The Internet of Things, or IoT as we know it, is developing at a rapid pace. The term Internet of Things was coined by MIT researcher Kevin Ashton, in 1999 and refers to a group of sensors and devices working in synchronization with each other. Little did we know then that this very technology would be the next big revolution in technology after the second industrial revolution. A report by Ericsson Mobility published in June 2016 claims that as many as 16 billion devices will be connected to the IoT network by 2021. Now, along with corporate giants and businesses, governments are funding the development of IoT as well, and soon we will have urban cities connected by IoT for better management and reduced waste of resources.
Cities are the major consumer of natural resources, and also the most contributing factor to pollution. Smart urbanization of cities can address the problems without decreasing the efficiency or growth of technology while making life easier for the people. Contrary to popular belief, the reach of IoT is no longer limited to wealthy businesses or private tech firms, with the government trying to integrate sensors into every aspect of the public sector to monitor transport systems, reduce operating costs, and anticipate security risks.
A whopping $430 billion is being invested in total by the government and private sectors for the development of IoT and the figure is expected to increase to $476 billion by 2020. With technological breakthroughs happening in medical fields as well, the time is not far off where swallowing a pill would allow the doctor to monitor all the vitals of the human body. Two early adopters of IoT on a massive scale are Netherlands and South Korea, both competing against each other. They have both announced IoT-ready networks in their countries and are looking into integrating various sensors into modern devices.
Singapore is a unique country with the lowest kids per woman ratio of 0.81, whereas the recommended value is 2.2. This leads to a problem where there are fewer people looking for the elderly demographic. Their government is looking for innovative ways to use sensors to improve the lifestyle and health of their citizen, by using IoT to track movements, sedentary behavior, and the number of flushes. They are also utilizing sensors across their cities to monitor cleanliness, reduce the number of crimes, and movement of every registered vehicle. Germany is another country leading the field of automobile and biomedical research and development and integration of IoT. They introduced smart buses which charge along their way of transit, significantly reducing the carbon footprint. The biggest problem faced in the development of IoT is that the current infrastructure is not adequately equipped to accommodate the additional demands of IoT. Current Wi-Fi technology, although enough for homes, does not have enough range to cover entire fields, thus giving birth to Long Range Networks or LoRa. IoT is slowly changing the world, as much as internet itself did.