As a businessperson in this modern world, you fully understand that staying connected has never been more important. Information travels fast, and missing out on critical updates can cost a company immensely. As people we all have our limitations, but computers never sleep—and so the Internet of Things is growing as a way to make sure that information continues to travel at lightning pace even when we’re away.
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to networks of computers, from equipment to peripherals, communicating directly among themselves by transmitting and compiling data for operators and business owners to access. Applications for IoT are growing rapidly in the business world, and new uses are being found all the time.
Where does the future of IoT lie as we enter a new year?
Smarter Homes, Smarter Cities
It only makes sense that a well-connected person would live in an equally connected home, and Smart homes are quickly becoming a hallmark of IoT connectivity. In a recent survey, IoT Analytics noted that smart homes are far and away the most popular IoT application right now—thousands are investing in smart thermometer systems like Nest to keep their homes comfortable, and smart Bluetooth door locks that allow users to remotely ensure that their homes are safe.
But smart homes are just the beginning. Analysts expect that smart cities will be the wave of the future, with some cities around the world already starting to implement IoT-based smart features including smart parking to monitor space availability, emergency vehicles linked to smart traffic lights, sensor-based energy efficiency upgrades for city buildings, and even sensors to monitor water levels for municipal landscapes and gardens. The smart city trend offers many opportunities for businesses to get involved, whether it’s with developing smart solutions or improving internal operations to meet the smart model.
Smarter Vehicles, Smarter Roads
Cars are getting more efficient all the time, but are they getting smarter as well? Thanks to the Internet of Things, they are. Google recently started road testing its self-driving car, powered by the Google Chauffeur program, to experiment with the opportunities and limitations of a driverless vehicle in real road situations. The still-theoretical market is also already expanding, as Elon Musk announced that the company is working with Google to develop self-driving Tesla models. These are also already in road test phase, suggesting that driverless cars could feasibly enter the commercial market within the next few years.
Of course the biggest concern with driverless cars is the presence of unexpected weather changes or hazards that a car without a driver may not recognize and take into account. Because of this, the future may contain smarter roads as well as smarter cars. Experts predict smart roads with sensors that can relay real-time data on changes in climate conditions or road hazards like obstructions and accidents. As well as relaying this information to city officials and warning websites, this information could potentially be relayed to connected driverless cars to help them steer clear of nature’s unpredictable roadblocks.
Smarter Payment, Smarter Lives
We seem to do everything with our smartphones and peripherals these days, and in the future that connectedness will only increase as we continue to integrate our health and our finance with the Internet of Things.
IoT is rapidly expanding in finance as North Americans continue to grow more reliant on credit and debit over checks and cash. Through applications like Google Wallet and Apple Pay, people are increasingly integrating their smartphones and other devices like smartwatches into their payment options, using the power of the internet to charge purchases and pay bills.
Technology is also improving the state of healthcare at multiple levels, from more secure and organized record keeping through e-Health to smart devices like Fitbit that help us monitor and improve our own health across multiple platforms. Not only is IoT improving the world, but it’s ensuring that we live longer lives to see those improvements play out.