Monday, February 11, 2019

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?


Internet of Things (IOT)
            Internet of Things (IOT) is providing various challenging opportunities in different industries among significant growing applications. These systems and applications incremental growth is developed throughout the use of parallelly developed systems such as radio-frequency identification (RFID), mobile devices, sensors and wireless that prescribes the use of the application upon the IOT innovations and solutions. Significant growth of IOT applications is expected to enhance the productivity, efficiency and prosperity of many industries in the current market.

IOT emerging was initiated upon the linkage of any system that identity’s an object throughout RFID Xu and He and Li (2014).  Consequentially, IOT solutions were developed with more advanced technologies such as sensors, GPS devices, mobiles, actuators and automation systems.
The significant increase in IOT innovations is led by various industries such as health care, food processing, transportation, weather monitoring and many other industries in today’s market.

IOT can be defined as the composition of network infrastructure on various devices that are connected throughout sensors, communication network or any other information technology Xu and He and Li (2014).  IOT enables interconnectedness of different information technology devices anywhere, anytime on the planet by utilizing all the internet compensations on the normal daily life Want and Schilit and Jenson (2015). Zanella and Bui and Castellaniand Vangelista and Zorzi, (2014) defined IOT as “a recent communication paradigm that envisions a near future, in which the objects of everyday life will be equipped with microcontrollers, transceivers for digital communication, and suitable protocol stacks that will make them able to communicate with one another and with the users, becoming an integral part of the Internet”.
Key IOT Technologies
Many organizations are interested in IOT solutions as a factor of tremendous economic benefits. Consequentially, many countries have had a significant increase in IOT investments as the UK government invested 5 million Euro to develop IOT projects and China was planning to invest 800 million USD in IOT industries since 2015 Xu and He and Li (2014). Organizations are developing IOT projects in different applications that depend on the organization’s comparative advantage. The following paragraphs provides some examples of how some key industries implement IOT solutions.
  
Health care and IOT. Health care industry has an opportunity for developing IOT applications by using RFID of people, equipment, medicines, etc. for identifying patient’s identity and retrieving records. One of the applicable implementation of IOT applications in health care is the connectedness of related information which are used for patient’s health status follow up by their doctors through special sensors which then transfer the required medicines to the pharmacy as an electronic prescription that would automatically select the required medicines and prepare them for logistics support to deliver them to the patient’s place.  The implementation of IOT solutions in health care can help to improve doctor-patient follow up and can help to reduce the impact of late illness discovering. Furthermore, the connectivity between healthcare stakeholders is a key factor to increase productivity for the service providers in the whole process. 

IOT and food supply chain application. The vast increasing in social economy plays an important role on covering a large geographical area throughout a complex operating process. Since this process includes many stakeholders that are participating through the whole operating process, IOT solutions implementation in this industry is considered challenging. Anyhow, the IOT researchers are considering a massive coverage of the food supply chain that is expected to cover the whole operating process called farm-to-plate manner. Which means from the agriculture operations to food industries operations until food consuming. Using multiple IOT solutions to improve the efficiency and connectivity of the business process which is considered a great opportunity for IOT innovations and solutions.

Use in transportation. IOT can provide a massive change in transportation as this industry applications and IOT solutions are growing incrementally by many transportation entities. For example, IOT can help for tracking any vehicle and record its movement and predict any future practices. As one of the most IOT solutions provider in transportation, BMW developed an IOT technology called (I Drive system) that includes many sensors and tags to monitor the vehicle’s location, movements, tracks, roads condition to provide driving directions Xu and He and Li (2014).

Smart Cities and IOT applications. Smart cities market is expected to invest hundreds of billion dollars by 2020 with an annual spending which might be near to 16 billion Zanella and Bui and Castellaniand Vangelista and Zorzi, (2014). These cities include various implications of smart systems such as smart utilities, smart buildings, smart environment, smart governance, etc. The expansion of smart cities development is still lacking due to various challenges such as political, technical and financial barriers Zanella and Bui and Castellaniand Vangelista and Zorzi, (2014). Political barriers are found upon information privacy and security to the different stakeholders in these cities. These political obstacles can be minimized throughout the development of an institutional processes and practices reference for all stakeholders to clarify any conflict of political dimensions. Secondly, the vast scope that is included in the smart city master plan required many technological solutions in terms of infrastructure and buildings in order to develop IOT solutions. Therefore, the huge need of technological innovative solutions might lack the development process of the smart cities projects. Finally, smart cities recent emerging is considered as a lack of an ambiguous business model through the large scope of the technical requirements mentioned earlier. Therefore, the investment in smart cities is still considered risky for some markets.  

PADOVA Smart City Project. The University of Padova in Italy initiated a project called Padova Smart city. This project was built in cooperation with public and private sector for running a model of smart city. The municipality as a project financial sponsor provides all required infrastructure for the developers. Many sensors and actuators have been installed in Padova for the implementation of the IOT design for the smart city concept. The IOT network in this project consist of traffic lights, road lights, wireless network, entrances gates, environment sensors and temperature and humidity sensors. This project can be considered as a good example of smart city implementation as many activities of the city are connected through various technological devices to ensure safe and updated traffic and whether effective monitoring and operations.

Conclusion
            IOT as an integration of information technology that has inbuilt sensing, communication, processing and networking features. The implementation of IOT applications in various industries can foster the productivity and efficiency of process management, communication, data analysis, monitoring and controlling. It can be seen as an effective innovative solution for all stakeholders involved in any particular industry. The threat that would impedes organizations form investing in IOT can be seen as an opportunity for the developers to come over the technology challenges by impressive innovations. Furthermore, other threats such as political and financial barriers can be resolved throughout the market growth on IOT applications which would increase the experience and maturity of IOT developers and end-users.

References
Want, R., Schilit, B. N., & Jenson, S. (2015). Enabling the internet of things. Computer, 48(1), 28-35. doi:10.1109/MC.2015.12

Xu, L. D., He, W., & Li, S. (2014). Internet of things in industries: A survey. IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, 10(4), 2233-2243. doi:10.1109/TII.2014.2300753

Zanella, A., Bui, N., Castellani, A., Vangelista, L., & Zorzi, M. (2014). Internet of things for smart cities. IEEE Internet of Things Journal, 1(1), 22-32. doi:10.1109/JIOT.2014.2306328

Pollard, C., Turban, E., Wood, G. (2018). Information technology for management: On-demand strategies for performance, growth, and sustainability (11th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN: 9781118890790

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