The word Internet of Things (IoT) was coined by Kevin Ashton a British technology pioneer in 1999. We had humans communicating on the internet and IoT was an automated network through which “things” could communicate among themselves without human intervention. The Internet of Things (IoT) connected physical “things”, devices and appliances that got feedback from users and processed the requirement through microprocessors and typically provided additional services as communicated through the internet and Wi-Fi network.
Examples of IoT home objects are everywhere in our life ranging from thermostats, cooking appliances, security systems, health monitors, smart phones, smart watches and autonomous automobiles. IoT devices are manufactured using a combination of hardware often using electronic components and sensors along with necessary software. According to IoT Analytics ‘State of IoT’ Spring 23 report there were 14.3 billion active IoT endpoints in 2022 that will grow to 16.7 billion in 2023 and nearly 30 billion by 2027 with a 16% CAGR growth. IoT devices explosive growth helps us in many aspects, increasing safety, improving health, and in industries increasing efficiency and productivity.
IOT applications and ecosystem can be thought of in four major segments; industrial IoT, consumer IoT, commercial IoT and infrastructure IoT. Mckinsey & Company describe many IoT use cases as in human health – wearable or inserted devices into the body to monitor and manage health , home – security and home appliances; offices- manage energy and security; retail environments – devices to help scan and checkout and optimise inventory; industrial and production environments which optimise manufacturing plants, hospitals, farms, mining, construction and oil exploration; vehicles – maintenance, autonomous driving; cities – traffic control, environment monitoring and in outdoor settings- railroad, autonomous vehicles and navigation.
Dawn Kawamoto (Built In, Aug 31, 2020) gives good examples of 20 IoT devices connecting the world as: Autonomous Tractors, Autonomous Vehicles, Chillers Monitors, Fingerprint Timeclocks, Glucose Monitors, Smart Glasses, Smart Lamps, Smart Lighting, Smart Locks, Smart Mirrors, Smartphones, Smart Refrigerators, Robots, Smart Security, Smart Speakers, Smart Thermostats, Smart Traffic Lights, Smart Toys, Smart TVs and Wearables.
Almost all the IoT products hardware include microprocessors or semiconductors and electronic devices for sensing, control, communication, and focus on specific tasks. Semiconductor devices ranging from the mundane older technology generation integrated circuit chips (in toys) to the most sophisticated latest technology generation integrated circuit chips (in Apple iPhone) are the basic building block for these IoT objects and devices. The largest semiconductor companies in the world like Intel, Samsung, TSMC, TI, SK Hynix, Toshiba, AMD, Micron, Broadcom, Qualcomm, Skyworks, Qorvo and Cirrus Logic make a variety of IC chips used in IoT. Assembly of IoT hardware is done usually by Electronic Contract Assembly providers who make ready the complete hardware solutions.
The tiny chips from these state of art semiconductor companies power the most robust solutions. Some of the largest manufacturers to use make them include Foxconn for iPhone, BYD Electronics for electric vehicles, Pegatron for consumer electronics, Flextronics for medical equipment, Jabil for computer parts, Wistron for desktops, USI for sport equipment and Sanmina for precision engineering. IoT Software provides the functioning of these IoT products and devices. Software focus is on networking, middleware, platforms and embedded systems.
The presence of billions of IoT objects and devices have also created risks primarily for hacking and stealing of data both from people and companies. Cybersecurity strengthening will continue to be needed to reduce and restrict such attacks. In the next decade significant continued growth in IoT is expected in communication, health care, industrial and security applications. These products will continue to improve the lives of people all around the world.