How will the IoT (internet of things) affect our lives?

At times, the term ‘IoT’ (The Internet of Things) can feel like a tech buzzword. However, it first came to light back in 1999, when British entrepreneur, Kevin Aston coined the phrase in his lab. Since then, we see it sprawled across headlines and thought leaders depict how it will impact the world we live in. We hear about it often and though at times it can be seemingly ubiquitous, one thing for sure is that IoT has been playing a huge role in our day to day lives.

So much so that, by the end of 2021, there will be over 50 billion devices connected to the internet (Folder IT). This statistic confirms that IoT is by no means just a buzzword, but a key cornerstone of how modern day society has been created. If we look to capital markets, IoT is expected to be worth $520 billion by the end of 2021. This would illustrate a growth of approximately 50% year on year since 2017. 

Although it is clear that the IoT has been growing from strength to strength, how will it affect our lives moving forward? Bobby Ward (Co-Founder / Managing Director at Vorto) shares his view as to exactly what IoT is and how we will see it grow in the future.

By definition, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects, otherwise known as ‘things’. These ‘things’ can include sensors, gadgets, appliances, hardware or machines that have been programmed with specific applications that can transmit data. They have embedded connectivity and they work by using sensors to capture data and exchange this information over the internet. These connected ‘things’ transmit data with each other and do so without any input or intervention by humans. 

Examples include wearable health monitors, biometric cybersecurity scanners, wireless inventory trackers, connected appliances, smart home security systems and autonomous farming equipment. 

However, we are now living in an age where the network is hugely advanced when it comes to the connectivity of the IoT. In our Post-Covid look ahead, we are imaging smart cities and a smart grid. These concepts will be driving our future ways of living and will be implemented by IoT in many ways. 

Firstly, we will see the IoT improving the quality of life in our homes, making them more comfortable and more efficient financially and environmentally. Connected appliances will automatically turn off so that they don’t waste energy which will reduce carbon emissions and running costs.  

Secondly, the wearable device market will be set to grow, moving just beyond fitness trackers worn on the wrist. We can expect to see devices that can be worn across all parts of the body. For instance, Ralph Lauren made the decision to target athletes by launching their Polotech Shirt. The shirt records biometric readings such as heart rate, activity levels, calories burned and breadth depth. The shirt can be connected to fitness trackers. Parents of young infants can now understand their sleep behaviour better through smart company Mimo. The brand has launched a smart and washable crib sheet that shows their baby’s sleep movements and activity. 

Thirdly, we expect to see the acceleration of Smart Cities. They will operate by using IoT devices such as connected lights, sensors and meters that will collect and analyse data. This data will then be used to improve a city’s infrastructure and public services. This in turn will create smart grids, which is potentially one of the greatest implementations of smart architecture. We have already seen Dutch city Amsterdam experiment with a smart grid by offering habitants solar panels and home energy storage units that are connected to the city’s smart grid. They are run by batteries that lower the stress on the grid during peak hours and then enable habitants to store their energy during off peak hours. Interestedly, the solar panels empower residents to sell any spare energy back into the grid. Smart cities arguably make for better quality of living for habitants and also the environment. 

The IoT is set to fully transform our future and where our cities are headed for the better. If you would like to learn more about the IoT, contact Bobby Ward at [email protected]