Trends in Internet of Things (IoT) – 2018

Technologists and business leaders are watching for innovative IoT applications in wearables, smartphones, smart meters, vehicles, factories, machines and other places where imagination takes us. Internet of Things (IoT) holds a lot of promise in machine-to-machine communication and use of ‘smart’ devices.

IoT is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to connect and exchange data. (Wikipedia)

IoT is really an aggregation of technologies with data-gathering sensors, machine-to-machine communication and networks to a ‘gateway,’ big-data and analytics and a review of the findings.


Internet of Things Building Blocks

An architecture for IoT can be as simple or as intricate as the requirements dictate. Simple IoT solution may include a few devices connected to a server, and more complex designs can include a cluster of devices that can ‘transmit’ status or data about its environment and a gateway that captures the data from such devices. The aggregate results of the findings are presented to users as reports and dashboards or sent as alerts.



Device and Data Collection

Data gathering in IoT begins with internet-enabled devices, sensors and other machines that collect information at the source. Sensors range in size, shape and capability based on requirements. For instance, large farms in North America may have hundreds of sensors across fields that gather information on moisture, soil condition and other environmental factors. Likewise, an industrial scale IoT deployment at a large factory might deal with tens of thousands of sensors and devices deployed across multiple sites. A smart home may be designed to include dozens of gadgets connected to a local network.

Devices can be connected directly to a network. In industrial settings, it is more common to design a cloud enabled IoT gateway that interfaces with individual sensors to authenticate them and gather data. An IoT design may enable older equipment and machines (with new sensors) along with the modern, intelligent, and connected devices. The devices can also be used to control the state of the equipment – For example, switching off a faulty machine, or remotely turning up the thermostat from a user’s iPhone.  The gateway may also monitor the health and condition of sensors and maintain a registry of active devices. For example, a connected car may have a local gateway that would register sensor-enabled devices in the vehicle.

Data processing and Analytics

The data collected from the sensors is generally aggregated by the IoT or Cloud gateway before transmitting to a central repository for processing.  In the connected-car example, the gateway may tag additional metadata such as the make, model, VIN, year of manufacturing and other details of the car while aggregating the data from sensors.

IoT devices generate vast amounts of data, and some of the emerging Big Data techniques are combined to enable decision makers. The heart of an IoT architecture is the set of software platforms that process the information from the IoT gateway that stores the data and enable its analysis and presentation. Technologies such as real-time stream analysis and machine learning are being applied with industrial solutions to enhance decision making. These technologies also help with predictive maintenance and proactive monitoring of expensive equipment.


Innovative IoT Applications and opportunities


While there are a lot of ‘cool’ consumer ideas (link) that showcase the potential of connected devices, the real promise lies in industrial applications to solve business problems and improve operational efficiencies. Here are five examples of IoT technologies enabling business capabilities:

  • Virgin Atlantic is preparing for a significant increase in data as it embraces the internet of things, with a new fleet of highly connected planes each expected to create over half a terabyte of data per flight. The introduction of Boeing 787 aircraft ordered by Virgin Atlantic is expected to dramatically increase the volume of data the airline will need to deal with. “The internet of things, in a broad sense, is where we are starting to see everything from planes to cargo devices getting connected,” IT director David Bulman said. “The latest planes we are getting, the Boeing 787s, are incredibly connected. Literally every piece of that plane has an internet connection, from the engines, to the flaps, to the landing gear.” (Computerworld)
  • John Deere is a leader in Agricultural equipment automation. It is pushing Big data and the IoT solutions in the field of big agriculture. The “John Deere Field Connect™ ”  (link) systems aim to help farmers monitor moisture levels and feeds data to web-based interface. The data from sensors help farmers make timely irrigation decisions and alerts them when moisture levels are reaching full and helps eliminate over watering. discover when crops are reaching optimum moisture levels and helps . Analysis of the trends can also highlight seasonal variances and impact of weather on irrigation and moisture retention.
  • Disney’s Magic Band – A few years ago, Walt-Disney company announced a $1 billion investment to design and implement the “MagicBand.” The MagicBands are IoT enabled wristbands available to Magic Kingdom visitors, and are enabled by a long-range transmitter that can send signals more than 40 feet. Using their modified iPhones, Disney’s hosts and hostesses at the Magic Kingdom receive signals when the guests arrive at a facility  – like a themed restaurant – and can greet their guests by name and begin pre-ordered services without being told.A wired magazine article explains “If you sign up in advance for the so-called “Magical Express,” the MagicBand replaces all of the details and hassles of paper once you touch-down in Orlando. Express users can board a park-bound shuttle, and check into the hotel. They don’t have to mind their luggage, because each piece gets tagged at your home airport, so that it can follow you to your hotel, then your room. Once you arrive at the park, there are no tickets to hand over. Just tap your MagicBand at the gate and swipe onto the rides you’ve already reserved. If you’ve opted in on the web, the MagicBand is the only thing you need.”
  • Smart meters at electric utilities – Electric utilities around the globe have begun to roll-out Smart Meters for their consumers. These devices help users track their energy usage and discover trends in their electric consumption. The technology also benefits the utility by minimizing electricity theft and enabling automatic outage detection alerts. This leads to lower energy consumption for consumers and lower total cost for the utility. Article – Pros and Cons of Smart Electric Meters
  • ABB’s Internet of Things, Services and People – IoTSP – Swiss Industrial giant ABB has been working to develop and enhance process control systems, communications solutions, sensors and software for the IoTSP. These technologies enable ABB’s customers in industries, utilities and infrastructure to analyze their data more intelligently, optimize their operations, boost their productivity, and their flexibility.


There is a lot of hype over the potential of IoT and how connected devices will solve a range of problems. Ideas include connecting and remotely operating ‘anything‘ with an on-off switch. However, the hype is being tempered by a dose of reality since the high cost of enabling Industrial IoT must be weighed against the benefits. Likewise, security of such data requires continual attention: No factory manager will agree to a 2-way-IoT getaway that could ‘accidentally’ operate an equipment remotely.


Internet of Things (IOT) Resources and Reviews

  • Harnessing IoT in the enterprise (free PDF) This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature, looks at how the Internet of Things is enabling data analytics and automation in ways never before imagined in business. 
  • The Internet of Things Goes Nano – The Internet of Things (IoT), built from inexpensive microsensors and microprocessors paired with tiny power supplies and wireless antennas, is rapidly expanding the online universe from computers and mobile gadgets to ordinary pieces of the physical world: thermostats, cars, door locks, even pet trackers. New IoT devices are announced almost daily, and analysts expected to up to 30 billion of them to be online by 2020.
  • Half of Organizations in the US and Europe Lag in IoT Adoption This is a first-of-its-kind global CXO survey with early adopters of the technology. 50% of respondents said their organizations are already behind the curve on IoT, whilst 43% said their customers will suffer from their organization’s failure to utilise IoT fully.
  • Smart building startup gets $7 million to spread its IoT sensors – Israeli startup PointGrab announced a $7 million investment Tuesday with participation from Philips, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital (MUCAP), ABB Technology Ventures (ATV) and Japan’s MUFG.Their flagship product is CogniPoint, a sensor working off deep learning neural networks to provide analytics on space management and operational efficiency. It also looks to optimize energy efficiency.
  • 43 Percent of Organizations Are Using or Plan to Implement the Internet of Things  – According to a Gartner survey, less than a third of responding organizations are currently using IoT, an additional 14 percent are planning to implement IoT in the coming 12 months. In aggregate, the majority of organizations (64 percent) plan to eventually implement IoT. However, it is also important to note that another 28 percent have no plans to implement IoT, and 9 percent that see no relevance whatsoever in the technologies.

Edited and compiled by: Mohan K | Reproduction with permission only | Contact