The Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence are the true keywords of IFA 2018, the international trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances closing its doors today in Berlin. The rise of IoT devices among consumers is astonishing: from wearables to connected washing machines, from video surveillance devices to car onboard systems, analysts such as IHS Markit predict there will be more than 75 billion IoT objects in the world by 2025.
From a general viewpoint, consumers are interested in the Internet of Things for the same reasons businesses invest in this technology.
Let’s take control as an example. People want to know what is happening in their home when they’re away, they need to make sure their loved ones are safe. The IoT allows this, enabling a close monitoring and easier remote management of home apparels such as security cameras and intrusion prevention systems, and even health trackers and fitness wristwatches. In manufacturing or chemical plants, IoT-based networks are used to supervise machine and equipment conditions, manage assets and processes, optimise productivity. When an unexpected change is detected for a certain parameter or within a given procedure, operators are immediately alerted and may prevent problems and downtime.
Energy efficiency is another common rationale to look at the Internet of Things. Families and households want to reduce their energy bills by minimising power waste, so they appreciate connected LED lights, thermostats, heating and cooling systems to monitor domestic energy consumption and have more sustainable behaviours. The same lever applies to businesses, which can implement Internet of Things solutions to save energy in their offices or premises, but also to cities and urban services. Did you know that an IoT streetlight infrastructure can reduce power consumption by up to 70%? Smart Cities are going this way for both environmental and financial reasons.
Internet of Things is boosting consumer experience too. When travelling, you could ask the hotel to personalise your stay by setting room’s light and temperature conditions according to your preferences, using sensors to automatically adjust to natural daylight and outside weather. In a store, you could take advantage of tailored contents or promotions thanks to IoT tags positioned on single products. Manufacturers can adopt similar IoT technology to improve employees experience by simplifying internal workflows, related for instance to inventory management or quality control.
As IoT smart technologies are being successful in a variety of domains, industrial and business organisations can learn quite a lot from consumer applications. Devices and solutions are of course different, but IoT adoption drivers are not such distant.