Everyday, the Internet of Things is changing the world as we know it. Everything from smart watches and smart shoes to holograms and robotic help looks like something straight out of The Jetsons. Granted, George Jetson’s flying car is still being developed by the likes of Slovakian startup AeroMobil, and 3D printed food hasn’t made it to mainstream restaurants yet from Foodini, Cocojet, and NASA; but we’re getting there, and there’s plenty to be excited about.
While these everyday pieces of technology continue to develop, a whole host of developments in the IoT is helping improve lives from behind the scenes. Let’s explore some ways that IoT is changing five of the world’s most vital industries.
The manufacturing sector is at the forefront of creating the IoT technology for our use, and this aggressive stance to exploring new possibilities is also reflected in the way companies work. Forbes identified a number of ‘digital information trends’ that are reliant on the innovation. The industry has dubbed this burgeoning era as Industry 4.0.
Today, the IoT is providing real-time alerts regarding inventories, damaged goods, energy use, and turnovers, while simultaneously assessing where bottlenecks are happening. Robots are accomplishing more dangerous tasks that had previously put human workers at risk, and it’s only the beginning.
Industry 4.0 envisions entire factories that will be able to assess themselves and provide insight on how best to move forward – all through smart technology. In this system, control hierarchies are replaced by a more decentralized factory system, with products, devices, and machines communicating to increase efficiency.
Some hospitals now have smart beds that can weigh patients and prevent pneumonia as well as bedsores. No more beeps and cryptic graphs – medical equipment of the near future can communicate with each other and alert staff when repair, refill, and adjustments are needed. They can also send real-time information of patient health statistics to nurses and doctors.
IoT technology in hospitals means decreased costs, improved treatments, less human errors, and an enhanced overall patient experience. As a result, it can even make hospital trips a little less of an anxiety-filled experience, and more of a tech field trip.
This sector is developing self-driving cars, which are expected to be ten times safer than manual driving. Autonomous cars are never too hungry or sleepy to maintain safe distances and speeds, and are equipped to constantly assess traffic, weather, construction, and adjacent car data to eliminate risks. While we’re all waiting for these cars to arrive, today’s cars are already pretty advanced — they let drivers know about engine problems automatically and send emergency alerts during accidents.
As for commercial transport, IoT is revolutionizing carrier fleets to prevent driver exhaustion, which is a major cause of road accidents. One solution is applied in the US in the form of electronic logging devices (ELDs), which Fleetmatics specified as a tool for monitoring carrier trips. These devices streamline operating systems by automatically logging a driver’s hours of service to comply with FMCSA regulations. They also sends proactive alerts to both managers and drivers if the latter is about to exceed the maximum hours of service.
Crops and livestock aren’t the first things that come to mind when we think of the IoT, but smart farming is all the rage in the agriculture sector today. Business Insider revealed that it’s helping boost productivity and address the world’s growing demand for food, with more innovations set to further improve precision farming and livestock monitoring processes.
Farmers are now using apps to monitor their livestock remotely, with sensors that provide nearly real-time information on livestock behavior, location, grazing time, water consumption, and even the presence of poachers or predators. Meanwhile, other farmers install IoT sensors to collect weather, soil, air, and crop data. The process, called precision farming, enables them to make smarter decisions from real-time insight.
Internet of Business specified one of the most exciting ways how the IoT is transforming the energy sector: self-healing energy grids. Among their biggest problems is susceptibility to both natural disasters and intentional attacks. Today’s smart power grids, however, are connected with hundreds of smart meters, appliances, and renewable energy resources that make it safe and secure. Most importantly, they have the capacity to quickly recover after a disruption.
Because the smart grid is connected to the internet, its controls, automation, and connected equipment work together to respond to different electric demands, restore power after outages, transmit electricity more efficiently, and better integrate renewable energy sources with traditional fossil fuel. These improvements trickle down to many other industries, most especially communications, security, traffic, and banking.
It’s an exciting time to be alive, with so many new innovations in both business processes and everyday life. Do you know of other cool IoT-supported developments? Share them with us in the comments!
Exclusively written for Yenlo