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  1. Hardware
May 12, 2015

10 hard-to-believe IoT facts

All the hype around IoT has many confused. CBR steps back, takes a breath and lists down how IoT can still surprise you.

By Joao Lima

We often hear about 2020. The year when 9.7 billion connected things are expected to be in smart cities out of a total 50 billion connected devices worldwide.

But what can we get from IoT? And what is already being done?

CBR gives you ten IoT facts you will not believe and that will leave you even more connected.

1. IoT is already here

Probably the most unbelievable thing about IoT is that IoT is in fact already here, and most likely impacting you on a daily basis.

From a simple wearable talking to a smartphone, to a lift where you insert the floor you want to go to and the system calculates which lift will take you to your floor in the fastest way – IoT has been built into everyday solutions.

Several companies like Intel, PTC or ThingWorx have embraced the new chapter of the internet and are bringing to reality platforms and tools for M2M development.

For example, ThingWorx with PTC has developed an analytics solutions that controls data producer from SantaCruz mountain bikes to improve performance.

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There are currently 15 billion connected devices, more than two devices for every person in the world, a number that is increasing at a faster rate day by day.

2. Cure cancer

We have been hearing about connected healthcare, but we haven’t yet heard about specific cases in where IoT can make the different.

Medical technology Stryker is using connectivity to prevent power surges in medical devices, including critical instruments used in surgeries.

Connected products are monitored for power usage and performance, ensuring that cordless instruments do not fail when they are needed most.

Alternatively, Elekta, a Swedish company focused on radiation therapy, radiosurgery, related equipment and clinical management for the treatment of cancer and brain disorders, is developing systems for administering cancer treatments, where speed is a priority.

If a product fails, up to 40 cancer patients can be sent home without their scheduled therapy. The company has deployed a set of solutions into its product lines, providing performance monitoring and enabling "over-the shoulder" remote support to keep products online. Elekta is also retrofitting older devices with connectivity.

With these innovations the company is reducing service costs, and minimising disruptions to patient radiation therapies.

3. Stop starvation

Smart crops will eventually become a reality, producing just the right amount of food to be distributed worldwide.

Sensors to be placed in lettuces will tell when the vegetables need to be collected and food rationalisation will work to reduce waste.

A company taking the lead in the smart agriculture industry is OnFarm by deploying sensors to collect data about soil conditions, weather, fertilizer and GIS conditions.

Using IoT, users are advised about how and when to water crops. The result is that resources can be conserved, money can be saved, and crop yields can be maximised.

4. Generate power

Power is a major issue to any technology sector. To keep things running energy is at the heart of the system, and the same applies to IoT. But what if IoT could actually generate its own energy.

General Electric is currently using IoT solutions to improve uptime, predict failures, and lower customers cost of usage.

The system avoids grids to fail, and prevents fails before they happen so power outrages become something of the past.

GE currently has over five thousand generators connected to the cloud, with 250 types of data being collected every 30 seconds.

5. Business opportunity

IoT will leverage a great deal of business opportunities all across the board. Engineering companies, design, applications development, cloud storage providers are just some of the areas that will benefit more and more as IoT matures.

But a big industry that not so many people think about is cybersecurity insurance. As companies are urged to step up their security platforms, insurance companies will be very busy in the years to come.

Richard Soley, CEO at OMG, said: "Insurance companies will offer cybersecurity coverage waking up companies to more security."

This will lead to another market ramification of IoT, which will generate billions of dollars in revenues to insurance companies.

6. Revolutionise education

Learning ecosystems today are different from the ones ten years ago, and IoT will change the classroom in many different ways.

Pupils will be constantly connected to their school and teachers and vice versa enabling closer relationships to be built and consequently a more familiar learning environment giving students more support and comfort.

Wearables will play a major role in schools, especially with technology like Google Glasses. Facial recognition, virtual and augmented reality, navigation and safety will all be featuring in classrooms up and down the country.

In five years time, students at a primary school in Notting Hill, London, could very well make their first trip to Antarctica simply by putting on and plugging in their Goggle Glasses.

7. IoT lowers costs

Investments today might be big, but in the long run IoT will same money. As machines get more intelligent they will prevent for failure and in a farther future, they will fix themselves.

By having the ability to alert business about potential down times with weeks and even months in advance will avoid production stopping and consequently losing revenue.

IoT can also leverage a completely new set of interconnections and energy efficiency charts.

For example, a smart home will work as a hub where everything connects to everything in favour of its "owners pocket" (and the environment).

Knowing when to switch on and off the heating; that is not needed to hoover the house this week; or that the light in the room upstairs can be switched off, will bring home energy efficiency to a new level.

8. Transform the body

IoT can help humans to lose weight and even get rid of an unwanted tattoo.

American Cynosure, a company specialised in developing and manufacturing a broad array of light-based aesthetic and medical treatment systems that can be used in hair and tattoo removal, as well as cellulite and other areas of body treatment.

The company’s portfolio includes several different machines to carry out the body reconfiguration works, but it’s the Smartskin+ device that has the attention from experts.

Smartskin+ is the most advanced, customisable micro-ablative Laser Skin Resurfacing workstation in the market and unlike other systems, it provides completely customisable treatment parameters to match each patients clinical needs and downtime requirements.

The machine can predict failures and maximises the work span with an analytics platform giving constant data in real time to the surgeon.

9. Queuing is in the past

If you order something on the go and get notifications on when to pick up, queuing days are done over.

Wearables, like a smartwatch or smart wristband, will allow consumers to coordinate their day accordingly.

Gemalto has been doing some work on this, and has recently deployed prepaid wristbands enabling contactless payment for food and drink at Allianz Park stadium in North London for Aviva Premiership Rugy club Saracens.

The company said the wearable will eliminate queues in the sports venue and can be used in London’s public transport network.

Philippe Cambriel, President at Gemalto added: "Wearable contactless solutions capable of encompassing transport, access and payment are very much the future for sports, music and other mass participation events."

10. Trillion Dollar industry

When it comes to invest and make profit, both sides of the scale weight in the house of trillions of Dollars.

Cisco has said IoT will trigger $8 trillion in revenues over the course of the next 10 years. Other forecasts reach up to values of $20 trillion.

But has the profit is made, much more money will be invested. Intel has predicted that over the next two decades alone, $41 trillion will be spent all over the world in smart cities projects.

The Indian Government has this year unveiled a smart city project worth $2 trillion set to transform the country’s regions.

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