Can you imagine leaving your house in the morning to go to the office, and the heating or air conditioning automatically switches off, and the alarm system turns on? Entering your car and it calculates the best route taking into account your destination which it just checked in your electronic agenda? Getting to the office and the lift takes you to your floor with no need to press any buttons and then you find your computer had already turned on when you were entered the building?
This is the Internet of Things (IoT). We could define the IoT as connection of physical and identifiable devices via Internet that transmit and receive data, which is then analyzed to transform it all into knowledge, which in turn is used to generate useful actions which should be performed by these or other devices.
Gartner estimates that in 2015 there will be 4,900 million connected devices, and that by 2020 we will reach the figure of 25,000 million IoT devices. Part of this IoT will apply to industries, forming what is now known as Smart Industry, or Industry 4.0 in Europe. And some forecasts indicate that by 2020 up to 500 billion dollars will be invested in industry applied IoT. (David Floyer “Defining and Sizing the Industrial Internet”)
It is beyond doubt that industry will benefit from this technological revolution. In many cases it will serve to improve productivity thanks to this new ability to measure and analyze, in real time, any part of an industry’s production, distribution and sales chain.
But in some cases companies will actually have the opportunity to radically transform their business. The Internet of Things is actually the Internet of data. Any device connected to the network will be capturing data and sending them to analysis centres. Anyone who has the data and can understand it will have knowledge, and thus the power to transform industry.
The possibilities are enormous; for example, to be able to continuously monitor the activity of a previously sold machine, in order to plan preventive maintenance before it breaks down, or to modify its parameters when it detects a fall in productivity. This will lead to, in some cases, the possibility of converting the sale of products into the sale of production capacity.
The Internet of Things has arrived, with many of its applications are already in use today, but we certainly have only seen just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to its potential.