Using the Internet of Things Wisely in Product Development

by Thom Tracy

3 min read

The internet of things is changing the way humans interact with products. There is absolutely no doubt that the IoT is becoming increasingly more present in our daily lives. Some experts predict that the IoT will consist of 50 billion objects by the year 2020.

What Is the Internet of Things?

The IoT a network of devices connected to the internet – but it goes far beyond that. The IoT is the inter-networking of any physical device that can collect, transmit and exchange data. The IoT is a global network of connected things, which even includes people. The types of connections that exist within the IoT are people-to-people connections, people-to-object connections and object-to-object connections. The IoT allows for more direct integration of people and objects in the physical world to that of the computer world.

What Types of Products Can Collect Data?

Just about any product can collect data. Embedded electronics, sensors, software and connectivity have already added so many different types of products and objects to the IoT. Smartphones, cars, buildings, coffee machines, washers and dryers, cameras, even light switches and smart-home devices have already been connected. Anything that has data collection technology embedded in it, and has an internet connection, can become a part of the IoT. The new rule for the future will be: “Anything that can be connected, will be connected.”

What Types of Data Can Be Collected Efficiently? Is This Data Useful?

Data can be collected by an IoT thing using embedded sensors and used within its own context. Data such as temperature, location and humidity are typical. Imagine a building that has a temperature sensor embedded within every square meter of its walls, floors and ceilings and uses this data to continuous optimize temperature throughout the structure. Imagine your smart refrigerator senses that you only have one glass of orange juice left in the carton. Without you even noticing, it places an order for more orange juice.

Data from IoT objects can be collected and transmitted simultaneously to the cloud for analysis of a greater problem. This data can be sent in real time or in batches. For example, heating, cooling, water and waste resources going into and out of a major city may be optimized to a degree never seen before from data of this type by analyzes how each individual building is using them in real-time. Just imagine the real-time effects on the energy industry if every buildingwas simultaneously optimizing its internal environment’s temperature and transmitting that data for country-wide analysis.

How Data Improves Product Development

Data that is collected from a product and analyzed can be used to eliminate the guesswork involved in what consumers want. It also helps in improving the product by iterating its design and features over time based on aggregate data analysis. The data collected by IoT devices helps the devices themselves, and the IoT as a whole, get more accurate and efficient, adding economic benefits. The data makes the process of capturing those benefits much faster than without the data.

The Future of Product Development With the Internet of Things

The IoT is a foundational change to the way designers are developing products. It is a changing landscape in both hardware and software. Already, product developers in just about every industry are thinking of ways to add IoT capabilities to their products. Currently, the IoT revolution is only in its beginning phases.

Designers and consumers are just getting used to the idea and understanding the capabilities. In the future, things will get even more intense and interesting. With the advancements in areas such as nanotechnology, it is very easy to imagine what types of hardware and sensors will be embedded in everyday objects at the atomic scale. It is very feasible to think that down the road, every single thing on the planet, living or not, could have IoT capability. It just a matter of seeing how many things will actually connect and become part of the network.

Related Articles

What’s Changed in the New QuickBooks

The new QuickBooks Online bookkeeping software has gone through quite a few changes. As…

Read more

Five Trade Businesses to Start

From the electricity, running water, and refrigeration in your home to the…

Read more

Powering Small Business Prosperity in the “Global Village”

In 1962, Marshall McLuhan predicted the emergence of a “global village” brought…

Read more