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How often have you heard the term ‘Internet of Things’? It is mostly used while explaining concepts like big data and analytics, but how many of us actually know what it stands for? To make things simpler, Manipal Prolearn of Data Science organised a webinar on March 2, 2017, focussing on the Internet of Things.
The session titled, “An Industrial and Smart City Perspective on Internet of Things” was conducted by Mr. Sundeep Mishra, who has been a part of the analytics industry for about a decade. Presently associated with Genpact as a Risk Analyst, Sundeep started the session with a quick question for the audience testing their knowledge on the topic.
Brushing up the basics – What is IoT?
Sundeep explained how the Internet of Things (IoT) is different from the regular internet. Citing the examples of everyday gadgets like home security systems and temperature controllers, he described how IoT is a collective term for the network of devices that are connected with each other through the internet and are used to collect or exchange data.
For example, a thing in the Internet of Things could be a heart monitor implant used by a heart patient, a biochip transponder used on a farm animal, built-in sensors of an automobile and so on. All these devices are a part of the same ecosystem and collectively form the Internet of Things.
Difference between Industrial Internet of Things and IoT
Next, Sundeep threw light on the concept of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and explained the significance of IoT in the same. Industrial Internet of Things is the incorporation of a wireless network, analytical tools and big data with industrial devices.
While the concept remains the same in the case of both IIoT and IoT, the difference lies in their usage. As the name suggests, IIoT serves its purpose mostly in the industrial application while IoT is usually consumer-based. IIoT relies on comparatively sophisticated and complex devices offering greater visibility and automated control. IoT, on the other hand, concentrates on improving the consumer experience.
Need for Industrial Internet of Things
IIoT is a relatively new concept. It is an untapped area, but has the potential to change everything around us, Sundeep said. While close to 80% businesses are aware that IIoT has a pivotal role to play in the industry, only 25% of them have a clear strategy in place about it.
Sundeep brought up an alarming fact that less than 1% of the available data is being used by industries currently, the reason being lack of structured data. Unstructured data is available in various forms – Excel sheets, images, statistics, information collected over the years etc. All of this needs to be filtered out and cleaned before being put to use, which is the need of the hour.
Challenges while adoping an IoT system
The biggest challenge while adopting an efficient IoT environment, Sundeep specified, is the existence of various protocols connected with multiple devices. He specified that technology was never the problem in the case of the application of IoT. The challenges had always been the lack of strategy and a clear vision of how to adopt an IoT system.
How will IoT shape the future of smart cities?
Towards the end of the session, Sundeep brought up the concept of smart cities and the role IoT has to play in their development. He spoke about the features of smart cities like smart parking, digital payments, climate control and so on and how IoT can help make them a reality.
By 2020, 4 billion people in smart cities are expected to be connected to the IoT. Sundeep emphasised that the analytics part of IoT has the most value to offer as it helps come up with effective strategies.
Smart cities rely greatly on IoT to create a system for optimal use of resources. Imagine living in a neighbourhood where your car sensor notifies you about free parking space, garbage trucks receive alert messages when any area needs the service, an in-built terminal in your house connects you to the public infrastructure monitoring systems and so on.
Of course, building such smart cities will come with their own set of challenges too. However, the increasing reach of technology and smartphones will aid in overcoming a lot of these issues.
Lastly, Sundeep concluded the webinar with a stimulating question and answer session further clearing the doubts of the audience and enlightening them on the concept of IoT.