The Internet of Things has revolutionized how businesses approach their industries. Supply chain, agriculture, automotive, medicine, and many other industries are seeing immense potential in the Internet of Things. Tiny, easily integrated sensors can be applied to virtually all aspects of business that require monitoring.
Beyond sensors, consumer devices such as the Amazon Echo bring the Internet of Things into homes and make many daily tasks more efficient. Ordering groceries, changing a song while engaged in a task, or switching books in mid day are all easily completed with a voice command in many homes across america and the rest of the world.
Component miniaturization has played one of the most important roles in the Internet of Things. Moore’s Law states that transistor density in electronics doubles roughly every two year. Moore’s Law is estimated to apply to silicon computing components down to sizes of 5 nanometers, roughly equivalent to one-20,000th of a human hair in surface area per transistor.
Some alternative manufacturing methods and materials have, however, been found and seem to be capable of producing 1 nanometer transistors. This is important because the current limit of 5nm is smaller than a single red blood cell.
As component miniaturization continues to progress, it is likely that medical-grade integrated circuits will emerge and IoT-enabled devices can be integrated into the human body.
Securing the Internet of Things
IoT devices have had a worrisome lack of security over the last few year, as highlighted in the Mirai botnet attack on Dyn DNS in October of 2016. The Mirai botnet made use of known factory default passwords and admin credentials to invade IoT devices. Afflicted devices were used in one of the largest DDoS attacks in history. This trend has persisted as new, similar strains of malware have emerged to target IoT devices.
With IoT technology closing in on maturity, however, standards for security are being established to protect both consumer and industry data and functionality alike. Cybersecurity for the Internet of Things seems to be a significant focus for many IoT device manufacturers in the current industry roadmap.
Wearable technology has taken off and filled a significant market gap for fitness enthusiasts, doting parents, and even business owners. Wearable technology can fulfill needs such as fitness and lifestyle data monitoring as well as location and other relevant information tracking. Some examples of industries that can benefit from wearable technologies include supply chain, healthcare, and athletics.
Fog computing was a term coined by Cisco Networks which refers to computing at the edge of a network. The prevalence of IoT devices in the modern market allows device monitoring and data processing in devices which then report to other, surrounding devices. This method of computing is highlighted by the convergence of blockchain and IoT devices.
Fog computing allows for self-driving vehicles to communicate with each other while in transit, sensors and other devices to share information and pass updates between them in order to reduce strain on carrier networks, and increase reliability for larger scale projects such as smart cities.
Users have come to expect a certain level of service from many devices which they use on a daily basis. Take for example the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Users have a vocal personal assistant which is capable of carrying out tasks such as setting their alarms, updating their calendar, and monitoring the status of their pantry or beverage maker.
Integrating services into IoT-enabled products has contributed strongly to consumer acceptance of potentially intrusive devices which can be used to control many aspects of their living area such as lighting, climate, and soundspace.
As the Internet of Things continues to grow, humans will become more and more connected as well as more efficient. IoT devices help increase efficiency by removing the need to monitor or manually complete certain tasks that could be easily automated.