The Internet of Things (IoT) is the use of the internet in physical devices and everyday objects. IoT is a very broad concept as the “thing” can refer to a wide range of objects such as a vehicle with sensors, a person with a wearable heart monitor, or an animal with a transponder. In fact, the “thing” in IoT can be any object that can be assigned an IP address and is able to transfer data over a network – making the range of possibilities for IoT endless!
IoT devices are equipped with internet connectivity and other necessary hardware like sensors or processors that measure and report data via the internet. This data can be a single piece of information such as a heart rate or temperature reading from a fixed or mobile sensor, or more complex information from devices that collect multiple data simultaneously from various inputs.
After the initial set-up, IoT devices require little to no human interaction to operate, and can be monitored and controlled remotely. In some cases, IoT devices act on data they collect and can even affect the data they are measuring – for example, an IoT thermostat tracks the temperature and adjusts the operating conditions based on the data it collects to achieve the desired temperature setting.
What are the Benefits of IoT?
IoT technologies give companies the opportunity to rethink the way they approach their business and provide new tools to improve business strategies. Companies can reap many benefits from the current trend in IoT devices.
IoT technologies provide companies and people with access to real-time information that empower them with more knowledge – so it is no surprise that one of the biggest benefits of IoT is the flow of faster and higher quality information. This results in many advantages for companies such as more informed and better decision making, and the ability to monitor the overall business health. Additionally, with more connected devices that require little to no human intervention, the flow of information from machine-to-machine is faster – improving efficiency, saving time, and allowing personnel to focus on more value-add tasks. All of these benefits save companies money and improve the bottom line!
What are the Challenges of IoT?
Every new technology faces challenges in its early days and IoT is no different. The Internet of Things has a few big issues, one of which is security. The recent explosion of IoT devices has resulted in a similar explosion in security concerns. Companies and people need to know that their data and personal information is secure. Another potential issue with IoT technologies is safety. IoT devices are vulnerable to hacking just like other electronics – so as more and more medical tasks such as prescriptions and dosing are linked to IoT devices, the level of safety risk increases. Also, one of the benefits of IoT devices is the time savings provided by automating routine tasks; however, consumers need to be aware and verify all automated actions performed by their IoT devices. For example, if a pharmacy substitutes your medicine with a product you are allergic to, you as the consumer have to be able to flag this issue. Lastly, the IoT is a complex and connected technology. Any failures, bugs, or outages may have serious consequences to people and businesses. These challenges and others are actively being resolved as organizations and people increase their demand for, and reliance on, IoT devices.
What are IoT Applications?
Companies across various industries are using IoT to operate more efficiently, access real-time data to enhance decision-making, and add value to the business. From smart homes to wearable devices to automated machines within manufacturing, IoT technology is present in nearly every industry including consumer goods, healthcare, and industrial manufacturing. Below are some examples of where IoT devices are currently being used.
- Consumer goods: there are many examples of IoT technologies within the consumer goods sector beyond the most common device: smartphones. IoT devices for the smart home have exploded in recent years to include smart TVs, thermostats, lighting, sound systems, and security systems including cameras.
- Healthcare: The IoT is playing a bigger and bigger role in medical devices. Smart medical devices provide a wide range of data such as blood pressure, body temperature, blood sugar for healthcare providers. This data can be used for various applications ranging from prevention, diagnosis, monitoring, and therapy. In 2019, we will see the IoT evolve into the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), which will utilize IoT devices, telemedicine, and telehealth technologies – allowing care to be given to patients remotely. Examples of the IoMT applications being developed include an electrocardiogram monitor that will detect irregular heartbeats or rates that are too low. Additionally, wearable devices can be found in the public safety sector. For example, wearable sensors track a firefighters' vital signs to ensure his/her safety during life-threatening situations. Lastly, on the hospital management side, the healthcare industry is using IoT technologies to monitor and complete routine tasks such as inventory management of supplies.
- Industrial: The Industrial Internet of Things, referred to as IIoT, is the use of IoT technologies across sectors like manufacturing, transportation, and energy to optimize operations. This form of smart manufacturing has automated many of the design and production processes, allowing for better flow of information through the entire manufacturing process and improved efficiencies due to use of robotics on manufacturing lines.
Crescent Industries is committed to utilizing the latest technologies. OEMs turn to us because we combine molding expertise with advanced manufacturing facilities and robotic integration. We are well positioned to partner with OEMs to take advantage of the growth potential within the rapidly expanding IoT space.
Crescent Industries is an employee-owned custom injection molder providing an integrated single source solution for your custom plastic injection molded components utilizing our advanced engineering capabilities. Our capabilities allow us to mold a comprehensive range of engineered and commodity grade resins. Crescent currently serves the medical, pharmaceutical, dental, defense, safety, electrical/electronic, aerospace and OEM/Industrial markets.
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