Doorbells, dog fitness collars, cars, MRI machines, even beer coasters are getting smarter, more connected, and frankly, more chatty. Internet of Things devices are taking the world by storm, changing the way we receive medical treatment and play video games, and they are even improving the air we breathe.
What Is IoT Technology?
An everyday object containing a specialized microchip that enables an internet connection can become an IoT device. A fish tank, a human with a heart monitor implant, or a car with built-in sensors alerting the driver of low tire pressure all count. Various objects can now be assigned IP addresses. Then, they can transfer data to an online platform, and finally, a user.
So what is IoT technology? When analyzing the technology supporting the IoT and its inner workings, a complete IoT system combines four main components: devices (or items), connectivity, data analysis, and a user interface.
A teddy bear, a TV, an airplane part, or a wearable fitness tracker. All of these devices have microchips inserted into them and are assigned unique identifiers (a 128-bit number that uniquely identifies an object or entity on the internet). Smart devices collect data from their environment like temperature, motion, or even full videos. Then they send the collected data to the cloud.
Depending on the type of device, the data can travel to the cloud via various methods: WiFi, satellite, Bluetooth, cellular, low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN), or the ethernet.
Once the data reaches the cloud, it’s analyzed. This analysis could include checking if the room is too hot or checking whether there’s movement in your home while you’re away on vacation. What is the IoT doing when it comes to analyzing a potential emergency as opposed to fulfilling your daily whims? The difference between the two will affect the way the information from the cloud is communicated to the user.
What happens when there is, in fact, an intruder in your house, or maybe a fire? You receive a push notification, an email or a text, depending on the degree of urgency and your preference.
Most people use internet of things applications on their phones or web browsers to send requests to a device via the cloud. In doing so, they can dim the lights, turn on the coffee machine, or increase the temperature in the bathroom before taking a shower. You could also send requests via a smart voice assistant like Alexa, Cortana, or Siri.
Mobile phones and computers don’t count as IoT devices even though they’re regularly connected to the internet. Your phone or computer instead become remote controls for all of your connected devices, meaning they make it easy for you to check if you’ve turned off the oven before leaving the house, and you can even turn it off via said device if you need to.
The standard internet of things definition would best be illustrated with an example. A smart thermostat measures your home’s temperature and then delivers the collected data using the IoT software hosted in the cloud. The data is then stored and analyzed on a cloud-based IoT platform (which also keeps information on millions of other devices). Once there, the data is sent to an authorized user when they request it. A user can view the data using a web-based app.
What is an IoT platform?
An IoT platform is a form of “middleware” that works between your IoT devices and data and the applications that you use to access them. There are a few popular control platforms on which developers have built IoT apps that interact wirelessly with smart sensors and devices. Some of these include Samsung’s SmartThings, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s HomeKit.
Top IoT Companies
The world’s top IoT companies have begun developing intuitive technology and infrastructure that will change our everyday lives. Smart devices and sensors are no longer a party trick to impress guests and help us secure our homes while we’re away; we’ll soon live in a world where smart thermostats, buildings, and vehicles combine to create entire IoT-enabled cities.
To help you gain a better understanding of what’s in store, we’ve compiled an IoT company list of the top 31 players in this field. All of these pioneers are using Internet of Things components to create technology that we could previously only dream about.
What companies are involved in the Internet of Things?
Experts estimate that there’ll be over 30 billion connected devices by 2020. IoT companies are linking everything from health devices and trucks to fridges and oil drills, and it’s making them millions of dollars. Forecasters have estimated that the market will double in size to a staggering $520 billion (USD) by 2021.
Connected machines can now sense, observe, and measure the world around them, and communicate the collected data between each other with no intervention from humans. This means machines no longer have to bother with our inaccurate, subjective interpretations to make logical conclusions.
IoT-enabled businesses can collect accurate data in real time, run post-production analyses, and optimize their processes based on those findings. Companies involved in the Internet of Things have already recognized the value of automation and accurate data collection; now their competitors are taking notice, which is leading to an increase in market share and profitability.
What is IoT software?
The Internet of Things is a giant network of connected mechanical and digital devices that operate autonomously. This includes devices we wear, such as fitness trackers, as well as medical implants and chip sensors we embed in animals. Many of these devices use sensors to interpret information from the outside world, then share that information with other connected devices over the network.
IoT software allows all of this to happen. It enables machines to collect and share data, operates the (mostly) cloud-based platforms where that data is stored, and analyzes said data. IoT software can also use information from a range of devices to help identify its faults and improve its efficiency.
What is an IoT chip?
An IoT chip is a tiny electronic device embedded in smart objects and machines. It connects to wireless networks, sends and receives data, and generates commands. In reality, these chips use the same data circuits and technology we see in mobile devices, only they do so without the human-friendly aspects, such as displays or user interfaces.
IoT chips are almost always connected so they can send and receive data automatically and in real time. Many companies use IoT devices as replacements for human-controlled systems in remote, hard-to-reach environments like offshore oil rigs or underwater developments. As such, most IoT chips are built for durability and longevity.
What is MEMS and NEMS?
MEMS and NEMS sensors enable IoT devices and applications worldwide and across industries. MEMS stands for microelectromechanical system, even though the term mainly refers to microdevices with tiny embedded systems that permit higher-level functionality.
There are several types of MEMS:
Micro-engines, which serve as highly compact energy sources;
Optical MEMS, which send optical signals;
Inertial sensors like accelerometers or gyroscopic sensors;
Fluidic MEMS, which are known for being particularly precise.
Fluidic MEMS, for example, are used both in high-end digital printing and in medical devices that measure blood sugar levels or medication dosages. The term NEMS, on the other hand, refers to nanoelectromechanical systems. These serve the same purpose as MEMS, but on a nano scale.
Compared to other similar sensors, MEMS and NEMS have proven more efficient, sensitive, and precise. The technology’s fail-safe performance in extreme conditions has made it vital for safety features like airbag activation and vehicle stability.
Who invented MEMS?
You might be surprised to learn how long ago this technology was conceived. American electrical engineer Harvey C. Nathanson (born October 22, 1936) invented the first device using microelectromechanical systems way back in 1965. It was similar to what we now use in cell phones and digital projectors, although obviously the technology has improved significantly over the years.
Taking all of this into account, we decided to research the world’s best IoT companies. We compared companies’ annual revenue, teams, innovations, and growth. Using that information, we eventually came up with a list of the top 100 IoT companies from all over the world. Comparing those businesses across industries, we narrowed the list down to the top 50 IoT companies, and eventually ended up with 31.
Here are the top IoT companies of 2018
1. Alibaba Group
Who are the big players in the Internet of things? You can’t answer that question without first looking at Alibaba. The enormous Chinese multi-industry conglomerate is not only a leader in IoT and AI; it’s one of the world’s biggest companies, full stop.
Alibaba recently partnered with Siemens to launch MindSphere, a groundbreaking IoT development billed to arrive in 2019. This cloud-based, open-IoT OS can connect all of a company’s plants, machines, and systems to provide advanced data analysis and improve efficiency. MindSphere’s internet of all things technology incorporates sensors so accurate that they function as a sort of digital “mirror” for real-life products. These insights increase product efficiency, make people’s everyday lives easier, and could even be used to monitor city-level events and usher in the era of smart cities.
One of the two massive B2C online retailers in China and a member of the Fortune Global 500 list, JD.com is one of the world’s top tech companies, having reported a net revenue of $19.6 billion for the final quarter of last year.
IoT technology was crucial in JD.com successfully building the world’s largest drone delivery system. This took a high-tech combination of IoT, AI, and machine learning. After all, designing, executing, controlling, and monitoring the supply chain of one of the world’s biggest retailers is no mean feat.
In December 2018, the company partnered with Intel to explore the potential applications of IoT in smart retail. JD.com is now using Intel tech to track consumer purchasing habits and behaviors.
Who makes sensors for Internet of Things? You asked, DHL answered.
The world’s largest logistics company started implementing IoT solutions with a series of pilot programs in 2017. Now, DHL has implemented sensors throughout road networks in several countries to offer real-time data that helps drivers optimize their routes. This solution has slashed transit times by 50%, with over 95% reliability for real-time tracking.
There’s one more question worth asking: What are IoT companies doing to improve the lives of their own employees? Once again, DHL is at the forefront. The company’s CEO of eCommerce in India, Malcolm Monteiro, said: “This transportation model not only helps optimize efficiency, but also reduces fatigue among drivers who spend less time on the road, enabling them to go home to their families every two to three days.”
Founded in 2014, this start-up is now one of the world’s leading IoT companies. Konux builds smart sensors for industrial use, predominantly in railways. By recording vibrations and temperature changes in the tracks, these sensors can detect minor problems before they become serious. This helps railway companies plan their maintenance and avoid safety problems. And, of course, it saves a lot of time and money. In June 2018, Konux won a CogX Award for “Outstanding Innovations with Artificial Intelligence in Sensor Technology.”
A brainchild of ETH Zürich university, Nexiot is now one of the world’s leading IoT sensors manufacturers. More than 10 years of in-depth research resulted in the development of Globehopper, an industrial IoT smart sensor employed in rail freight, container shipping, and asset security. Operations and sensors are fully integrated to provide remote connectivity to enterprise software.
Nexiot also offers a cloud processing engine and a top-level connectivity platform for maximum usability. One of the perks of this solution is the no-battery management option; devices are power-independent thanks to low power consumption and an integrated energy-harvesting system.
Hitachi was founded in 1910 as an elevator manufacturer. Now, nearly 110 years later, this Japanese giant is one of the world’s most recognized technology brands. Modern-day Hitachi is also a leader in internet of things hardware and software solutions, from next-gen manufacturing equipment to premium diagnostic ultrasound systems.
In May 2016, the company announced it was investing $2.8 billion into improving its IoT technology. A year later, Hitachi released Lumada 2.0, a highly adaptable IoT platform. Users can apply it to almost any industry and tailor it to meet their specific needs. The platform analyzes machine and human data to provide accurate and detailed asset avatars, also known as “digital twins.” The collected sensor data is so accurate that NASA proposed the concept behind it for its next-generation aircraft development. Hitachi confirmed its place as one of the best internet of things software companies when it announced its whopping 2018 annual revenue: $92.3 billion.
This Chinese telecommunications company does more than just make phones; it’s also one of the global IoT market leaders. In 2017, the company launched NarrowBand, a city-wide IoT network. To build this, Huawei combined big data, cloud computing, and other cutting-edge technologies. NarrowBand works on its own cellular IoT with a bandwidth of 180 kHz. Deployment options include networks like GSM (Global System for Mobile communications), LTE (Long-Term Evolution, a standard for mobile devices and data terminals), and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, a mobile cellular system based on the GSM standard). In partnership with DHL, Huawei is building superior cellular IoT technology capable of connecting devices across large distances with minimal power consumption.
SAP has earned a reputation as one of the best IoT services companies for businesses that want tailor-made solutions. The company provides the tools for clients to develop, deploy, and manage real-time IoT and machine-to-machine apps.
In 2017, SAP launched Leonardo, a stand-alone IoT platform that allows users to track data from connected sensors. Leonardo combines IoT, blockchain, and machine learning on a cloud platform. Clients can then access that data instantly to identify and fix potential problems.
As far as IoT providers go, few have as rich a history as GE. The company’s diverse portfolio includes aviation, healthcare, power, renewable energy, digital industry, additive manufacturing, venture capital, lighting, oil, and gas. With all that in mind, it’s no wonder GE ranked 18th on the Fortune 500 list in 2018. This company has had not one, but two Nobel Prize winners among its ranks: Irving Langmuir in 1932 and Ivar Giaever in 1973.
GE Digital’s IoT platform-as-a-service (PaaS), Predix, is a software platform that integrates machine-generated data with traditional and cloud databases. GE has also joined forces with Accenture to create Taleris, which diagnoses and predicts aircraft maintenance issues before they happen. This kind of application doesn’t just save time and money; it could also save lives.
10. Rolls Royce
Once upon a time, Rolls Royce made fancy cars. Nowadays, this household name is a major player in the defense, aerospace, marine, and energy industries. And, you guessed it, Rolls Royce has even managed to become one of the world’s top IoT companies.
Rolls Royce has developed sensors for jet engines that transmit data directly to and from air traffic control. This data gives relevant parties a clear picture of the jet’s health, route, fuel usage, and the local weather conditions. Not only does the constant monitoring increase efficiency and reduce costs; it could also prevent tragedy.
Known for building high-end servers and affordable PCs, Dell is now one of just a few IoT hardware companies that also offers software, security, and consulting services for IoT-enabled projects. What makes Dell special is its unique full stack IoT deployment service. With IoT spreading like wildfire and prices plummeting, IoT solution providers like Dell have found a perfect niche in this huge market.
Now, Dell offers an independent ecosystem combining IoT and AI, from the edge to the core of the cloud. Few companies could pull of a project requiring this much in-depth research and knowledge, but Dell has managed to succeed.
Which company makes MEMS? Well, there are plenty, but none do it better than Bosch. After years of building top-quality microelectromechanical systems – MEMS – this company made IoT a priority in 2015. It launched IoT Suite, which helps developers build, implement, and operate IoT applications via the cloud. One example is its smart home thermostat, which detects temperature drops due to open windows, and it adjusts the heating to save energy. The thermostat even offers a frost-protection setting, which activates automatically at temperatures below 4 °C.
What’s more, this company offers some sophisticated options for farmers. Bosch-run start-up Deepfield Robotics has developed a solution that involves embedding several temperature sensors at various depths in the ground. The collected data can, for example, measure and ensure the perfect temperature for growing commercial asparagus.
In 2016, Bosch launched a cloud service for all its web-based IoT technology, in the process becoming a full-service provider for connectivity and the Internet of Things.
What is Cisco IoT? This Silicon Valley tech conglomerate develops networking hardware, telecommunications equipment, and other high-tech products and services. Cisco’s IoT infrastructure covers a range of industries: education, retail, manufacturing, transportation, and energy. Smart grids, oil and gas refineries, transit operators, and smart factories all use Cisco’s best Internet of Things devices to be as efficient and scalable as possible.
The company also provides infrastructure for energy distribution, embedded networks, and IoT-enabled cybersecurity products. Now, it appears this giant is extending its ambitions towards creating smart cities.
Ingenu is a combination of IoT and M2M companies (machine-to-machine). A host of world-renowned brands have turned to Ingenu’s IoT projects to help them improve efficiency and reduce costs. Shell, for example, managed to save $1 million with its “Digital Oilfield” RPMA (random-phase multiple access) connectivity platform. Ingenu created the platform, in the process proving itself to be one of the leading IoT sensor companies. This low-power, wide-area network required a relatively minor infrastructure investment and it paid off handsomely.
Ingenu collected data including pipeline pressure, temperature, and flow to improve operations in the oilfield. In 2017, the company partnered with Microsoft Azure to bring Ingenu’s RPMA device-management platform to Microsoft IoT customers. With partnerships like these, we see an even brighter future ahead for Ingenu.
15. Amazon Web Services
As the world’s largest “public cloud” provider (as opposed to “private clouds” hosted by companies like Apple, Facebook, and Dropbox), Amazon held 47% of the market in 2017. One of the undisputed global IoT leaders, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a number of IoT-related platforms, including Amazon Machine Learning, Amazon S3, Amazon DynamoDB, Lambda, and Amazon Kinesis.
AWS is also reportedly building new IoT chips for its Alexa home-management system. By improving data analysis on Echo devices, the company also hopes to reduce the price of Echo and its reliance on the cloud, while improving security and response time. Now, AWS is even helping users create their own IoT apps to control sensors remotely.
This multinational company based in the United States is one of the top IoT semiconductor companies on the market. Known for building wireless telecommunications products and services, Qualcomm’s IoT ventures range from smart bodies and homes to smart cities.
Qualcomm co-created AllJoyn, a collaborative open-source IoT framework managed by the Linux Foundation. Developers are free to download the software and write their applications regardless of the manufacturer, and cloud connection is optional. In 2018, Qualcomm reported an annual revenue of $22.732 billion, a 1.98% increase from 2017.
This multinational British energy company supplies electricity and gas to consumers and businesses in the U.K. and the U.S.A. In 2015, Centrica acquired AlertMe, one of a handful of top IoT companies that designs household energy-management systems. Since then, Centrica has been at the forefront of creating IoT technology that enables consumers to control their household energy usage remotely via a smart app.
Centrica’s partnership with SAP allowed the company to become one of the leading IoT device manufacturers focused on smart sensors and industrial asset management. The company’s revenue up to December 2018 was an impressive £29.7 billion.
AT&T is the biggest telecommunications company on Earth. Soon, it could be the planet’s go-to IoT provider, too. In what we can only describe as an effort to become the most powerful company in the world, AT&T has partnered with GE, Intel, Cisco, and IBM to take its IoT game up a level.
With these partnerships going along nicely, AT&T is making significant investments in creating IoT cars, fleets, and energy-management systems. The company ranked #9 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest US corporations by revenue in 2018, and we can only see it going up from here.
This Japanese multinational IT company has approximately 140,000 employees in more than 100 countries around the world. It offers a range of industrial internet solutions: smart logistics, transportation, manufacturing, energy, and retail. Fujitsu also offers comprehensive analytics services to help its clients make use of the mountains of data those smart systems collect.
Fujitsu’s partnerships with the most successful companies involved in the Internet of Things – including Intel, Cisco, and Microsoft – show that it’s willing to collaborate to achieve common IoT goals. This approach seems to be working; Fujitsu amassed $36.89 billion in net sales in 2018.
When it comes to tech, there isn’t a bigger name than Google. This Silicon Valley giant began as a humble search engine, but now holds an obscene amount of data on almost everything you could imagine. Its Google Cloud platform was revolutionary in allowing businesses to process, store, and analyze data, and now the company is charging towards an IoT-powered future.
Perhaps Google’s biggest move in the IoT market was spending $3.2 billion to acquire Nest, one of the first big-name brands to succeed in the smart home industry. Nest manufactures smart home products, including thermostats, smoke detectors, and security systems. These smart devices use AI and machine learning to optimize energy usage and adapt to their owners’ needs. Indeed, Google has seamlessly made the transition from the world’s top search engine to an IoT heavyweight.
There aren’t many tech companies that have been around for more than a century like IBM has. The grandfather of IT has kept up with the times and now operates across more than 170 countries, manufacturing hardware, middleware, and software. Now, IBM is pushing to become one of the top IoT companies in the world.
Modern-day IBM offers hosting and consulting services in everything from nanotechnology to mainframe computers. The company’s list of IoT success stories includes MessageSight – a messaging platform for machine-to-machine data, MobileFirst – which connects mobile and IoT devices – and Bluemix, an app-development platform for data collection and analysis.
What sets IBM apart, however, is Watson. This AI platform for cognitive computing has been a huge success, making the company’s smart networks even smarter. IBM’s cloud division alone clocked up a revenue of $19.2 billion in 2018, up 12% from the previous financial year.
One of the best IoT companies in California and the world, this multinational corporation is the world’s second-largest semiconductor chip manufacturer. Intel’s IoT platform connects devices with one another, then delivers the data it collects to the cloud. The company makes smart IoT products for everything from cars and buildings to entire cities.
Among Intel’s IoT products are its Quark and Xeon processors, as well as the DK300 Series Gateway Solution, which allows interconnected devices to safely analyze, share, and filter encrypted data between each other. The company ranked #46 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the best big companies in America by total revenue. In 2019, Bob Swan took over the reigns as the company’s CEO.
The most famous tech company in the world is making waves in the IoT market. In order to bring IoT to everyday businesses, Microsoft has created its customized Windows IoT operating systems for data collection and processing.
Of course, when you’re looking at Microsoft IoT projects, there’s none more famous that Azure IoT, which brings the Internet of Things and the cloud together. In 2016, Microsoft acquired Solair to promote its IoT projects to a number of sectors, including transport, retail, and manufacturing. With Solair fully integrated into Microsoft Azure, we can expect Microsoft to build sound, intelligent cloud networks in the coming years.
This Californian corporation develops database software and technology, cloud-engineered systems, and enterprise software products. Its main focus, however, is creating database-management systems. With its prophetic view of the future of IoT, Oracle decided to address what’s likely to become the biggest issue of the future: building a place to store the overwhelming amount of data created by IoT devices.
The company has also built a platform for integrating Java into embedded sensor devices and a middleware platform for data-capture apps. Led by co-founder Larry Ellison, Oracle posted a 2018 revenue of $39.83 billion, making it one of the best IoT companies today.
This IT conglomerate creates commercial and consumer tech products, as well as offering engineering services and aerospace systems for customers ranging from private consumers to governments. Honeywell’s Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a network connecting consumers, assets, and processes, which emphasizes secure cloud-based data and advanced analytics.
Honeywell has also staked its claim as one of the best Internet of Things sensor companies with its Sensing and Internet of Things (Honeywell SIoT), which has generated more than 50,000 products. These products include limit, toggle, and pressure switches, as well as speed and airflow sensors. In 2018, Honeywell ranked 77th on the Fortune 500 list. The company’s annual revenue in 2018 was $41.8 billion, a 3.13% increase from 2017.
As far as IoT vendors go, Samsung has diversified its portfolio nicely. The world-famous cell phone company now makes its own IoT infrastructure equipment, including IoT gateways and low-power, wide-area networks (LPWANs). On top of that, Samsung provides top-of-the-line solutions in a range of IoT fields, from smart homes to large-scale industries. The company’s consumer smart-home division produces the SmartThings Starter Kit, which includes smart motion sensors and plugs connected to a central hub. Users can control all of this via a mobile app.
27. Armis Security (startup)
Founded in 2015, Armis Security does exactly what its name suggests by ensuring you can use IoT devices safely and securely. The start-up’s tailored approach to device security relies on visibility; Armis treats every IoT-enabled device as a potential threat. Its customers include businesses at risk of cyberattacks, including IoT healthcare companies, high-tech industries, manufacturing, and finance. The company uses strict security protocols to prohibit criminal access to sensitive devices and networks.
What sets Armis apart is how it adapts to each individual enterprise’s infrastructure to increase deployment speed. The company’s success as one of the top IoT startups in the world today has helped it collect around $47 million in funding. While its reported annual revenue pales in comparison to that of its larger rivals, we’re predicting big things for this young start-up.
This Irish-American manufacturing firm is one the oldest companies on our list, having been formed in a merger way back in 1905. Don’t let its age fool you, though; Ingersoll-Rand has a 21st-century outlook when it comes to IoT technology.
Ingersoll-Rand’s brands — including Club Car, Thermo King, and Trane — are top-of-the-line IoT manufacturers that work together to make everyday life more comfortable, efficient, and sustainable. The company works on projects like enhancing air quality in buildings and homes, and making sure sensitive food and perishables are properly protected during transportation. Under the guidance of chairman and CEO Mike Lamach, Ingersoll-Rand’s 2018 revenue was $15.67 billion.
29. Johnson Controls
Johnson Controls manufactures automotive parts, including batteries and electronics, as well as HVAC equipment for buildings. In the 2019 IoT Breakthrough Awards, the company was named “IoT Innovator of the Year” in recognition of its efforts to drive digital transformation, as well as its extensive portfolio of industrial IoT and digital innovations.
In terms of Internet of Things manufacturing, Johnson Controls has excelled in making equipment and systems that communicate with one another in real-time. The company’s IoT equipment leverages embedded controls and safe connectivity to create systems that optimize efficiency and reduce energy costs. Johnson Controls posted an annual revenue of $31.4 billion in 2018, a 4.07% increase from the previous year.
30. Schneider Electric
Coming in at #30 on our list of the top Internet of Things companies, this French corporation has invested €10 billion into innovation for sustainable development between 2015 and 2025. The company holds 20,000 patents worldwide and invests 5% of its annual revenue into R&D. Now, Schneider Electric is putting a significant amount of that funding towards growing IoT companies and technology.
In 2016, the company launched EcoStruxure, its IoT-enabled architecture. This interoperable plug-and-play solution has since been used in homes, buildings, data centers, industries, and infrastructure projects. Led by CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Schneider Electric posted a 2018 revenue of €25.70 billion.
Last but not least on our list of the best IoT software companies is Altiux, whose software engineering services include making IoT-enabled products for smart homes, buildings, and cities, as well as helping create industrial automation solutions. The company also offers an off-the-shelf IoT accelerator toolkit.
Already one of the top IoT companies in India, Altiux is now expanding its horizons to cater to a wider global market under the guidance of co-founder and CEO Shyam Vedantam.
What Is the Internet of Things for Consumers?
As far as consumers are concerned, an ideal IoT-enabled home might as well be a fully automated, eco-friendly spaceship. Due to the price requirements, however, they tend to start small and build from there.
Smart lighting is one of the most popular features: it’s cheap, it’s easy and quick to install, and it helps with security and energy conservation. According to a 2017 Crime Lab New York study, the implementation of smart lighting cut night-time crime by 39%. Internet of things devices and sensors are therefore not to be overlooked. The types of sensors include home security motion sensors, smoke detectors, and contact sensors. Some examples of home devices are smart locks, smart door controls, and even smart power outlets and water heaters.
If you want to receive a notification as soon as your motion sensors detect movement near your front door, you can simply program your internet of things software to send you one. You can also connect your smart light bulbs with your front door or garage door and have welcoming light greet you as you come home from work.
The whole point of a smart thermostat is to help you save money on your heating and cooling bill. It can start a scheduled heating process just in time for you to come back from work into a cozy, homey environment. It can also turn itself off when you’re asleep, to save energy.
Internet of things home security is no longer just about remote access to on-site cameras. Motion and heat sensors are connected to each other and to your web-based app. They will send you a notification as soon as they detect any alarming changes. Add security cameras to the equation, and you’ll get excellent burglary and home invasion protection. An IoT-enabled system connected via a common hub also offers protection from floods and fires.
And finally, no internet of things network is complete without some lean and mean smart entertainment. You can ask your smart speaker to play music for you. Your hub will transfer data and set a timer while you’re baking a carrot cake. Your AV (audiovisual) system will call you an Uber and deliver a weather report, even check the traffic to see why your ride isn’t there yet.
Some people only use the IoT for entertainment purposes, integrating their smart TV and smart speakers for a full-blown immersive experience. First-party Xbox games like Forza are using the IoT to enhance their gaming experience by adding connectivity. Developers can now benefit from IoT data collection from gamers, which is then sent back out to other gamers. This creates a great live experience, even for players who aren’t playing together.
The IoT’s ability to communicate between devices helped the game Fortnite connect players all over the world through their console, PC, or phone. The IoT connects the players to the viewers, via Twitch and YouTube. As the gaming application shows, the internet of things’ benefits expand to unique communication between a customer and a business. Once gamers could be connected to the games, and then to devices, and finally to platforms, both the gaming industry and the opportunities created by the internet of things grew tremendously.
Basically, consumers automate their homes for many reasons—the IoT saves power and energy, facilitates one’s everyday life, and makes it more pleasant (room temperature and voice-activated earworm included).
How many devices does an average person have? It’s estimated that by 2020 (counting the estimated population of 7.6 billion), there will be 6.5 IoT devices per person. This means that the overall quality of many services will also likely improve. Connected devices can gather user data, allowing companies to produce targeted ads and even improve their products or services depending on what people enjoy the most.
In 2017, consumer spending on IoT devices amounted to $725 billion. Businesses, in spite of owning fewer IoT products, spent $964 billion. By 2020, business and consumer spending on IoT hardware is expected to hit $3 trillion. So what is the IoT going to do in order to improve these industries?
First of all, commercial IoT covers a wide range of businesses: healthcare, transportation, and building automation services, to name a few.
There are many benefits to IoT in healthcare: Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City, for example, effectively reduced wait times for their emergency room patients by 50% with the new IoT-driven software, AutoBed. A 2015 Goldman Sachs report concluded that IoT devices in healthcare “can save the United States more than $300 billion in annual healthcare expenditures by increasing revenue and decreasing cost.”
Many other benefits of the IoT in healthcare include tracking patient’s fitness activities or heart rate, or knowing when to replace malfunctioning machines. In fact, Philips’ new IoT system monitors medical hardware and alerts hospital staff members in case of malfunction.
Fitbit uses the IoT to monitor personal health. Health Net Connect developed a diabetic management program for improving treatment and reducing medical costs. Both the long-term and short-term health and financial benefits from the IoT are becoming more and more apparent, prompting businesses all over the world to make investments.
Internet of things companies are thriving along with their clients. The IoT in the automotive industry is another profitable matter. It incorporates specific types of communication that improve the driver’s experience, such as V2N (vehicle-to-network), V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle), V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure), V2P (vehicle-to-pedestrian), and others.
Users can track the real-time status of vehicles, demand weather reports, and track traffic changes, making appropriate decisions along the way. When combined with the concept of machine learning, the IoT also helps reduce the number of traffic accidents. Additionally, drowsiness alerts examine driver fatigue and send warnings before tragedy strikes.
One more way for internet-connected devices to save lives is via break-down alerts. After a long road trip, a person might get a notification from their car to check the engine. At the same time, the IoT app on their phone can find the nearest certified mechanic in the area and make an appointment. The IoT sensors inside the car can even find out which part should be replaced, order it online, and send it to the mechanic before your appointment.
Consumer and enterprise IoT applications therefore cooperate to build you a better future, save you a lot of time, and reduce the risk of injury, and even death. The term “Enterprise IoT” refers to devices used in business and corporate settings. By 2019, it’s estimated that the EIoT will account for 9.1 billion devices worldwide.
What Is the Internet of Things for Industries?
The industrial IoT covers many sectors and is usually a sound investment, currently making the market more competitive than ever. Technologies using the IoT are especially present and useful in contemporary agriculture. A high degree of asset control, as well as objective data, translates into better livestock and crop quality.
Drones, i.e. ground-based and aerial-based internet-enabled devices, provide unique data collection for crop-health assessment, planting, soil and field analysis, and irrigation. In fact, agriculture has become one of the major industries incorporating this technology into everyday activities. Overall, precision farming, livestock monitoring, smart greenhouses, and expert water management are generating top-notch results for modern farmers and slashing resource waste.
In manufacturing, the IoT has a way of collecting and sending information to improve product quality, and keep workers safe and sound. For example, an employee covers more ground when checking the soil on a giant property with a smart device. Also, IoT sensors in a boiler about to reach dangerous pressure conditions would send a warning long before it explodes and causes serious damage.
In case of a flood or a fire, worker monitors can determine every person’s location and help them evacuate. Receiving and acting on information, even when dealing with huge corporations, has become quicker, easier, and safer than ever.
Over 50% of the global population lives in cities, and this figure is projected to grow to over two-thirds by 2050. With cities growing at an amazing rate in most of the developed world, it is becoming more difficult to combat the strain of growth, from traffic control to environmental issues. This is where smart cities can make a difference.
A smart city is a municipality that uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency. Cities share information with the public and improve the quality of government services and citizen welfare. With the IoT developing and growing so quickly to accommodate these new needs, it makes us wonder, How many IoT devices will there be in 2020? Well, by 2025, it’s estimated that there will be 30.73 billion, and many of them will be integrated into municipal systems.
Both the authorities and citizens need access to correct and relevant data. An automated network on a city scale could significantly improve how we tackle an array of municipal activities, like overflowing trash cans, traffic jams, traffic accidents, or air pollution. Traffic jams, environmental problems, and safety issues can be avoided to a degree when the scope of the IoT expands to the city level.
Currently, the most prevalent smart city programs include visual surveillance systems, public transport and smart outdoor lighting. Put together, these three areas account for nearly 25% of smart city spending. With a smart vehicle or an appropriate app, you can easily search your area for available parking spaces and avoid slow traffic. The current smart city programs using artificial intelligence are working toward achieving superior transportation and parking management.
Mobile operators are helping authorities reduce pollution with smart air quality sensors. Updates on pollution are delivered in real-time, and accurate monitoring helps officials find sustainable solutions. The combination of AI, smart sensors, and cloud computing should result in the more affluent cities reducing their environmental impact.
IoT Security and Privacy Issues
The IoT market is relatively new, and more and more companies are fighting to get ahead to be the next person to contribute something innovative, needed, and original. Unfortunately, the ubiquity of connected devices was met with an almost proportional rise in cybercrimes. This is even more problematic now that the number of devices connected to the internet in 2019 exceeds 26.6 billion.
On top of that, the number of IoT devices that will be out there by the end of this year is expected to hit 22.66 billion. So, odds are, the market is expanding way too quickly to stay safe.
The risks of becoming a target of a cybercrime attack via your connected mobile device or IP security camera is significant. The password protection is usually uncomplicated, unfit to fend off even brute-force attacks. The convenience and brilliant simplicity of IoT usage becomes a cyber-bug, depending on your perspective.
Sure, you can easily connect to your IoT device remotely and make yourself a nice cup of coffee before you get home from work. And while on vacation, you’re one click away from checking your home security cameras. But precisely because the internet of things and the cloud provide easy access to users, they are easy to hack.
Considering how IoT devices can be a liability if not properly secured, attacks involving an IoT botnet have been creeping up on contemporary analysts. Wired suggests that hacked IoT water heaters could trigger mass blackouts in the future, emphasizing the dangers of particularly large IoT botnets. An IoT botnet is a group of IoT devices and appliances secretly co-opted for illicit purposes by third-party criminals. Needless to say, the concerns authorities have about the IoT and cyberwarfare seem to be well justified.
To minimize the risks of problems affecting your cybersecurity, three main protocols need to be followed. First of all, IoT devices typically come with default passwords, and many users make do with these default settings. Start out by setting a unique username and password.
Then, you’ll want to identify which devices in your home or office are part of the IoT. In enterprises and even large, tech-friendly households, listing all internet of things products can be a challenge. Once devices are identified, a centralized control mechanism should start enforcing regular updates of the latest security software patches.
Finally, don’t forget to segment your IoT devices from the rest of your systems or data. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones containing confidential data need to be in separate, secured network zones. Firewalls should be deployed separately. Do this, and you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits the IoT can offer today without having to worry about safety.
Is the Internet of Things the Future?
If you ask German Professor Dr. Detlef Zühlke, the head of one of the largest research centers for smart factory technology, “We will have a fourth industrial revolution.” China, the United States, South Korea, Japan, and Germany are all making big steps toward building smart factories and establishing global quality standards.
Connected homes, buildings, and even cities could revolutionize the way we organize these huge municipalities. Huge reductions in the number of traffic accidents, pollution-related health hazards, and energy waste could be the future of the IoT.
Life and the way we do things would become immensely easier, saving us a significant amount of time, money, and emissions. Day-to-day issues would become a breeze with novel opportunities utilizing the internet of things—finding a parking space in a busy area would be a breeze, movie night with friends can become a mind-blowing experience with pristine connected entertainment systems, and even your fridge webcams can help you order a healthy meal once you’re out of eggs or vegetables.
An internet of things overview wouldn’t be complete without accounting for people with disabilities and the elderly. Never-before-seen home care—aided by strong sensors for easier movement and dependable, scheduled medication use—is changing the world for the better as we speak. Remote health monitoring, for various illnesses like arrhythmia, is already saving lives, reducing medical costs by 50%. In a world of IoT, industrial, healthcare, agricultural, and even entertainment products could achieve better quality with an ear for user demands.
These new concepts sound swell, but a clever bystander ought to be careful. Only in a well-secured environment can an individual, a business, or a city enjoy the IoT’s benefits while hoping for a progressive, bright future. And what is IoT technology good for if not to give hope for a better, technology-enabled future? So if you’re reading this, schedule regular updates for your security system and consider changing your usernames and passwords.
The fastest growing IoT companies are among the most successful businesses in the world, as more and more people realize the potential profitability of connecting their devices. The highly competitive market brings out the best in the biggest players, and as customers we’re already reaping the benefits.
Indeed, the IoT revolution has progressed beyond even the most optimistic forecasts. Facility management has changed forever, as worn-down equipment can now notify its owner before any major damage occurs, and even order its own replacement. Inventory management has also had a facelift, with IoT technology streamlining the supply chain process and dramatically reducing errors.
In particular, the Internet of Things companies to watch are those that save energy and money in an environmentally friendly double-whammy. Smart monitoring of resource consumption has already helped both households and businesses save on electricity, water, and fuel bills, while also protecting the planet we live in. Most importantly, IoT technology has improved both asset and employee safety. Combined with the long-term health benefits of wearable IoT and eco-friendly benefits like reduced air pollution, IoT is literally saving lives.
The top IoT companies are leading this charge towards the sci-fi-like future. Now that humanity has come up with a smarter way of living, we can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring.