The “Internet of Things,” or IoT, is a buzzword that?s been thrown around a lot lately. So what does it really mean?
The IoT is a term developed to describe a wireless network of “things” containing embedded technology that communicate without human interaction. For example, a “thing” can be a wireless blood pressure monitor, a sensor on an assembly line or an RFID tag on a piece of clothing in a store.
According to Gartner, there will be nearly 26 billion wireless devices connected to the Internet by 2020. Considering that in 2009 that number was less than 1 billion devices, it seems clear that the Internet is experiencing explosive growth of connected “things.”
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So far, IoT technology has been mostly adopted by the manufacturing industry using machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. However, with rapid innovation of IoT technology, more and more industries are taking advantage of this new way of life.
Here are three such examples of how businesses are becoming “smarter” by adopting IoT. Each presents new market opportunities for entrepreneurs innovating with technology to improve services, connections and communication:
With the potential to improve the health, safety and care of billions of people, healthcare is one of the most promising industries for IoT. With wi-fi-enabled medical tools and devices, hospitals are able to collect, record and analyze data faster and more accurately. This helps medical staff perform diagnosis and treatment and undoubtedly improve standards of care.
Health monitoring and wearable devices for patients are becoming extremely popular, as they?re able to transmit a patient?s real-time, vital-sign data from their home to medical staff. Such Wi-Fi powered devices include “things” such as glucometers, scales, heart rate and ultrasound monitors.
Furthermore, wearable devices are gaining attention among the elderly and those with chronic illness. With the push of a button, a person is able to alert the medical staff of an emergency situation.
Additionally, fitness bands such as the Nike Fuelband or Fitbit measure whole-body movement throughout the day — transmitting the data wirelessly to the user?s computer, tablet or smartphone. This trend also has the potential to impact the way health insurance companies operate.
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