Some Real World Applications Of IoT

IoT Connected Devices
IoT Connected Devices

IoT has been brewing a storm. Recent revelations in IoT are breaking down one of the differences that set humans apart from non-living things- communication among themselves. The idea of interconnected devices is where the devices are ‘smart’ enough to share relevant information not only with us but also cloud based applications and finally to each other (from IoT enabled devices to others).

Smart devices are nothing but IoT connected devices that are designed so as to capture and utilise every bit of data that you can share and use in day-to-day lives. All of these interconnected devices use the data to interact and make decisions to help complete tasks which are keeping human interests in mind.

Here we will be looking at some of the real world applications of IoT. Read on…

  • Smart Everything!

No need for you to walk all the way to the fan regulator or the A/C remote- IoT connected devices will read your location and set the room to the optimum temperature and humidity by the time you reach home. Are you out and need to allow access to your friend, but only you have the keys? You can grant a temporary pass that will enable your friend or guest to make themselves comfortable at your home until you arrive. IoT makes things a lot more convenient and simple.

Smart homes are promised to reduce the expenses and save you time and money.

  • Wearables

These have been in the news and the market for quite some time now- wrist bands to fitness trackers. Google to Samsung has all made headway in this field.

Wearables include sensors that read information and then use the collected information and data to give suitable results/ insights to the users. There are fitness wearables that will read your calories burnt, distance covered, heart rate, blood pressure and so on.

There are entertainment wearables such as smartwatches that will enable you to answer calls and read messages with your phone lying in the other room- Highly efficient, low-powered and small.

  • Energy Management

Power grids will be smart and reliable. The basic idea behind one is that it collects data and information in an automated and pre-programmed fashion- this is to read and analyse the behavior of electricity consumers and suppliers. This data can then be used to improve the efficiency as well as the economics of energy usage.

Smart grids will be able to detect the cause and location of a power outage and even redistribute the power to ensure that the flow of energy is not hindered at any cost.

The Threats Of IoT

IoT Connected Devices
IoT Connected Devices

One thing that sets IoT entirely apart from the traditional internet is that for starters, IoT doesn’t rely on human intervention to function. With IoT connected devices, sensors and will collect all of the relevant information, communicate, analyze, and take action based on the inputs. This creates a whole new way for technology, business, and media to create value and make for an efficient experience for the customer.

Nonetheless, with IoT allowing this level of connectivity, there is the constant worry of data to be compromised. Not only is more data being transferred among the numerous participants, but the data is getting more and more sensitive. The risk is getting exponentially greater. Take the smart home with its numerous IoT dependences, as an example. The garage door opener now has the added functionality to be able to deactivate the house alarm upon opening it. This is convenient for homeowners to quickly get in and out of the house if they are in a hurry. However, the issue here is that the home alarm could potentially be deactivated if the garage door opener is compromised.

This is only one of the many examples you can come up with. A broad range of IoT connected devices from thermostats to TVs, smart home hubs, door alarms and so on, means that there are numerous ways in which someone with ill intent can gain entry into your IoT ecosystem and wreak havoc. For businesses, this lack of proper IoT cyber security features would mean that hackers can find entry points to access customer information or make it through the manufacturer’s back-end system.

How Businesses Are Responding To The Threat 

This decentralized approach is forcing many enterprises and businesses to rethink and adapt. Safeguarding the IoT is complicated by the scope and the scale of the data that is being collected and generated, also the data that is accessed by third-party devices. The wider the net of IoT connected devices, the more robust the security must be to close in loopholes and chinks in its armor.

An umbrella level cyber risk paradigm is now being adopted by leaders, which is effectively raising the standards of cyber risk in every facet of the organization. The plan of action is pre-threat and post-event. This means that preventing and anticipating IoT cyber-attacks through constantly monitoring and neutralizing threats as they are in play. This helps in restoring the status quo as soon as possible, in the aftermath of an attack.

Challenges In Managing IoT Information

IoT Connected Devices
IoT Connected Devices

IoT has become the happening and one of the most prevalent technological innovations of the 21st century. We are at the cusp of a digital revolution, and bringing all of the devices around us to a full circle. Many technologies have individually contributed to reaching where we are now and include the likes of cloud computing, Artificial intelligence, Big data, and machine learning to name a few. The internet of things involves the collection of large quanta of data that is obtained from various IoT connected devices. The IoT devices could be anything from everyday household appliances to industrial machinery. The transfer of information, analysis, and use of it to substantiate an action, in turn, makes these devices “smart”. 

Think of a new age door lock – a traditional deadbolt which in turn is connected to a central hub. It will mean that the property owner will now be able to gain access to the property in a keyless manner. The owner can also issue guest keys or digital passes. Every time the door is opened or someone triggers the alarm, the owner will receive a mobile alert that can inform the owner and unlock/ lock the device at the top of the screen. This is an example of how IoT can help you seamlessly connect the devices. The lock will send the necessary information to a server employing an active internet connection. The data then reaches the owner phone. A typical case of seamless transmission of data from one IoT connected device to another.

The Challenges That IoT Puts Forward

When innovations come into the scene, they provide a solution to previous problems and simplify things. Nonetheless, at the same time, there is a new set of challenges that are brought forward with smart business technologies, smart home devices, or industrial IoT devices. Here are some of the prominent challenges that exist:

Security  

Security or more specifically, cyber security is that which pertains to the security of information technology. This is not just limited to the data connection and its vulnerability but the actual device or hardware itself. Let us help you paint a picture. Imagine a property that functions as smart property, and is equipped with IoT sensors. A property manager or the owner of the property will be able to maintain and keep check of the device, the incoming data stream, send commands, and what-not. Imagine, if an intruder was able to seize control and manipulate the data or even the sensor itself? Disable alarms? Gain access to the smart property? Switch off safety function and sabotage the property with fire? The harm that can be done is limitless. 

We just used a house as an example. What if it is an industrial plant? Unknown individuals that have ulterior motives may shut down machines, overheat or overload the system, steal away sensitive data and so much more. This is why cyber security and appropriate security measures need to be put in place to ensure that data is encrypted, access is limited, and strong authorization is needed to gain use of the data or the IoT connected device itself. 

Privacy

This is a hot topic, with Facebook CEO being called out for privacy breaches and misusing user data. This again stems from the previously stated issue of cyber security. Most online connections are backed behind encryption. The data is essentially converted to gibberish (encrypted) and once it reaches the target site it is deciphered to make sense and showcase the initial intention and meaning of the data sent across. IoT devices and platforms can collect, transmit and make use of the data that is unencrypted, as is the case with many platforms that act as interfaces for the connected devices/ networks, and which are maintained by inexperienced developers.

For a business, especially one that deals with sensitive information, the improper handling of the data can completely turn the customer, the employees, and the organization itself, vulnerable. 

Reliability

When there is a power outage, or the network service provider goes out, the complete system essentially goes offline. There are limited methods of interacting with the devices in such cases. This is why during natural calamities or emergencies, IoT solutions act less as solutions and more as problems. That means that the entire device is made unusable. Other times, they operate at reduced capacity. In worse off situations, the data collection and reporting processes are interrupted. There will be a need to invest in low-power and offline support systems if you are to make IoT solutions full proof and reliable. This will require plenty of testing, which will serve the “always ON” concept that has become true for most facets of modern technology; yes, even when resources are limited. 

The Curtain Closer

In due course of time, we will be able to negate the shortcomings and truly embrace the IoT revolution that has marked the beginning of this century.

Ways To Boost IoT Application Reviews And Ratings

IoT Solutions
IoT Solutions

Mobility solutions, coupled with IoT capabilities, enable monitoring, analysing and controlling smart connected objects all remotely. This boosts the demand for developing the internet of things apps with better user experience (UX).

Anyhow, end users check the ratings of the internet of things applications to confirm that these apps work efficiently with connected IoT products. If there are negative ratings for the application, customers choose not to use it and the IoT product, which then causes big loss to both IoT service vendors and original equipment manufacturers. Therefore, keeping or improving positive reviews could have a big effect on user engagement. With this in mind, let us take a look at some strategies to make the reviews and ratings better.

Integrating Debugging Features

According to industry standards, end to end testing matters not just for IoT solutions but also for mobile applications. Still, customers are likely to find problems that did not occur in the pre-launch validation process, because IoT product setting setups at their side are dynamic.

To overcome these kinds of real-time problems, debugging features should be integrated into the IoT application so that debug information regarding the issues can be collected. The said information simplifies analyzing the setup and resolving customer problems without having to stress consumers for further details.

The feature has to capture important errors, details regarding user interaction, and events, which all can aid in identifying the problems. However, one must avoid capturing sensitive details such as cloud tokens, credentials, or decryption/encryption keys to not harm user privacy.

Releasing The App Updates Regularly

It is important to update the mobile application frequently because this will play a part in the reviews and ratings. Occasionally, updated mobile operating systems change native framework behavior, which then causes certain app features to not work or even to entire app failure. Recent mobile OS updates continued to change permission methods of native features such as Bluetooth and location services, which possibly sabotages service-dependent application features. Roll out updates to confirm that the application works properly, without the aforementioned kinds of situations.

Integrating Analytics Tool

Analytics tools can provide insights into the ways of improving application performance, identifying useful features for customers, and improving user retention. Anything that customers do on the screen can give valuable details regarding that feature, its functionality, or section of the application that they find the most useful.

Customers are usually hesitant to report problems they find in their applications. Consequently, analytics tools record their behavior when navigating through their app. This will help to identify issues they experience or failures in the application screen without having to interact with them.