Buzzwords. Love them or hate them, they are key elements of our everyday discourses. If we take a look and current tech discussions, there’s a buzzword that has been raising attention for quite some years by now: the Internet of Things, or IoT in short. Most likely you’ve already heard it before amongst technologies that promise to revolutionize the way we live and work, such as artificial intelligence or automation. It is a concept that is easy to define but difficult to imagine, with many different perspectives on its implications today and the days of tomorrow.
Understanding the Core Concept Behind IoT
Being a software company working with IoT, we are often required to explain what the concept stands for. This is understandable, since there are countless ways to define IoT that might make it difficult to wrap our head around it. However, there are quite a few definitions that make it simpler for us to think with IoT terms, such as this one by IBM:
“In a nutshell, the Internet of Things is the concept of connecting any device (so long as it has an on/off switch) to the Internet and to other connected devices. The IoT is a giant network of connected things and people – all of which collect and share data about the way they are used and about the environment around them.”
Quite clear, right? The last sentence really does the trick here. The Internet of Things really isn’t a complex concept, but it is just as powerful. It entails the “smartification” process of our technologies in the past years. Think of any device you can buy today. It is highly likely that it can be connected to the internet and other devices in order to download or share information. Perfect example for this is your phone: In the process of “becoming smart”, (smart)phones now operate as small computers in our pockets that allow us to be connected to the internet at all times, making us, humans, also part of the IoT, even if we barely notice it. Pretty neat if you ask us.
There are countless “things” that connect to the Internet and communicate with each other, however, it is relatively easy to identify their function within the IoT ecosystem. In general, devices connected to the internet can be sorted into three categories:
- Devices sending information
- Devices receiving information and perform actions based on it
- Devices capable of doing both
Examples to these functions can be found also in the tools of our solutions for better facility management. Let’s take a look at how we turn IoT solutions into actionable data with such tools in the following section.
How does our system work in the context of IoT?
So, being connected to everything at all times is not a bad thing, right? Some might be skeptical, but here at HeadsUpp we like to take a pragmatic approach when we talk about technology. With the infinite possible solutions the IoT has to offer, we created a platform that houses data from a vast network of sensors, providing building managers with valuable information that potentially contributes towards future decisions.
As mentioned earlier, we can identify the three categories of devices in our solutions that make up the Internet of Things:
- Our sensors act as the devices that measure and send information
- Different tools collect this information and organize it
- Our facility management platform collects information from other tools and reports that data
Let’s look at these categories in the context of our operations:
The sensors we use range from temperature to humidity, dust, lux, noise and occupancy. These sensors can be placed all over buildings in order to gather data that would be accessible for clients through the facility management platform. All the different kinds of sensors are the cornerstone of the dataflow in our system, with them representing the first category of devices in the IoT formula: devices that measure and send information.
In addition to sensors, there are multiple devices, called gateways, that enable the flow of information between our hardware and our software through the Internet. These gateways are crucial for our system, after all, there’s no Internet of Things without a reliable connection between tools.
Of course, only having sensors and gateways isn’t enough for our system to work. There needs to be a tool that collects data and also allows for its presentation. In our case, this takes form in our platform. The main purpose of our platform is to provide a clean and concise overview of sensor data for the tool’s users. As the platform develops further, the amount of features increases, making its function even more versatile. It is key to mention that the platform also serves as a great example for the third category of “devices” that make up the IoT: By collecting and presenting information, it is a valuable component in our system with its overarching functions.
The system behind our solution is a truly wonderful, complex, but efficient one that simply works. Having an IoT solution definitely makes processes faster and more reliable, both for us and our clients. Sometimes we say, that what we give to managers is a thousand eyes and ears in the form of our platform. In the context of the Internet of Things, this saying truly takes on a different meaning.
The Future of IoT
If you read tech, industry, or any type of news really, then you’ve most likely encountered the assumption that IoT, paired with artificial intelligence (AI), will transform almost every aspect of our daily lives. Right now, it is difficult to say what exactly will the technology offer in the following years, but the limitless potential of the Internet of Things can really get our gears moving.
As the number of devices connected to the internet grows, we get closer and closer to a hyperscale of automatized processes in almost every sector. IoT and advanced AI can potentially revolutionize how businesses will work in the future, while opening doors to new opportunities by the minute. Even today, we can often see how automatized processes are slowly getting involved in multiple aspects of our daily tasks. Even though this sounds promising, the powerful nature of this technology requires us to be considerate when exploring new ideas. One thing is for sure: our team is eager to seek out new opportunities, and we’ll continue to work on pragmatic solutions using such technology.