“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole………and the instruments through which we shall be able to do this will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.”
~ Nikola Tesla in an interview with Colliers magazine – 1926
IoT or Internet of Things is a way of making the world more connected. In single terms, it is a way of connecting any electronic device to the internet.
The most popular form of IoT, are those DIY Arduino projects of turning a lightbulb ON and OFF over the internet but, in fact, it is much bigger than that. IoT devices are well integrated into our lives nowadays that you can easily miss it. Your smartwatch, smart TV, Nest thermostat, IP Camera, Google Home speaker, smartphone,…etc all are considered IoT devices. Narrowing it down to a home automation project isn’t fair.
The Global Brain
To put it into perspective, if you consider the internet to be the nervous system of the planet, IoT represents the senses of it. According to Moore’s Law, with the advancements in the field of electronics, connecting devices to the internet is getting much easier. The simplicity of the system makes it more convenient, where it only consists of two parts, the internet-enabled device, and the cloud server.
Starting with one internet-connected temperature and humidity sensor IoT Projects are being scaled up with thousands of IoT sensors to create a live map of large areas measuring temperature, humidity, soil moisture, soil components, and weather conditions for smarter and efficient agriculture.
The City has “Got a Mind of its Own”
A much bigger application of IoT is in Smart Cities, where IoT devices are used to collect big data from around the city and from different systems for easier management towards energy efficiency and faster services.
Here is a list of some IoT applications in Smart Cities:
- Smart Parking: where sensors can monitor the occupied and unoccupied parking spots to alert the cars entering the parking on where they can park.
- Weather Mapping: embedding weather sensors in street light poles powered by solar energy, gives a live weather map of an entire city. Such a system is more accurate for weather forecasts as well as disaster alerts.
- Intelligent Traffic Systems: All traffic lights are connected to the same control system with surveillance cameras enabling artificial intelligence solutions to manage traffic automatically without human interaction.
- Smart Meters: enabling the government to monitor water, gas, and electrical usage of every house, building, block, and the entire city.
- Smart Signage: other than automated ads on billboards, smart signs can be used to manage traffic and car movement on the roads in coordination with traffic lights, where the direction of a one-way road can be changed in case of emergencies simply by changing a sign over the internet. A “no parking” sign in front of a certain store can be turned off during the night or when the store is closed.
The Future of IoT in Numbers
with the rising demand for inter-connectivity between different kinds of systems, the future of IoT is yet to come.
- 20.4 billion IoT devices will be connected in 2020
- 90% of new automobiles will be internet-connected
- 127 IoT devices are connected to the internet every second
- The home IoT market is expected to grow to $53.45 billion by 2022
- Over 80% of industrial manufacturing companies are using or planning to use IoT technologies.
- Over 60% of US cities are investing in Smart Cities IoT technologies.
with such numbers, the future of IoT looks promising. But some questions arise:
- With the ongoing space race to colonize other planets, will we be able to make IoT technologies multi-planetary and connect multiple planets together?
- With the technological advancements in biology and medicine, how long will it take to see the first IoT chip implanted in a human body?
- how is the future of data analysis and storage going to adapt to the huge amount of data being generated from IoT systems?