We live in a smart world. The light and temperature in our rooms can be controlled via a smart phone; our heart rate and sleep patterns can be monitored through a smart watch; washing machines, blenders and even toasters can be turned on and off with an app. This is the age of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), where devices are connected to the web and can talk to each other. These devices, be it sensors, smart phones or watches will share information to make us more efficient. Or that’s the idea, anyway.
IoT IN EVERY INDUSTRY
It is claimed that by the year 2020, more than half of new businesses will have processes and systems that will use elements of IoT (source: Gartner). Factories and hardware production units already use it heavily to save their organization time and money. For example, by embedding sensors in the assembly or production lines, different types of data can be acquired for conducting studies in order to increase efficiency, reduce waste and most importantly for providing better customer experience and product innovations.
But, what does this mean to the area of software development? What impact will it have on the field? It is an interesting opportunity for companies and individuals who wish to diversify into an emerging industry. It is not just the opportunities that exist in areas of application development but also in data analytics and AI.
APPS GET SMART!
We use multiple apps a day, they basically run our lives. So it is no surprise that IoT apps are the next big thing! This has created a great demand for specialists in this area. The number of IoT software developers and app developers are growing. They are needed to code for smart devices and sensors used in factories and homes, to create IoT specialized apps for businesses, and to modify existing apps to make them adaptable to IoT.
SECURITY AND STANDARDS
On the flip side, this is a new market and some issues have to be addressed and tackled. These smart devices and sensors are connected to the Internet, which means they can be hacked and information can fall into the wrong hands. So security and privacy has to be taken into account. There is a need for the devices to be secured, and regulations to be set when it comes to the vast amounts of data that is being shared. The latter has happened to an extent with the GDPR, and more regulations will probably happen over time.
Another aspect that needs attention is standardization. IoT works on the premise that the devices can connect and communicate with one another, this means they all have to be compatible. As standardization happens, more and more devices can be connected to one another.
It is obvious this is a growing field with lots of potential. IoT applications are being used widely across industries such as automotive, precision agriculture, home automation, healthcare, energy and retail among others. IoT specialists are the need of the hour and with security measures and standardization keeping pace, the scope and use of the Internet of Things is endless!