Smart Products – An Introduction to IoT

The abbreviation IoT stands for the Internet of Things. It is a convenient acronym, which helps to differentiate products and abstract concepts from people.

You’re a person reading this article on what we could call the Internet of People. In reality, however, this distinction is more for analysis purposes than anything else. In reality, there is just one internet. Smart Maintenance

Smart Connections

One way of thinking about the IoT, is that it connects machines, people and data in a seamless and integrated whole. It uses technology to enable people to machine and machine to machine interactions.

Smart Relationships

We can take this thinking one step further, and consider the following broader definition.

The “Things” in the Web of Things are not limited to connected devices, but can also include things that are not and cannot be connected such as people and places, and abstract ideas, such as events (e.g. a concert), organizations, and time periods (e.g. the 70s). Each thing can have one or more virtual representations (avatars). Ref 1

Smart Connected Products

These products have three core components:

  1. Physical elements
  2. Smart Technology: e.g. sensors, micro-processor and analytics
  3. Connectivity: The ability to send data to the Cloud, via cellular or satellite connections

Operational Uses of Smart Products

1. To Monitor

They reduce the need for physical proximity to the product. Its’ activity can be monitored via a smart app on any suitable device.

2. To Control

In addition to monitoring a smart product, some can also be controlled remotely. This feature allows people to dynamically configure and operate a machine.

3. Optimise the Product

The connectivity of a smart product allows factors such as timing to be fine-tuned, remote diagnostic to be run and software upgrades to uploaded at any time.

4. Automation

Through the introduction of sophisticated algorithms, a product can be programmed to can act alone or in coordination with other products. It can work dynamically, depending on what’s happening in its’ environment.

Business Implications of IoT Products

Here are some examples of how smart products can change the way we work and do things.

  • The better use of resources, for instance remote maintenance saves on time and travel costs.
  • New functionality for an old product, e.g. a remote control home heating thermostat.
  • Faster new designs, as you can add new features to a current product in real-time.
  • Value added from being able to collect data and to analyse data from products as well as people
  • A business can change from being a hardware product company into a service oriented company. That is, a product as a service mentality.

Summary

Clearly the introduction of IoT technology is a game changer for many companies and it can hopefully be used to make our lives easier.

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