The Internet of Things (IoT) offers companies sensor-based technology at the end-user level and low-latency connectivity — making it possible to create products with smarter data, improved automation, and optimized experiences.
Companies across industries are tapping into IoT to deliver new capabilities to their customers, and the use cases, partly driven by 5G and edge computing, continue to grow along with the IoT market.
Read on to learn how different sectors are using the Internet of Things and how these cases are impacting users today:
7 Applications of IoT
- Entertainment: augmented reality (AR)
- Health care: remote monitoring and patient care
- Government: smart cities
- Transportation: fleet management
- Real estate: smart security
- Human resources: worker safety monitoring
- Education: improving digital access for students
Learn about industrial IoT use cases: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Use Cases
Augmented reality is a growing field of technology where sensors and other Internet of Things-based elements are used to incorporate enhanced virtual features into a real environment. Augmented reality through IoT imaging is gaining popularity in areas such as online retail, but it is most frequently used today in entertainment and gaming. Some examples include:
- Pokemon Go, a mobile game where users can virtually capture Pokemon characters at real-world sites and engage with other players at physical hubs
- The NFL and Nickelodeon partnered to show animated stats and elements over the field during a live game
Learn about AR and the growing metaverse: The metaverse: What is it?
Whether it’s for convenience, accessibility, or safety reasons, health care providers are using IoT to offer remote monitoring and care.
IoT advances make it possible for health care providers to remotely assess a patient’s health condition with real-time insights on metrics, like glucose levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Particularly during COVID-19 lockdowns, IoT remote monitoring and telehealth make more personable care possible virtually.
Faith Merriam, director of nursing at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, saw the benefits of Internet of Things technology when it came to COVID-19 patient care:
“In our COVID-19 unit, admission assessments were done via NOVA [Nursing Observation and Virtual Assistant developed by Intel] without having to go into the room, and physician consults were performed via two-way video,” Merriam says. “The physicians loved it. NOVA personalized a very difficult situation where patients had been feeling isolated. Now they’re able to communicate face-to-face with other personnel, while at the same time we are able to contain infection rates.”
A number of large cities around the globe are finding ways to optimize their infrastructure for efficiency and sustainability through smart city development and IoT.
The city of Atlanta’s rapid transit authority, for instance, uses IBM‘s IoT technology for predictive maintenance and analytics in their tunnel ventilation system. The data collected by their network of IoT sensors provide more unified and advanced insights into repair needs, according to Remy Saintil, director of facilities maintenance, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.
“It showed the survival curve of certain assets and opened up a lot of doors to things we were missing,” says Saintil. “We were able to get predictions and, with dashboards, were able to see all data in one place. We didn’t have to go searching.”
Several other cities are experimenting with IoT, working the technology into programs like waste management and energy efficiency.
More on smart cities and other tech trends: COVID-19 Effects on Digital Transformation: A Review of James P. Quinn’s Tech Trends 24/7
IoT technology in transportation makes it possible to automate some fleet management processes, allowing for predictive maintenance notifications across the fleet and other real-time metrics about how the fleet is performing.
Jouke Dijkstra, IoT architect for the Port of Rotterdam, explains how IoT-sourced data and data management help his team to better assess vessel performance and needs.
“There’s no way we can read all that data we’re collecting on the vessel and forward it to the cloud,” says Dijkstra in using a Cisco IoT solution. “It’s just too much data. So we need solutions to process the data within the vessel [and] extract what’s relevant to our operations before we forward it to the cloud to avoid data overload.”
With IoT sensors and accompanying software, security systems can help home and business owners quickly detect when they’re facing a threat.
Smart sensor technology can track environmental changes, like motion and sound, and then alert a user and provide live footage of the scene. With the low latency and flexibility that IoT sensors offer, real-time smart security insights are possible.
Michael Seidler, VP of global business development at V5 Systems, a security systems supplier, said IoT tech helped his company provide better around-the-clock security metrics to its customers.
“When you provide security systems, customers expect very high levels of availability,” Seidler said. “We wanted an industry-standard public cloud to help us control costs, ensure that level of availability, and help us scale up with growth.”
Take a look at more top IoT devices and applications: 85 Top IoT Devices
Worker safety can be a major corporate liability, especially in labor-intensive industries, like manufacturing, construction, and mining.
Companies can use an IoT solution to gather on-site workplace data to determine if an environment or a worker action could lead to injury — as well as respond to and prevent incidents
Even in less traditional workplace settings, like an NFL football stadium, IoT safety sensors provide real-time data to team leads, so they can track environmental factors and preemptively protect players from unsafe conditions. This type of worker safety monitoring takes two common forms: sensors installed in worker equipment and sensors installed in wearable technology.
For an independent school system in Texas, IoT sensor connectivity and new devices for students make it possible for all students to access their virtual education equally.
Dr. Oscar Rico, executive director of technology for the Canutillo Independent School District, explains how Cisco’s team helped them build a custom IoT solution during the pandemic and why it was so important for them to meet their students’ needs in this way:
“The engineer eventually agreed to explore what we could do and how it might work, so that we could provide equity to our kids,” Rico says. “We were trying to harness a technology that’s new to the district, new to Cisco, and new to the use case, but we had a moral and ethical obligation to figure it out.”
Getting started with the Internet of Things platforms: Best IoT Platforms & Software