In this article, you can read all about the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT), which is becoming increasingly important in the current times. This is a concept in the science and technology segment of the UPSC syllabus.
What is IoT?
- IoT is the interlinking of digital devices, people, machines, appliances, and other objects with one another through wireless networks.
- It allows machines and people to be connected to each other and communicate as well.
- It is considered the future of the internet. This version of the internet is about data that is created by things.
Internet of Things Explained
- Any device that can be connected will be connected.
- Any device that can be switched on and off will be connected.
- Most of the connected devices will have an Internet Protocol (IP) address. With IPv6, billions of devices can be connected with ease.
- Things can be connected with IoT:
- Connected Homes: interlinking of household appliances to the network.
- Connected Wearables: smartphones, smartwatches, fitness bands, etc.
- Connected Cars: vehicles connected to the network.
- Connected Cities: smart meters that can analyze the usage of gas, water, electricity, etc.; connected traffic signals; smart bins, etc.
- Different networks would be connected to each other, like as mentioned below:
- BAN (Body Area Network) – Wearables
- LAN (Local Area Network) – Smart Homes
- WAN (Wide Area Network) – Connected Cars
- VWAN (Very Wide Area Network) – Smart City
Internet of Things Applications
- Daily life: IoT can be used to do small tasks in daily life such as coffee-making as soon as the owner of the house returns home, refrigerator indicating that vegetables need to be bought and/or ordering them automatically from the e-store, etc. It can also be used in offices.
- Industry: IoT can be used to reduce human error, increase efficiency, and improve productivity, etc.
- Agriculture: IoT can be used to improve overall productivity by having enhanced weather forecasting, soil nutrient content, pest infestation, etc.
- Healthcare: there are several benefits to the medical industry. Better diagnosis of diseases, wearable monitors of vitals, sophisticated connected equipment, etc.
- Transportation: IoT can be used on toll booths, traffic management, driverless cars, etc. It can also be used in fleet management, safety assistance, improved logistics, etc.
- Media/Advertising: Companies can use IoT to analyze and predict consumer behavior and apply target marketing for better ROI in advertising/marketing campaigns, etc. Big data and data mining concepts can be used in this regard.
- Smart Cities: IoT can be used to make cities better places to live. It can be applied in solid waste management, smart power grids, smart energy management systems, etc.
- Government policies and services: the government can use IoT to offer better citizen services.
IoT in India
- The government of India envisages using the Internet of Things (IoT) as part of the Digital India Mission.
- The National Digital Communications Policy was launched in 2018 to develop and apply IoT, 5G technology, machine to machine (M2M) communication, etc.
- The government also permitted 100% FDI in the telecom sector. This should also aid the development of IoT in India.
- The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeiTY) also published a draft policy for IoT in India.
- The government has set a target of USD 15 billion for the IoT market by the year 2020. This would be 5 – 6 % of the global IoT industry.
Internet of Things Challenges
- Loss of jobs because of the replacement of humans with machines. Automation will naturally bring in job losses.
- Safety and privacy is a challenge in this domain. There is the issue of selling personal data without users’ consent by internet/social media companies. Digital surveillance also poses a threat with smart homes being susceptible to privacy invasions. Further, there is also the problem of bank accounts being hacked, ransomware attacks, etc.
There is a need to have better regulation and policy frameworks for regulating and monitoring Internet of Things applications. Firewalls and safety software should be improved and data confidentiality should be a priority for all stakeholders.