Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

IoT Is Powering More Than Just Smart Homes

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The first thing that typically comes to mind when I think about IoT is smart homes. And rightfully so! Smart homes are mesmerizing–it’s like the things we always dreamed of happening came to life overnight. We have so many connected devices. From refrigerators, to washers and dryers, to light bulbs–anything can connect with IoT. It all begins with one device (Google Home, Amazon Echo, Alexa, etc.), your hub, that connects them all together. From that hub you can control everything connected to it, use voice commands to have it play music or an audiobook, create reminders or lists for yourself–if you can dream it up, odds are one of these devices already knows how to do it. There’s some kind of magic behind IoT, and while some are still waiting for the man behind the curtain to appear, IoT is real and here to stay. IoT is growing and smart devices are becoming more accessible to all of us, but have you considered any dreams bigger than just your home being connected? Let’s dream bigger together–because IoT is powering more than just smart homes.

Smart Homes Are Just The Beginning
We know that IoT has made its way into homes across the world, and maybe that’s as far as our imagination has allowed us to go with the wireless tech. But if you think that the largest IoT impact lies in the home automation sector, think again. The total potential impact for home automation is in the $200–$350 billion per year range by 2025, which is nothing to scoff at. But when compared to the the automotive industry at up to $740 billion per year, and cities at $1.7 trillion, we’ve got a whole new conversation to get started. The applications of IoT lie far beyond the walls of our own homes, and in some cases, they’re already here.

Dreaming Bigger–Connected Cities
Imagine living in a city that is constantly connected, sensing its inhabitants every move in order to make processes and transportation run more efficiently. IoT is making it possible for entire cities to be connected…and it’s already happening today! For instance, Singapore has implemented systems that can alert authorities if people are smoking in non-smoking areas or littering out of high-rise building windows, and the city also installed cameras that can analyze crowds, cars, etc. Singapore has invested in IoT to create a nicer, cleaner city, and they’re not the only ones. Barcelona has implemented street lights that sense if there is someone who needs the lights on, parking availability sensors to help alert drivers of open spots nearby, and waste compacting systems that eliminate the need for garbage trucks to pick up trash. All of those efforts will save Barcelona billions over the years–and help create a more connected, cleaner city.

Dreaming Bigger–IoT Cars
If I had to give you one guess as to which automotive industry leader has already taken a deep dive into the IoT pool, who would you guess? None other than our pal Elon over at Tesla, of course. Originally released in 2012 (yes, a whopping five years ago), Tesla’s Model S was released with the ability for certain fixes to be done “over-the-air”. AKA, a software update for your car. So in 2014 when the National Highway Safety Administration released a recall on the Model S’ charging plug, Tesla promptly updated the car’s software and voilà! Nearly 30,000 Model S owners had their recall fixed without ever having to step foot in a mechanic’s shop. It was unprecedented for the auto industry at the time, and to this day other car manufacturers are still trying to catch up. So while you won’t see other connected cars out on the roads quite yet, hang tight–technology giants like Microsoft and IBM have the IoT tech at the ready and are calling on auto makers to partner with them, and automotive companies like Ford and GM have acknowledged plans to roll out connected cars in the near future. And when they do, imagine the power of connecting a smart car to a smart city…I’m thinking real-time accident alerts with re-routing capabilities, parking spot locators, and more. For more not-so-futuristic inspiration, check out this video from IBM.

IoT is bringing dreams to life with everything moving toward being connected. What we once thought was impossible or improbable is now made possible by technology that stretches far above and beyond the dreams people once had. From connected homes to connected cities, IoT offers a world of automation opportunities. The Jetson life isn’t imaginary anymore–it’s the future with IoT.

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