-enabled AI applications and smart speakers, to delegate monotonous tasks to virtual assistants so humans can work on more complex processes.
- Remote collaboration enables employees to work remotely on projects, increasing productivity. Co-collaborators no long need to convene in the same room or office. In fact, they can be located anywhere on the globe and still work together in real-time.
- Intelligent lighting and thermostat control applications save businesses thousands of dollars each year in wasted energy costs.
- Data security technology protects multiple devices in your network from hackers, ensuring the privacy and security of important business data.
- Control, monitor and protect your supply chain in real-time with smart tags and sensors to track and control inventory. Locate a specific item anywhere along the supply chain, from the warehouse to its final destination.
- Coordinate business processes with IoT to streamline your operations, from finding vacant meeting rooms to detecting system failures and power outages.
- Patient monitoring is an important way IoT can help doctors and hospitals save the lives of critically ill patients by making it possible to track and monitor vital signs, communicate with caregivers and oversee medications.
With IoT still in its infancy, we can expect to see innumerable applications for device integration in the years to come, to improve our daily lives and make our businesses run more smoothly.
The Shadowy Side of IoT
Despite its many benefits and its enormous potential for future applications, IoT comes with its dark side. Pretty much everything connected to the Internet runs certain security risks, ranging from data breaches to invasion of privacy.
Some shortcomings of IoT systems are:
- Lack of security standards across various manufacturers and devices makes frequent updates imperative
- Rapid obsolescence of technology or inbuilt security in one device can affect the entire system
- The use of smart technology invites big data, deep learning and AI to detect behavioral patterns and harvest personal data in ways that constitute a breach of personal privacy
- Security always lags slightly behind innovation, and bad actors quickly learn to exploit software flaws to victimize users
When considering IoT systems for your home or business, it is important to consult professionals who are familiar with a broad range of products and devices, and know-how to mitigate their security and privacy risks.
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