The Internet of Things (IoT). Across many industries this is at the core of their tech, data and innovation strategies – from refrigerators to cars and on and on. Everyone is excited and cannot wait! Or do we really know what we are getting into? (MRM already works with a facial-recognition software company). For the most part we focus on consumer products and they impact of IoT will have; but there are many more areas that IoT is actually in place or about to be — and one issue looms large: what about privacy? Who owns all this data that will collected? Here are 10 good examples from TechRepublic:
1: Transportation infrastructure
The insertion of sensors at key points of highways and railways is enabling cities to monitor the wellness of their transportation infrastructures, along with events like traffic flow and congestion. The information these IoT sensors send back to headquarters is used to notify motorists of heavy congestion points and alternate routes.
2: Safety of sensitive goods during transport
Foodstuffs and medical supplies often require stringent temperature and humidity controls during storage and shipment. To facilitate climate control, logistics companies use environmentally controlled, sealed containers. The containers are equipped with sensors that emit status reports to a central network so they can be monitored for adherence to humidity and temperature controls.
3: Logistics tracking and performance
Major logistics carriers now use trucks that are sensor equipped so shipments can be tracked along routes, optimum delivery routes can be used, and timeliness can be tracked. In some cases, sensors are also used to track speeds, braking habits, etc., of drivers to ensure that the safest and most environmentally friendly driving practices are used.
4: Equipment diagnostics and preventive maintenance on the factory floor
As manufacturers adopt new 21st century practices, equipment within the factory is being outfitted with sensors that automatically flash an alert into the central factory operations monitoring network when a weakening component or other failure-inducing condition is detected.
5: Smart street lights
Street lights with IoT capability now “communicate” with city utility managers who are miles away, sending IoT data on energy usage and enabling remote adjustments to lighting to compensate for local environmental conditions—such as dimming the lights on a moonlit night or increasing lighting during rainstorms and fog. The ability to climate-adjust street lighting economizes energy usage and reduces energy costs.
6: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
Aerial drones equipped with IoT sensors are being used by oil and gas exploration companies, mining companies, and agribusiness to chart and monitor remote, difficult to access areas and to measure elements such as soil composition and moisture content. The ability to perform these operations remotely saves field time and reduces the safety risk incurred when personnel are dispatched to remote and uncharted areas.
7: Inventory tracking during shipment
In areas of the world where the theft of inventory from trucks in transit for sale on the black market is widespread, transportation companies are attaching IoT sensors to packages and are making the practice known to locals. In one case, a transporter reported that the theft rate had fallen from 50% of inventory to 4% after IoT sensors were installed.
8: Home and business energy monitoring
The devices assist them in controlling energy consumption—whether it be for an individual home, a business, or a data center.
9: Mobile device tracking
In 2014 alone, more than 10 million mobile devices were lost in the UK. The worldwide total of lost or stolen mobile devices is undoubtedly staggering.
10: Safety monitoring/tracking of Alzheimer’s patients
Individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s or other mentally debilitating disorders can now be tracked via IoT sensors in case they leave the home and can’t find their way back. In addition, IoT sensors can serve as a safety net for potentially dangerous situations. For example they can be attached to stove gas burners in case a burner is turned on and left unattended.
Why is this hot? While there is a lot of buzz and excitement around IoT, most of the mass public is unaware of these advances – beyond the news and hype around driverless cars. But the IoT is in direct conflict with privacy concerns consumers have. While the examples given do not seem like the sources of personal data, they are the tip of the iceberg which is showing. Just imagine what is going on in the world of medical devices, trackables, wearable’s — Pandora’s Box has been opened but no one is quite sure what the results of doing so will be.
The chart below, from Globalwebindex.com highlights the collision of hype and fear: