The Internet of Things or IoT as it is fondly abbreviated, is the 2015 buzzword. Simply put, the Internet of Things is your everyday devices on the internet. Your comb, your kitchenware, your car, your coffee mug all connected to the information superhighway and able to function by taking commands issued remotely as well as being able to “talk” to each other. It is everything around you connected seamlessly. Internet of Things devices are the backbone of what is referred to as the Internet of Everything.
It is estimated that there will be at least 50 billion Internet of Things devices by the year 2020. Currently, according to Cisco, there are about 15 billion IoT devices in the world.
Futuristic technology evangelist and popular blogger Robert Scoble, in a talk delivered at one of the Ignite sessions at the ongoing GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, is optimistic about the future of the Internet of Things saying that the age of IoT is already here and what is remaining is exponential growth. According to Ben Salama, the Managing Director of Accenture Digital, that growth is on the way.
One of the barriers that have slowed down the rise of IoT devices over the years has been the high cost of required components and the lack of platforms. With the prices of chips, flash memory and other necessary hardware components tumbling down over the last few years, it has opened the door for IoT to come to the masses. To take things even further, there are now several platforms that interested parties can hop on to and build whatever they have in mind.
A new radio technology, NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT), has just received the nod from the standards body concerned (3GPP) and one of the pioneers is Chinese company Huawei. Huawei is one of the leading companies when it comes to network infrastructure and according to the company’s President of LTE, it has every intent to see through the development and adoption of NarrowBand IoT which allows small low-powered device relying on batteries and transmitting small bits of data and information to be able to connect to ordinary cellular LTE networks.
NarrowBand IoT has been floated because it provides better coverage indoors, has low latency, allows for a large number of devices to be connected on the same network and on top of it all, it is not expensive.
Technologies like NB-IoT and others are expected to revolutionize a number of things. From sensors at parking lots and vehicles communicating among themselves and providing accurate real-time information on the traffic situation and available parking spaces to determining fertility, humous content, the amount of moisture and the humidity levels in soil amongst farming communities. According to Mr Scoble, there are currently 0 IoT devices per acre in agricultural farms. By the year 2020, that number will average 50 devices per acre.
From the classroom to the farm to the road, some bite-sized devices (mostly sensors) are about to change everything that the world has known so far. The good thing is that this is already happening and it is not something for the talk shops to ponder over the next few years. It is something all organizations are already working day and night to advance while implementation has already taken off.