The IoT marketplace is huge and diverse. It covers multiple industries, from healthcare to agriculture, manufacturing to utilities. It has enabled the development of new products and services, the capturing of information that previously went ignored, the streamlining of processes and the extension of equipment’s useful lifespan.
But where is it having the greatest impact?
There are so many possibilities to choose from. One approach is to shift away from focusing on how it is helping businesses and other organisations to drive efficiencies, power innovation and ultimately improve the bottom line. If we take a closer look at how the IoT is having a positive impact on end users outside of the IoT’s corporate or commercial applications, we can see how the IoT is much more than a business technology issue – it is a consumer one.
Here are some key examples.
Feeding the world’s growing population is a key challenge, particularly in the era of climate change. Smart agriculture involves placing connected sensors through crop fields, monitoring them for key qualities such as temperature, moisture levels and soil quality, which can then automate irrigation and fertilisation systems. Not only does this dramatically reduce the need for human intervention and cumbersome manual tasks, it also optimised crop yields and ultimately produces better harvests. The upshot for the consumer is better value food.
The IoT is increasingly enabling the worlds of internet and physical shopping to blend together. With the help of augmented and virtual reality, consumers can try on clothes virtually, and be presented with styling and cross-selling options when they enter a particular store of look at a particular item. Even the advertising mechanisms used to market retailers are being enhanced by the IoT, thanks to connected devices tracking spending patterns in truly granular detail, or products being scannable with smartphones to reveal tailored special offers. The upshot for the consumer is more personalised retail, tailored to their needs and tastes.
The holiday accommodation sector is being transformed by the IoT. Facial recognition allows managers to identify customers before they check in, thereby delivering a more personalised experience or enabling more secure room access. Connected sensors in rooms can enable bespoke approaches to everything from temperature and lighting to making predictions as to when guests would like specific services provided. The upshot for the consumer is a seamless and luxurious experience.
Smart health and social care
The twin challenges of an aging and growing population, coupled with an ever-growing set of medical treatments and interventions which must be costed and budget for, mean that the health and social care sectors are under extreme pressure to help people live independently at home for as long as possible. IoT systems which combine sensors with communication lines to caregivers, are integral to this. Connected care is also enabling patients to receive remote diagnoses and treatment, and to be monitored more closely and intelligently than ever before. The upshot for the consumer is more tailored care and more independence.
The point is, all of these examples – and many more – ultimately have an effect on how people entirely unconnected from those industries in the first place live their lives. In other words, as the IoT helps sectors to evolve and innovate, the benefits are felt in myriad ways by end users. The IoT is not being confined within sectors – it transcends them.