IoT - The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things - very simple
Have you once again forgotten to buy new detergent for your home and need to get some quickly over the weekend? A production chain in your company is at a standstill because a delay in the upstream process of component production was not communicated in time? These are just two of many cases where lost or missing information can lead to extra work and higher costs. But in today's modern world, with increasing networking and digitization, there are entirely new opportunities to make processes more efficient and secure. One development that promises to do just that and is advancing at an enormous speed is the "Internet of Things".
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What is the "Internet of Things"?
You've certainly been confronted with this term a lot in recent years; everywhere you look, there's talk of "IoT", and also "BigData". But what exactly is this all about? "IoT" is the abbreviation for the English term "Internet of Things". This refers to the networking of a wide variety of devices via the Internet, increasingly also in areas where there was previously hardly any communication via the Internet, such as household appliances, but also larger industrial plants.
This is also one of the main goals of this approach: to collect as much data as possible through increasing networking, from which a wide variety of insights can be gained. This ultimately makes it possible to improve individual processes or, when the data is processed in real time, to automatically trigger the necessary processes/actions and thus increase efficiency.
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Progress through new technologies
The Internet is really not a new invention, having been developed before the turn of the millennium. However, in the recent past, a number of new technologies have made networking possible on a much larger scale and in many more areas. In addition, there have been significant advances in processing the huge amounts of data involved.
1. Sensor technology and connectivity
A decisive development results from the continuous miniaturization of electronic components and, in this case, especially of ever smaller sensors. These can thus be attached to more and more areas, some of which are difficult to access, and relevant data can be recorded and transmitted accordingly. Data transmission has also continued to develop and has led to greater compatibility with a variety of network protocols.
2. Cloud Computing
Reading data is one thing, but making it available to everyone is quite another. This is where another development comes into play: the advent of cloud computing. Here, all data is stored centrally on a cloud platform, to which all authorized persons have access from anywhere. Such cloud providers usually have very powerful data centers, which makes it possible to scale the required resources according to demand.
3. Machine Learning
New concepts and methods are needed to cope with the sometimes enormous volumes of data. Significant progress has also been made in this area in recent years, with so-called "machine learning". Here, algorithms are fed with large amounts of data and "trained" or further developed so that they are capable of correctly evaluating newly acquired data in the future.
4. Artificial intelligence (AI)
Adjacent to machine learning, there have also been significant successes in the research and development of artificial intelligence. Particularly in the area of speech recognition and conversational functions, it has been possible to develop sophisticated voice assistants with the help of neural networks, among other things, which are already being used as IoT devices in many households. Artificial intelligence is therefore already being used today in the "Internet of Things", but will continue to develop significantly over the next few years.
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The future in the "Internet of Things"
Networking within one's own four walls (smart home) is already widespread today and is firmly planned into almost every new building or renovation. This development will continue and the range of functions will be expanded.
Besides the additional comfort, smart home offers other advantages. With the help of so-called smart electricity meters, you can measure and automatically regulate electricity consumption, so that costs are saved in the end. In addition, the automatic heat regulation can achieve higher energy efficiency, which in turn additionally protects the environment.
But smart homes also lead to greater security. For example, networked surveillance cameras or smoke detectors can automatically send a notification to the user's smartphone or warn the user when certain events occur.
The development of autonomous driving cars is in full swing. It will be some time before they are truly fully autonomous on our roads, both to overcome the technical difficulties and to clarify legal issues. However, this is a development that can no longer be stopped.
However, in order to function properly, the road users must also be networked in the best possible way and exchange data continuously. Particularly important for this is the expansion of the mobile network and the introduction of better standards. The best current example is the new 5G network. This allows significantly faster data transmission, which is indispensable for autonomous vehicles in particular, as they have to communicate with each other almost in real time. In addition, the new standard can serve significantly more devices at the same time, which means that network congestion due to too many users, for example at large events, should be a thing of the past.
Smart City, Smart Factory
In general, our environment will become increasingly networked, culminating in so-called smart cities in which all areas are interconnected - from energy and infrastructure to mobility, administration, logistics and communication - with the aim of making life safer and better in cities that continue to grow.
However, networking will continue to advance not only in growing cities, but also in large factories, industrial operations and logistics chains in order to make value creation and transport processes more efficient and also safer. The keyword here is, for example, "Industry 4.0" or "Logistics 4.0". You can find more detailed information on these topics on our industry pages.