It’s fair to assume that everyone knows what the Internet is correct? But have you heard of the term Internet of Things? Or as it’s more popularly written IoT? The Internet of Things refers to a system of interrelated computing services, mechanical and digital machines, objects and animals that are provided with unique IDs and the ability to transfer data over a network. A microwave with Internet capabilities would qualify. A “smart” thermostat would be another example. Smart home security systems are at the top IoT offerings. With that in mind let’s explore where the IoT market is likely to see growth in 2021

Growing Trends in IoT for 2021

Healthcare

There’s three major areas of Healthcare that will benefit  from IoT. Namely medical facilities, digital medication and medical devices. Many benefits of healthcare IoT centre around patient care, but IoT also improves the medical facilities as processes are made more efficient by the conservation of valuable resources. Improved technology in hospitals ensures the medical staff can better monitor expensive devices such as MRI, CT and Xray machines. Machine malfunctions can be circumvented by remote sensors as they minimise the number of manual tests or completely eliminate them. Hence time is freed up for more urgent tasks. Intelligent Pills are a modern innovation but are equipped with a monitoring technology in addition to the actual medication. Through this they are able to forward information to the sensor worn on the body. The sensors will monitor the level of medication in the body based on the patient’s diagnosed condition. The data provided by the sensors can then be transmitted into a mobile app enabling patients to access their own data on their vital functions. Via patient permission Doctors can also do this.

Remote Working

Working from home? You’ll find that smart office initiatives to transform the employee experience will be considered. The days of expensive corporate real estate will be a thing of the past, a recent study suggests that 48% of decision makers anticipate the higher percentage of remote permanent workers as a result of Covid-19. Forrester expects at least 80% of firms to develop robust strategies utilising IoT applications to assist employee safety and improve the usage of resources. This can be done through smart power, lighting, energy and environmental monitoring. 

Retail

Covid-19 has certainly hampered the standard Brick N’ Mortar retail chain. One of my local retailers is merely surviving because his service is the only “convenience” offering on the street is terms of immediate product needs (i.e. toilet paper, milk, lightbulbs). Over the next year we can expect to see an entirely new purpose for innovative models such as Amazon’s very own fully automated supermarkets for non-vital human interaction as we continue to stock our homes with food and other essentials. Utilising IoT enabled devices will continue to grow in massive fulfillment centres that dispatch inventory to shops and storefronts. Contact-free payment methods will become increasingly prevalent as we move further and further to a “cashless society”. Truthfully how many of you carry much in the way of cash on you on a daily basis? For me it’s primarily just my “cards” as I generally make all my purchases digitally. 

Other developments in retail will include further use of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags to track movement of customers around stores. This will be used to make salient decisions on stock placement and replenishment by continually recording how and when customers interact with products and display on the shelves. And given the factors of Covid-19, it can also be used to monitor overcrowding and social distancing. Particularly in the busy sections of stores, supermarkets and shopping malls. 

Consumer and Employee Location Data

Retail stores began to explore curbside pickup and other location based services in the wake of Covid-19. The use of location data to enhance customer service will only continue. The idea is to use GPS capabilities within your smartphone. As time goes on there will be further opportunities to create location based experiences with retail brands. For instance a customer may be able to check on the phone to see how much of a crowd is currently shopping at their local Coles or Woolworths. Using this information if the supermarket is too crowded they can decide to shop at a later time. 

 

There’s plenty to digest and think about in the world of IoT. I first became familiar with the acronym around six years ago. It’s exciting to see things are finally coming to fruition. What are your opinions on my article? Have the readers of Digital Fixation also experimented in the world of IoT? Drop us a line and let us know what you think! And it’s good to connect with you guys again in 2021!