The Internet of Things is one of the most popular tech trends of the last few years, and although its practical implementation is so far mostly limited to tenuous experiments and attempts, it shows tremendous promise. It may be a few years until we see it used en masse, but what we see today (e.g., in healthcare and manufacturing) is already noteworthy. Let’s take a look at a few examples and potential future developments.
The most obvious and widespread use of IoT tech in healthcare is telemonitoring, aimed at improving both the quality and efficiency of care. Connected devices carried by patients can provide vital information on their condition in real time, both cutting financial and time costs of doctor visits and alarming healthcare specialists immediately when specific stats enter risk zones. Patients no longer have to make a decision of asking doctors for help based on their subjective feelings – their doctors get immediate updates on their condition and are capable of getting involved when it is most necessary, not letting conditions or diseases get out of hand.
2.- Asset Tracking, Monitoring, and Management
Another promising venue for IoT developers is opened up by enormous possibilities connected devices provide for more rational management and monitoring of industry and medical assets and resources. What does it mean in practical terms? If all the enterprise’s assets are connected into a smart ecosystem that continually collects information on resource consumption and analyzes this data, it both allows the management to keep track of where things go and make smart decisions based on these insights. With the help of big data and cloud technology, it helps one make accurate predictions and run predictive maintenance, always keeping ready for changes.
One of the strong points of the Internet of Things is that it allows not for automation, but informed automation. A device or machine doesn’t just perform its function without human input and oversight but does it based on data received from external sources. Applications vary from connected implantable glucose monitoring sensors for people with diabetes (that monitor glucose levels in real time and alter the insulin delivery based on them) to connected inhalers and containers that remind patients when it is time to take their medication, thus removing the possibility of human mistake and forgetfulness.
4.- Promotion of Preventive Healthcare
Preventive healthcare has been among the primary concerns of health organizations throughout the world for quite some time, but it is the Internet of Things that genuinely opens new horizons in this area. Direct and continuous access to real-time data on every individual’s health will cause a revolution in healthcare by helping people make better health-related choices, prevent disease and, in the long run, decrease the costs of healthcare by concentrating its efforts on problems that cannot be quickly eliminated before they appear.
5.- Workflow Optimization
Continuous gathering of information from connected devices within the confines of one company provides insights into the work process that are unobtainable by any other means. Knowing what the employees do, how much time they spend doing specific tasks and what influences their efficiency can assist in identifying performance bottlenecks and make timely alterations in workflow, facility organization and more. It concerns not just the people working within one building: it is very promising, for example, in the area of fleet management. By placing special sensors in every vehicle of a company, the analytics team can track a movement of every vehicle in the fleet, as well as the behavior of the driver. The fact that most drivers use smartphones anyway makes implementation of this strategy even easier and cheaper.
Energy is a significant expenditure item for many commercial and industrial objects – which is only exacerbated by their notoriously suboptimal consumption patterns. Through using the Internet of Things sensors, it is possible to automatically turn the lights off when specific parts of a building are unused, change temperature to meet current requirements, boot up hardware in advance to decrease waiting times, and more.
The Internet of Things opens up numerous possibilities everywhere, but healthcare and industry seem to be among the primary beneficiaries; we are likely to see massive reforms in this direction within the next few years.