A Guide for the Internet of Things (23th August 2020)

iob watch learn iot

What is the Internet of Things

Internet of things or commonly referred to as IoT is a network of sensor enabled devices that independently collect and exchange data between them to make smart decisions without the need for human input. The interacting devices may be mechanical or digital and could differ in terms of key core technologies they use but can communicate with the help of a common set of protocols. Each of the devices is identified by UIDs or unique identifiers. In a broad sense, IoT devices are grouped as actuators, computer devices, software, and wireless sensors. These usually work as a part of industrial, mobile, environmental, or medical equipment to facilitate the function of Internet of Things. The popular adoption of IoT is seen in household smart appliances dealing with Information and Entertainment, Health and Fitness, Home security, Energy Management, Automation, and others. IoT in a nutshell integrates physical and digital worlds to control the physical in a meaningful way.  Any unintelligent object can be converted into an IoT device by attaching a sensor to it and it is usually cost-effective because of the availability of low-cost microchips.

History and Background of IoT

The key idea of IoT came into existence in 1982 when a Coke vending machine at Carnegie Mellon University was connected to the internet to detect the hot or coldness of drinks.  Also, it was able to report the number of drinks left and the need for a refill. Later the concept of IoT was roughly described in the IEEE spectrum as a network of a large number of nodes (home appliances to industrial equipment) to move small data packets to automate their function.  Similar ideas were proposed by Bill Joy in the “Six Webs” framework where it was pointed as ‘device to device communication’ in 1999.  In the same year the tag of words ‘Internet of things’ was first introduced by Kevin Ashton at a presentation on Supply chain optimization for executives of Procter&Gamble. He is the founder of an international standard for RFID and sensors which he considered essential for managing IoT devices.


The concept of ‘Internet of things’ found its practical application after the invention of Metal Semiconductor field-effect transistors or MOSFET which made high computing in a compact chip possible. This semiconductor technology has found widespread usage in smartphones, computers, tablets, and IoTs.

LG invented the first refrigerator connected to the internet via LAN called LG Internet Digital DIOS in 2000. Next, a significant development came in the form of EPC (Electronic Product Code) which was an improvement over UPC (Universal Product Code) that does object detection and tracking during the life cycle of the internet. In the following years, the internet of things was introduced and evolved under different synonyms at conferences and product launches. The term IoT started gaining mainstream popularity after Google introduced StreetView that created 360-degree pictures and stored them across different Wifi networks.

IoT Market Share

 The global trajectory for the Internet of Things is simply up.  Even during the COVID 19 crisis, it is estimated to hold a market share of US$876.5 billion. In terms of the number of IoT devices, by the end of 2020, it is projected that we will have approx. 31 billion IoT devices operating around the world and it will increase up to 35 billion by 2021. And it is expected to more than double by 2025 to 75 billion IoT devices. However, compound estimations based on CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 31.4% forecast an even higher number of 561 billion IoT devices on the grid by 2022. At a geographic level, major IoT players including Germany will add over US$22.5 Billion and Japan by US$21.1 Billion. The emerging markets especially China is foreseen to grow by 30.1% and add US$85.1 Billion of market share regardless of current consumer, business, and geopolitical sentiments.

iob watch learn iot market share
Copyright: Verified Market Research, Internet of Things (IoT) Market Analysis & Forecast, 2020-2027
  • https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/internet-of-things-market-573.htmlThis report provides detailed analysis of the growth trends among each of the segments as well as accurate forecasts in terms of the value and volume.

See the following graphic from grandviewresearch.com for an estimate of the IoT market revenue trend orm 2012-2022 in USD Billion. It can be seen that the consumer electronics segment accounts for a total of almost 30% of the entire market. The presence of major technology has led North America IoT market being a dominant force.

North America IoT market revenue by application, 2012 - 2022 (USD Billion)

See grandviewresearch for more information

Key drivers of IoT in 2020

Falling Sensor Costs

Based on studies by BI Intelligence, the average cost of IoT sensors have decreased by nearly 3 times from $1.30 to $0.38 in the period from 2004 and 2020. And this is estimated to shrink even more similar to an exponential decline in the cost of microchips that happened in the last decade.

Developments in Big Data Analytics

IoTs generate a large amount of semi-structured or unstructured data throughout the day. This data is stored in a big data system and needs to be interpreted to gain intelligence to perform automatic operations. The recent developments in terms of Spark, Hadoop, and MapReduce have made effective analysis and generation of reports on Big Data possible.

Prescriptive Analytics

Prescriptive analytics is a predictive analytics based on a specific algorithm used in the computer program. It determines the short term outcomes.  The developments in advanced prescriptive analytics have enabled IoTs to make better decisions for maintenance, manufacturing, and quality of products and operations.

Mass presence of handheld devices including smartphones and Tablets

The growth of the Internet of Things at a high rate is possible as greater portion of infrastructure is already existing. Handheld devices equipped with sensors can gather details about the location of the device, light condition, and send data in a structured form including pictures and videos.

High-speed internet developments in the form of 4G and 5G

With the availability of low-cost high-speed internet, billions of devices can connect and make IoT networks feasible.

Availability of advanced Wireless Short-Range Networking Technologies

The advanced wireless technologies such as LPWANs and Zigbee provide various options for near and long communication between IoTs. LPWAN makes long-range communication possible with the help of portable and inexpensive batteries. This technology is ideal for supporting IoT networks in commercial and industrial campuses.  LPWANs are used in worker safety, remote monitoring, smart metering, facility management, and building control applications. ZigBee works in a mesh network and handles short-range communication through a low power wireless standard. It supports greater data rates but drains the battery faster.

What IoT offers

The benefits of the Internet of things come from automation. It takes off the effort of manual labor and helps to optimize the operation of devices in both home and business setups.

With IoTs installed, businesses can monitor the systems in real-time and deliver insight into performance, logistics, and operation of the supply chain. It reduces labor costs, improves service delivery, cuts waste, and makes manufacturing and delivery of goods further cost-effective from the current setup. It brings transparency to the transactions of customers.  As more and more businesses from different sectors are adopting IoTs, sooner a business realizes this, greater is its competitive edge. IoTs are now commonplace in logistics, transportation, manufacturing, infrastructure, agriculture, and utility organizations.

Below are some key benefits a business would enjoy with the installation of IoTs.

  • Business process monitoring
  • Offering greater customer Experience due to better collection of data
  • Savings in money and time
  • Enhanced productivity from employees
  • Make business decisions
  • More revenue generation

In the consumer segment, IoTs are used in smart appliances thermostats, lighting, electronic devices, heating, and other devices that support remote control through smartphones and computers. Some of the wearables are now equipped with IoT sensors and software. These track data help a person live comfortably and easier. Construction workers, first responders, rescuers use IoT powered wearables to be located and give information about their vital signs. IoT systems are used by healthcare providers to monitor medical instruments and therapeutics. It helps to better monitor patients. IoTs make operations of a home smarter and reduce energy costs, maintain an ideal atmosphere by automatically adjusting the heaters and air conditioners. The sensors are now intelligent to detect the room temperature and appropriately adjust conditioning equipment at home. In the outdoors, IoTs can be deployed on streetlights, traffic signals, air quality meters, and waste bins.

Use cases for the IoT

iob watch learn use cases
Schematic representation of the various application fields of the Internet of Things

1. Fleet Management

IoT Fleet Management is aimed at enhancing productivity, increasing lifespan, reducing staff, investment costs, environmental pollution, and investment in vehicles.  With IoTs installed driver behavior, the health of engine, exhaustion, and other components of the vehicle can be monitored. This helps in maximizing fuel efficiency, reduce wear and tear, and get real-time automated alerts. Sensors attached to various components of the vehicle send automated signals and early warnings about failure and need for maintenance. Remote monitoring and diagnostics of engine performance can be done similarly. In terms of driving behavior, unnecessary accelerating, idling, and decelerating patterns can be noted. All this data helps to gain insight into the overall working of the fleet. Automated alerts can be sent to drivers about weather warnings, nearest service stations, and the wrong roads is taken.

  • Optimized logistics and maintenance
  • Better compliance with safety regulations
  • Adherence to environmental regulations
  • Monitor driver performance
  • Vehicle evaluation and condition maintenance
  • Driver scheduling
  • Improve time management
  • Improve customer satisfaction

3. Agriculture- Grain Management

Based on research conducted by NIH, about 60% of grains harvested are lost during storage. With IoTs in place, this can be reduced significantly by monitoring the condition of storage. By continuous probing of moisture, heat, and air in the storage space through sensors, the grains are stored safely without spoilage.

IoTs in general is increasingly being used in smart agriculture or farming as demand for sustainable farming is growing. In a smart farming setup, sensors help to monitor and control temperature, humidity, light, soil, moisture, and irrigation system.

4. Building Consumption Monitoring

With IoT systems in a building, power, water, and natural gas consumption can be monitored. Smart meters track individual elements and give information about the total consumption and details about how it was consumed and at what time. This gives greater control over energy usage and actions can be taken based on information collected to save money and reduce emissions.

IoT here

  • Streamlines power consumption
  • Reduces energy spending
  • Tracks renewable power
  • Reduces operating expenses
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