The Internet of Things describes a connected network of devices. Devices could be sensory – collecting data; responsive – using data; or a combination of the two.
An example is a modern car that collects acceleration data. In an extreme breaking scenario (a road accident or crash) that data could be sent to other cars alerting them to the risk before the human driver has seen the incident. Those cars could respond by alerting the driver or in the future could break automatically over a longer distance. As the Internet of Things matures, this type of technology could reduce road traffic accidents and save many lives every year.
Examples like this can be found in every traditional industry sector – in Healthcare, Energy, Manufacturing, Logistics, Water, Waste and Agriculture to name a few. However, the true impact of the Internet of things will arise through the understanding of complex multi-vector systems (Ultra Large Systems of Systems). This is where we start to break-down traditional data silos and create interoperable datasets that produce new insights and improve decision making across whole systems.
Using information we can optimise energy use, reduce congestion, improve health through prevention and enable better care through monitoring. Using information we can intelligently intervene, automatically in real- or near-real-time: reducing risks, improving services and enhancing productivity.
The technologies at work in the Internet of Things are diverse. We need sensors like those that already exist in a mobile phone or modern car; we need communication networks whether they be Wifi, 5G, powerline, or traditional landlines and radio; we need security and encryption; we need data storage and management; high performance computing; advanced analytics and tying it all together the interoperable standards and protocols.