IoT (IoT) is a technology that equips things with communication functions to connect and link to the Internet.
In the 2010s, many companies such as Sony, TEPCO, and Amazon began to develop IoT-related products and services, including Apple’s Apple Watch, which has a communication function on the watch.
This time, we will introduce the basic outline and mechanism of IoT, the reasons why it has become widespread in recent years, and examples of personal use.
table of contents
- 1. IoT basics
- 2. What is the mechanism of IoT?
- 3. Reasons why IoT is becoming more widespread
- 4. IoT use cases and new services
- 5. Security is an issue for IoT
- 6. IoT accelerates the evolution of life
IoT is an abbreviation for “Internet of Things” and is translated as “Internet of Things” in Japanese. It is a technology that equips physical objects in the real world with communication functions to connect and link to the Internet.
In addition to IT devices that were previously connected to the Internet, such as PCs, smartphones, printers, and stationary game consoles, analog devices such as TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners, watches, and automobiles are also digitized and connected to the Internet for data. Can be linked. For example, the Apple Watch announced by Apple Inc. is a watch, but it is a wearable device that can link information with smartphones.
By connecting everything related to everyday life to the Internet, new values and discoveries that have never been seen before will be created. The Internet of Things can be said to be an epoch-making mechanism that makes life and work more convenient and enriched in the future.
What is the mechanism of IoT?
By connecting things that are not digital devices to the Internet, you will be able to operate from anywhere. In addition to being operated by humans to connect to the Internet, things themselves can also access the Internet.
● Obtaining information from things (people) via the Internet
In IoT, data is acquired from things (people) with sensors and summarized in the form of information via the Internet. For example, if you wear an Apple Watch, you can automatically get data on the path, distance, heart rate, and blood pressure that the person walked.
● Accumulate collected data as big data
The collected data is stored in the server storage on the cloud as big data, not data dedicated to the person wearing the Internet of Things product.
● Analyze accumulated data with AI
A large amount of collected data is analyzed by AI and digitized as necessary information. And we will provide new services by sharing digitized information with things.
Reasons why IoT is becoming more widespread
There are three main reasons why the Internet of Things is becoming more widespread.
● Reduction of cost for introducing IoT
Sensors and communication chips, which used to be expensive, are becoming cheaper in recent years. Sensors and communication chips are indispensable for Internet of Things products because they acquire data from things with sensors. Lower costs for telecommunications equipment have enabled many companies to enter the Internet of Things products. As a result, consumers can easily purchase and pick up the Internet of Things products.
● Development of equipment size reduction technology
With the development of technology, sensors and communication chips are becoming smaller and lighter than in the past. Not only is it smaller, but it can perform well even if it is small. By reducing the size, it can be installed in small products such as watches and wristbands, and wearable devices such as smartwatches are also appearing.
● Popularization of smartphones
Many people around the world carry their smartphones with them. As a result, it has become possible to build various Internet of Things mechanisms starting from smartphones, and it has become easier to operate IoT products using smartphones.
For example, if you install a video camera of an Internet of Things product in your house, you can check the inside of the house in real-time from your smartphone. It can be used not only for crime prevention surveillance but also for various situations such as watching the movement of pets while they are away and grasping the return status of children.
IoT use cases and new services
IoT has already been introduced into many products around us as a technology to make our lives more convenient. Introducing new services that utilize the Internet of Things.
● Smart house
A smart house is a house where the equipment and home appliances in the house are connected to the Internet. You can operate equipment and home appliances from anywhere with just one smartphone. For example, you can turn off the electricity in the room you forgot to turn off and the power of home appliances from outside, or turn on the air conditioner before returning home to adjust the temperature in the room, and you can realize a comfortable life with the Internet of Things.
It is also possible to realize a city (smart city) aiming at sustainable economic development while efficiently managing and operating infrastructure and services by connecting the entire city to the Internet using not only homes but also the latest Internet of Things technology. I’m on the way. In January 2020, Toyota announced a project to develop a smart city experimental city “Woven City” in Shizuoka Prefecture.
● Bus location system
The bus location system is a convenient IoT technology for people who use the bus. It is installed at the bus stop of the municipal bus of the Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau, and it is a display system that guides the approach status of the bus in an easy-to-understand manner. Many tourists visit Kyoto both domestically and internationally. As a result, roads are usually congested, buses are not in time for scheduled times, and delays occur frequently.
Therefore, a bus location system using the Internet of Things was introduced. Since you can check the operation status of each vehicle in real-time, you can check how soon the bus will arrive.
● Healthcare equipment
Healthcare devices are Internet of Things products for promoting health that has been attracting attention in recent years. Typical examples are smartwatches such as the Apple Watch and smart fabrics, which are clothing equipped with sensors. When you wear these devices, your heart rate, activity, blood pressure, and other changes are automatically recorded. By accumulating daily data, it is possible to know daily changes in physical condition, and by sharing that information, it can be useful for doctors to make accurate decisions.
By brushing teeth with a toothbrush equipped with Internet of Things devices, there is also a unique product that checks whether tooth brushing is done correctly and acquires the data, and many healthcare devices have been released among Internet of Things products. ..
There are also healthcare devices for pets that can be attached to dog collars as well as humans. Animals cannot complain about their own. Therefore, by collecting and monitoring data such as the amount of movement during daily walks, rest time, and pulse, the owner can notice changes in physical condition at an early stage.
● Self-driving car
Autonomous driving is expected in the utilization of IoT technology. Data such as location information and driving conditions are acquired from sensors mounted on the car, and the information is aggregated in the cloud. IoT technology plays the role of enabling safe driving according to the data by analyzing the collected data by AI and returning the analysis result to the car. Regarding autonomous driving, in 2017 Audi of France sold a commercial vehicle compatible with “autonomous driving level 3 (conditional autonomous driving)”. In Japan as well, Honda plans to release a vehicle equipped with autonomous driving level 3 around the summer of 2020, and Toyota, Nissan, etc. are also developing toward the realization of autonomous driving. BMW, Intel, and Mobileye have also announced that they will jointly develop and realize a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021. The day when people don’t have to drive may be in the not too distant future.
● Smart factory
The number of smart factories that have begun to utilize IoT is increasing to save labor and improve the efficiency of production lines in factories. It is possible to connect the Internet to each machine or production line in the factory for mutual communication and to remotely check, measure, and control the situation. As a result, it becomes easier to grasp the production status, and there are merits such as devising and putting into practice a more efficient system to improve productivity and quality. These factories are called smart factories or smart factories, and efforts are being made to promote them not only overseas but also in Japan. In Japan, in 2015, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, the “IoT Promotion Consortium” was established as a private-sector-led organization to promote the utilization of IoT technology. In the future, the rapidly developing IoT technology is expected to innovate the manufacturing industry itself.
● Amazon Dash Button
Amazon Dash Button, which was provided by Amazon and became a hot topic, is also an IoT that makes life convenient. When you want to purchase an item, just press the dedicated button called Amazon Dash Button and you will receive the item. For example, if you install the Amazon Dash Button for specific drinking water in the refrigerator and press the button when the drinking water runs out, the order from Amazon will be automatically placed. By registering a specific product in the button in advance, it is possible to save the trouble of logging in to the Amazon site with a PC or smartphone, searching for the product you are looking for, and purchasing it. Even if you press the button multiple times by mistake, it is set so that duplicate orders do not occur, so you can use it with confidence.
Security is an issue for IoT
The systems used in IoT-based technologies are not limited to those for general consumers. It has been introduced in the production industry, manufacturing, infrastructure equipment, etc., and while it is convenient with IoT, it also has security issues. By utilizing IoT, all things will be connected to the network, and data will be collected and analyzed, which will affect people’s lives, economic activities, important infrastructure, and so on.
In particular, with the advancement of IoT for furniture and home appliances that have never been connected to networks, the number of devices connected to the Internet will increase rapidly, and the number of targets for cyber attacks will increase at once. increase. For PCs and smartphones, there are many ways to make it easier to detect abnormalities by installing virus software, but for home appliances, there is currently no virus software that supports such software, and you can tell whether it is a malfunction or a virus infection. It is a difficult condition. As a result, there is an urgent need for security measures, as users may be infected with the virus and continue to have an adverse effect without being aware of the virus or malware infection.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has announced a new policy for the safe use of IoT in the future. The content is “Implementation of a function to prevent unauthorized access to IoT devices will be mandatory from April 2020.” As a result, only IoT devices with security measures will be allowed to be sold, and the movement to protect IoT devices from cyberattacks is proceeding at a rapid pace.
Although there are security issues, it is expected that the use of IoT will improve the lives of humankind, so let’s improve literacy on the part of users as well.
IoT accelerates the evolution of life
With the spread of smartphones, public Wi-Fi has been improved, and an environment where IoT can be easily introduced is in place.
IoT technology not only creates epoch-making products and services by installing them in goods, but also is introduced to the management of public transportation and the management of fields in agriculture, and the opportunities for utilization are expanding in familiar places. increase.
From now on, the Internet will make it even more convenient, and IoT technology will expand into services that are commonplace in our daily lives.
If you haven’t introduced it in your business yet, please refer to this article to get a better understanding of IoT now.
If you have an IoT product or service that interests you, why not give it a try?
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