By Nassia Skoulikariti

My passion for IoT services and their potential for improving people’s lives was sparked by a very personal issue.

My late father’s deteriorating memory became a concern for all his family, and we were constantly worried about his whereabouts and safety. That’s when I discovered the transformative power of the Internet of Things (IoT) and how it could help solve this and many other problems.

With IoT, physical devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items are embedded with electronics, software, and sensors and interconnected, enabling these objects to collect and exchange data. The possibilities are immense, from smart homes that learn our preferences and adjust accordingly, to cities that use IoT to monitor traffic and improve safety.  IoT can connect us and improve our lives in ways previously only possible in sci-fi movies.

By using a connected IoT GPS device, we were able to track my father’s movements and get alerts if he went outside of a designated area.  We used a small GPS tracker that my father could wear on his wrist like a watch. It was unobtrusive and didn’t interfere with his daily activities, which was important to him.

With the GPS tracker, we were able to set up a designated area for my father’s movements. If he left that area, we would immediately receive an alert on our smartphones. It gave us peace of mind knowing that we could always find him if he got lost or disoriented.

This experience solidified my belief in the power of IoT and how it can improve people’s lives. It’s not just about convenience or entertainment. It is about real-world solutions that make a difference. And the best part is that these solutions are accessible to everyone, regardless of their age or income level.

How IoT is changing our lives

Enabling physical objects to collect and exchange data turns them from passive objects to intelligent and connected ones, capable of communicating with each other.  Anything with an IP address can be considered part of this networked ecosystem whether it is a phone, a computer or even a refrigerator.

IoT has made our lives more convenient, healthier, productive, and efficient. It’s also helping us address some of the biggest challenges we face today, such as climate change, sustainability, and healthcare. Using IoT-enabled systems we can reduce our carbon footprint, optimise our use of resources, and improve our access to healthcare and medical services.

Although the concept IoT has been around for decades, it’s only in recent years that we’ve started seeing it in our daily lives.

Smarter homes

Smart home devices can help us to reduce our energy consumption and save money on our utility bills. It can prompt us to be more conscious of our energy usage and do our part to tackle climate issues.

IoT-enabled security systems monitor our homes and property worldwide, making our lives safer and more secure. We can receive real-time alerts and notifications when something unusual happens, giving us peace of mind and allowing us to take action quickly.

Gone are the days of fumbling for the light switch, with voice assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google, all we have to do is speak a command and voila! No more stubbed toes or tripping over the cat in the dark.

Meals can be ready to be served the moment we step into our homes from work, thanks to a smart oven or an automated crockpot.

And let’s not forget about the convenience of smart thermostats, which adjust the temperature to our preferred settings without us lifting a finger.

It’s like having a personal butler, except it’s a machine that doesn’t judge you for wearing your pyjamas all day.

More accessible healthcare

The healthcare industry is one of the most promising markets for IoT.

IoT-enabled devices are breaking down traditional barriers, allowing healthcare professionals to monitor patients’ health remotely. Patients no longer have to be confined to a hospital bed to receive care but can live comfortably at home.

IoT-enabled devices can monitor vital signs such as heart rate, oxygen levels and blood pressure and send this data to healthcare professionals in real-time, allowing for early detection of health problems and timely interventions, improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs.

Wearable fitness trackers have been around for a while. These nifty gadgets monitor heart rate, activity level, and sleep patterns, providing real-time feedback to help us make informed lifestyle decisions.

Changing public transport and driving cars

IoT can make our daily commute a whole lot smoother. The transportation industry is embracing IoT to optimise traffic flow and reduce congestion. With IoT-enabled traffic management systems, real-time data on traffic flows, road conditions, and even weather patterns can be collected. This allows traffic signals and routes to be adjusted accordingly.

Plus, with real-time alerts about accidents and traffic jams, drivers can adjust their routes to avoid delays and make our roads safer. And let’s not forget about the environmental benefits of reducing travel times and minimising pollution.

IoT is also helping us keep our cars in top shape by monitoring vehicle performance data like engine temperature and tire pressure.

Security issues

Although IoT devices can be exciting and convenient, we need to be aware of the potential risks associated with their increased adoption and data sharing. As we become more connected through IoT, there’s more personal information being stored and transmitted through smart networks. Cybersecurity measures have never been more crucial.

IoT device manufacturers and service providers are continually working to improve security, but we, as consumers, must take an active role in protecting our information too.

Here are some tips to help keep your data secure.

Passwords. Many IoT devices come with default passwords that are easy to hack – think “password123.” It’s crucial to change them to something unique and complex. Be smart and create strong passwords.

Updates. It is important to keep your devices updated with the latest firmware and software updates. These updates often contain critical security patches to ensure that your devices are secure and safe to use.

Data collection. IoT devices collect vast amounts of data, including personal information that can be sensitive and used to identify you. Before you connect your device, read the privacy policy carefully and understand what data is being collected and how it’s being used. Opt-out of data sharing and use reputable companies with a strong privacy policy if possible.

Remember, the power of IoT is incredible, but it’s crucial to stay vigilant and keep our information safe.

Conclusion

Our world is becoming increasingly connected and interactive; technology is transforming how we live, work, and play. IoT is making a significant difference in our daily lives. It’s helping us to save time, be more environmentally friendly, and improve our health and well-being. And with continued innovation in this space, we can expect to see a world where everything is seamlessly connected. Humans and machines will work together to create a more efficient and sustainable future.


About the Author

Nassia

Nassia Skoulikariti is Director of IoT Programmes at the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) a global trade body established in 2000 and headquartered in the UK with members across the world. As the voice of the mobile ecosystem, it focuses on cross-industry best practices, anti-fraud and monetisation. The Forum provides its members with global and cross-sector platforms for networking, collaboration and advancing industry solutions.

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