From TAAS to advertising, business as we know it is going to change as more devices get connected via IoT
The coming few years will see techies infuse life into more and more day-to-day objects, heralding the era of Internet of Things (IoT). And it is projected that by 2020, there will be 25 billion connected objects. But do we really know how this new revolutionary technology works and what will be its impact on our daily lives by 2020?
Manish Agarwal, co-founder, Axelta Systems, demystified the emerging technology at a recent TechGig webinar, starting from what is IoT to how it will change the white goods industry, retail, advertising and healthcare.
How to create an IoT device
IoT is about bringing something - a car, door, locker and or any industrial machine -- to life by giving them an identity and senses like living beings, says Agarwal.
This is done in the following way:
1. Attaching sensors and actuators to objects for them to sense the environment they are in.
2. Giving objects the ability to communicate with one another via wireless radio-based technologies that enable the information the sensors gather information to be shared with any interested party.
3. Adding intelligence or a brain to the object through a cloud platform which can store information and the business logic and intelligence built into it to take certain action based on the information coming in. The software for this is ERP of things like Thingworx and Axeda.
4. Adding the power to process the information the object is collecting and devising action to deal with things through big data analytics.
How IoT will disrupt business
1. Things as a Service (TAAS)
In the near future, instead of selling a product, people will sell its services. They are going to own the product, maintain it and the customer will just pay for usage. Through IoT, service providers will be able to track the usage and maintenance and service level of items. So you will have usage-based billing rather than people have to invest capital in buying that product. This will also enable companies to do more upselling.
Also, through TAAS, a lot of user specific or usage specific data could be collected that is going to feed into two things -- making products better, user friendly and make it last longer and data about user behaviour can converted into business intelligence that can be sold and monetised for other people who want to get into that space.
The other market that will see a lot of traction due to IoT is healthcare. Let us say there is a patient with diabetes. Currently, he/she gets the sugar level checked occasionally. But an IoT device will enable the monitoring of glucose level continuously and in a non-intrusive manner and pumping in insulin or any other medicine that may be required.
Instead of delivery boys of e-commerce firms, there will be drones bringing the product to you. Even smart appliances will be order to household items through an operating system on the smartphone.
Future advertising will be personalised. There is Apple's iBeacon technology and the AltBeacon for Android. It is highly likely that using technology like these, based on a person's usage pattern, likings and dislikings, personalised ads will be delivered.
How IoT devices work
Connected devices work on enabling technologies that make the hardware almost disappear. Electronic components have become miniaturised.
MEMS Sensors: Micro-electro mechanical system (MEMS) is a technique of combining electrical and mechanical components together in a chip to produce a system of miniature dimensions. Sensors get used for a lot of IoT systems. Take the example of a smartphone which is a hub for a lot of IoT activity. A simple smartphone has 10-12 MEMS sensors.
Human-machine interface: Interacting with machines has now moved to the wearable space. Like iWatch where they are able to put the interfaces in the human body. There is gesture control too, giving instruction to machines through gestures. And maybe in the future, there will be telekinetics -- controlling machines using the brain.
Long battery life: IoT devices will be use ultra low power integrated circuits that can run a full lifetime. There will also be solid state batteries instead of lithium ones. The solid layer will act as electrolyte.