Cell phones, coffee makers, headphones and other everyday objects are becoming increasingly digital and allowing for the infiltration of internet and sensor capabilities. As more and more everyday objects have a digital presence and the ability to connect, a network begins to form. This web helps to create relationships beyond the traditional “people-thing” into a more interconnected “thing-thing” relationship (Forbes). Our objects are coming to life right before our eyes with the addition of sensors, software and networks that make them more dynamic and digitized.
Why is this important?
As more devices reach the market with digital connectivity, processes are becoming automatic and digital rather than manual and analog. Communication becomes easier and more relevant as objects become information systems when the proper technology is implemented. Objects no longer simply exist in an environment, they sense their environments and interact with them (McKinsey&Company). What this does for the connectivity of humans and digitized objects makes processes more streamlined–reducing waste of time, resources and productivity. These sensors and technologies are turning our “things” into smart and helpful technologies that can help optimize processes and reduce resource consumption.
The Internet of Things is having a huge impact on the Agricultural industry. The use of sensors can help farmers digitally monitor their farms and equipment to manage waste levels and understand specifics about the conditions of their crops. For example, farmers can now see, in-depth, the moisture levels in their soil alongside current and future weather conditions to help them manage how much to irrigate their crops without wasting water (CTIA Wireless Foundation). This streamlines agricultural processes and helps eliminate as much waste as possible for each farm and each crop.
The Internet of Things is also contributing to development of Smart Cities all across the world. The idea is to use communicative technology to effectively gather information about citizens and develop a more effective infrastructure that improves quality of life. Information regarding citizen safety, municipal services, transportation and traffic can all be gathered and leveraged to create a more efficient and interconnected city (ThingWorx).
How can this help in the future?
The development and overall use of digitized objects is spanning from not only personal smart watches and home-technologies. The use of sensors and networks are being used to improve quality of life on a larger scale in smart cities and the farming industry is becoming more eco-friendly and reducing waste. Why should we be consistently wasting water irrigating crops when the soil is already properly fed? Why should traffic lights not be synced along with the traffic flows to create a more efficient roadway?
Comcast asked some similar questions. Their new technology associated with the LoRa Alliance called MachineQ uses the latest in sensor, network and software technology to give physical objects a more digital presence. Their sensors aim to streamline and optimize processes in areas like infrastructure, buildings, transportation and logistics. Their sensor technologies will infiltrate the physical presence of objects like parking meters, light switches and even dumpsters and make them more efficient as pieces of a digitally communicative web.
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