Internet of Things (IoT): What is this phenomenon?
Put simply this is internet enabled processes aided by internet connectivity-enabled devices and systems. They cut across all spectrum of industry and commerce, domestic and industrial education and social. The physical objects involved should have an IP (Internet Protocol) address which enables them to connect to the internet. This allows communication with other devices and systems that are connected to the internet.
Internet of Things go beyond the traditional connectivity of the desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets. Of course for the layman this will be a shock and one is bound to ask, “If these are traditional so what is likely to modern?” This article is to bring answers to such questions, so please read on as we move beyond our Zimbabwe setup to the global village of technology.
There are vast examples of entities that fall into the scope of Internet of Things including but not limited to connected security systems, thermostats, cars, electronic appliances, lights in household and commercial environments, alarm clocks, speaker systems, vending machines and more. Many a times we have head of someone able to control the lighting system of their houses with the use of a smartphone when they are miles away from home. Zimbabwean farmers were derogated “cellphone farmers” but this put to positive use in the Internet of Things can translate to farmers who can operate their agricultural implements away from the farm. Self-driving cars, Home Security Systems, Medical Systems and such like are in the brackets of Internet of Things.
According to research there are over ten billion of devices which are able to connect to the internet. As the techno-ages move on there is bound to be more connections and these will mainly be driven by consumer demand. In developed countries there is actually a boom in IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) which refers to the use and management of connected devices and "smart" electronics beyond the traditional manufacturing domain of the Internet of Things into the transportation, energy, healthcare and similar industrial sectors. This is the future and now technological revolution.
Here are a few examples of Internet of Things functionaries:
DHL, On a very large scale, the Internet of Things can help a great deal with logistics. DHL provides shipping, warehousing, distribution, and supply chain management all over the world, and this requires a huge amount of communication. DHL released a report detailing some potential uses of IoT technology that includes vehicle monitoring and maintenance, real-time tracking of packages, environmental sensors in shipping containers, information-gathering on employees and tools, and a number of safety-enhancing features for vehicles and people.
August Smart Lock, with this smart lock, you’ll never need keys again—it unlocks automatically when you get home, and locks behind you when you close the door. You can grant guest keys to friends or the dog sitter, and have them expire when you no longer want to give that person access to your house. An optional keypad means you can set a code to open your door in case you don’t have your phone with you (like if you’re out for a run). You can even view the activity log and grant access from your smartphone remotely.
Canary Smart Security System, the Canary combines video, audio, motion detection, night vision, a siren, and air quality, temperature, and humidity sensors into a single device that you can control from your phone.
Samsung SmartThings Hub, this lets you control lights, locks, plugs, thermostats, cameras, and speakers from a central hub that you can access from your smartphone, as well as a wide range of sensors that you can use with the SmartThings system to create a security solution that’s integrated with all of the other electronics in your home. There are really few things you cannot control with this hub.
HealthPatch Health Monitor, serves a greater purpose than convenience. It can be used for out-patient
care by healthcare providers, letting them get ECG, heart rate, respiratory rate, skin temperature, body posture, fall detection, and activity readings remotely. This can alert doctors to potential health problems before they arise, or give them additional insights into which treatments will be most effective for their patients, even when their patients aren’t in the office. Mirror this with Zimbabwe’s Cholera outbreak.
Getting closer home we have our own YouFarm Organisation is in the thick of IoT, this is what they say about their initiative in this field: The Internet of Things (IoT) has the capability to transform the world we live in. I feel that IoT will have the greatest impact in agriculture. With the global population set to reach 9 billion in the near future, the agriculture industry needs to embrace IoT and technology to feed all those mouths. Not only are we faced with a rising population, but we are also fighting the effects of climate change and land degradation.
Smart farming based on IoT technologies will enable farmers to reduce the amount of inputs used and increase productivity. An example of how YouFarm can do this is by using the data we get from drones or satellites to determine which areas in the field need attention, whether that be more irrigation or less fertilizer. The satellites and drones use Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI) and Near Infrared sensors (NIR) to monitor crop for changes. This data is then used to improve crop production.
As a nation we need to grow ourselves into this phenomenon, though we are still battling against high internet charges and inconsistent connections and such other drawbacks.