How IoT will make your city smarter and your home safer

There's no doubt that IoT is a great technology, but can it really transform your city and your home?
29 June 2018

IoT can keep you safe in your smart city. Source: Shutterstock

The internet of things (IoT) is a transformative technology, but people usually think it’s something that’s reserved for industrial applications.

True, it can change how factories run and how manufacturers manage their supply chains, but IoT can also make cities smarter and homes safer.

In an exclusive interview with TechHQ, Avnet’s Global Vice President – Internet of Things. Lou Lutostanski discusses what IoT does and why it can transform the future of the rising smart cities and homes in the world.

“IoT is still in its infancy, and there is a long way to go before we truly unlock its full potential. When people think of IoT, they often limit it to technology. But IoT is so much more than that – it has enormous potential in transforming societies and creating new wealth avenues for businesses,” said Lutostanski.

While IoT has been leveraged primarily by businesses, IoT-powered devices are also making their way into homes, enabling people to enhance their daily lives.

For instance, it is now used to control the temperature of their air conditioning, unlock their doors and switch on lights in their houses.

But this is only the beginning. By 2020, there will be over 20 billion connected devices in use globally.

In the near future, IoT devices will become a huge part of our daily lives and will be widely used for household security monitoring and energy consumption management, among other things.

IoT technologies play a key role in the era of digitalization. As IoT continues to advance, it has the potential to enable cities to become smart cities through the analytics of data collected by sensors and surveillance solution attached to virtually every vehicle, device, or piece of equipment that a city uses on a daily basis.

In fact, IoT can be applied in several ways to help to create a better quality of life through improving infrastructure, public utilities, and services, with potential applications including the streamlining of traffic in congested cities to irrigation automation in farmlands.

Here are some examples of how IoT can transform our city-experience:

Reducing traffic: Traffic monitoring through smart traffic lights that collect data on peak travel times to ease congestion and enable people to better plan their travel journeys, allowing for stress-free travel.

Improving air quality: Air pollution is a common issue in urban areas. By monitoring the quality of the air and measuring the level of pollutants through timely and regular updates, we can gather useful information that can be used to take action and reduce pollution sources. This can help governments make sound decisions on how to improve the environment.

Creating energy savings: Smart connected devices installed in buildings can monitor human traffic in order to optimize energy and lighting, thus reducing costs and improving the quality of buildings.

With a greater push towards building intelligence to develop smart services and solutions, IoT can help with driving exponential improvements in areas such as healthcare, transport and overall quality of life for all citizens.

“Smart industrial and home solutions are key growth areas, and we foresee the rise of many new smart home use cases, especially around household security monitoring and managing energy consumption,” said Lutostanski.

While this is not entirely new, interoperability remains a key challenge. As a result, many IoT device makers are now taking a platform approach to address this, which will result in new use cases such as appliance diagnostics and energy conservation across devices.

Machine learning will also have an increasing part to play. Thermostats, lighting systems, and even coffee makers all collect data on usage patterns and behaviors, facilitating machine learning, making smart homes even smarter.

IoT carries the potential to transform global communities into smart cities, revolutionizing the way we live and conduct business.

At the heart of IoT and smart cities is big data. This will provide governments and businesses with in-depth information on how things operate, to enable strategic decisions that enable innovation and sustainable economic growth.

A more targeted approach to problem-solving will help build up strong, supportive businesses and communities within cities.

With IoT in place, everything will be faster, since interconnected devices could include virtually anything. The sky is the limit.

According to IDC, Internet of Things (IoT) spending will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6 percent over the 2017-2022 forecast period and reach US$1.2 trillion in 2022.

“The IoT market is at a turning point – projects are moving from proof of concept into commercial deployments. Organizations are looking to extend their investment as they scale their projects, driving spending for the hardware, software, services, and connectivity required to enable IoT solutions,” said IDC’s Group Vice President – Internet of Things and Mobility Carrie MacGillivray.

The result? A world that’s smarter, safer and more efficient – in homes and across cities.