The IoT industry is constantly evolving, and with it, widespread interest in its developments – with smart products becoming an integral part of our daily lives, more and more of them are emerging on the market. But do we actually know what exactly Internet of Things entail? What key features should the product possess to be considered “smart”? If you’re seeking a thorough explanation, you’ve come to the right place.
Let us usher you into the meaning of the Internet of Things (IoT) that will help you better understand the concept of “smart” as we go along.
Simply put, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a broad term that describes a network of smart devices that are connected to the Internet. They are often products we use on a daily basis: loudspeakers, telephones, washing machines, security systems, thermostats, etc. When we connect them to a network, we make them smart, and we can manage them from anywhere via a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.
However, IoT is not only about home devices. Products such as intelligent clothing for active people and autonomous cars are being made as we speak.
It becomes apparent that the term “smart” is hackneyed in all the ads or marketing campaigns every so often. And what leaves us a bit flabbergasted is the fact that it’s even applied to almost every electronic product at times. So the question is: is the term “intelligent toothbrush” or “intelligent plasticine” even valid in certain cases, or is it just a marketing ploy? And how can we tell the difference between smart and regular products, then?
The definition outlined in “What is a smart device? – a conceptualization within the paradigm of the internet of things “ can come in handy:
“An intelligent device is a contextually-aware electronic device, capable of performing autonomous calculations and connecting to other devices wired or wirelessly to exchange data” (own translation).
A smart device is defined as having three key features: context awareness, the ability to perform autonomous calculations, and connectivity with other devices.
It fully corresponds to the idea of Internet of Things, according to which every object can be part of IoT. Even a simple table can become a “smart table” if it is equipped with a sensor and it meets the above requirements.
The key is that smart products put together form an integrated system of mechanisms in order to enhance the comfort and/or safety of our lives. Thanks to a single device, we can manage electronic equipment, heating, lighting, and even security systems. This helps to save energy and time, while it also improves safety.
What does the aforementioned context awareness mean? This feature means the ability to adjust to changing conditions dynamically. A contextually-aware device makes decisions based on the context of a given situation. It can configure itself, but it also communicates with other devices in order to take the right action.
Smart devices have the ability to react in real-time. A great example of this are smart homes or cars, which, depending on the conditions, perform multiple actions at once. For example, during a burglary detected by motion sensors, the device can take a number of actions, such as activating the alarm, turning on lights, or alerting the owner.
Keep in mind that, in order to manage devices, IoT platforms (such as Cloud IoT Core by Google) are necessary. They are designed to connect our smart products and let us monitor and control them.
According to Statista, by 2025, the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) worldwide will reach 38.6 billion, and by 2030 this number will reach around 50 billion.
Global economic consequences are sure to follow. According to McKinsey, the Internet of Things (IoT) market will be worth between $5.5 trillion and $12.6 trillion by 2030. The popularity and availability of smart devices are a good chance for companies to increase the value and reduce operating costs by providing innovative solutions to both business partners and individual clients.
In order to follow the trends and customer needs, manufacturers now rely on IoT solutions and are transforming their “ordinary” products into smart devices. At Solwit, we deal with projects that help companies transform their everyday products into IoT ones. We equip our clients with the necessary resources: components and control elements along with an integrated system with dedicated software. Apart from the product management itself, using IoT enables the acquisition of valuable analytical data.
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