The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a system that connects machines, devices, objects, animals, and even people. Each “thing” can send and receive information from another within the system. For example, a person with a pacemaker or an animal with a tracking chip sending data to an app is considered a “thing” within the IoT.
IoT devices are becoming increasingly common in our daily lives, with smart homes being one of the most visible examples. These can include coffee makers that brew coffee at the sound of your 7 AM alarm or security cameras that can be accessed through a phone app.
IoT is one of the many pieces of evidence that we are indeed living in the future. Workplaces, especially within tech companies, can now employ IoT solutions to make daily operations smoother and more intuitive. As a tech leader, you may want to keep up with the latest discoveries and advancements in IoT to stay ahead in the game. Let’s explore what 2023 has in store for IoT and what the next year of “living in the future” will look like.
Wi-Fi 6 Provides Faster Internet, Improved Connectivity, and More
IoT technology has brought efficiency to the workplace, and recent discoveries in this field promise to improve that further. Ask a crowd, “who needs a faster internet connection?” and you will discover a sea of raised hands. Wi-Fi 6 assures improved speed, but it’s not only about helping Zoom conferences run without lags or ensuring communications between clients across the globe.
Wi-Fi 6 is also a means to improve connections between multiple devices. On average, a company can have 50 devices connected to a single Wi-Fi connection through this device. To mitigate problems maintaining connectivity between devices and the central Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6 allows routers to send data to several devices within the same broadcast. Each device within the network can perform check-ins to the same router. These functions enable stronger connections even if an extra device or currently connected devices demand additional data.
Wi-Fi 6 boasts other advantages that can improve your company’s daily operations:
- Better internet security. Wi-Fi 6 also offers improved internet security, as it requires the use of Wi-Fi Access 3, the third iteration of the security certificate from the Wi-Fi Alliance. This certificate enables better means to halt hackers, improve encryption, and enhance the functions of IoT devices. Wi-Fi Access 3 is mandatory for Wi-Fi 6, which ensures up-to-date cybersecurity.
Related reading: Celebrating National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Improved battery life. Another brilliant feature of Wi-Fi 6 is its ability to put devices into sleep mode when not in use. It also has a function called Target Wait Time, which gives devices a scheduled period to function again and receive buffered data.
While transitioning to Wi-Fi 6 may take some time because devices must be Wi-Fi 6 ready. It is worth considering as more companies put increased emphasis on cybersecurity.
Digital Twins Replicate Not Only Models but Processes as Well
It’s beneficial to have an exact replica of a piece of equipment for experimentation, as it guarantees the safety of the real model. Now imagine having a digital replica instead. The advantage of this digital model is that it can perform the same functions as the actual equipment, but within a precisely simulated environment.
The digital twin is an IoT program that allows you to test and manipulate a virtual version of any physical entity. It employs machine learning, artificial intelligence, software analysis, and real-time data processing. Edge computing also plays a big role in creating and using digital twins. Through edge computing, computing power and data storage become more accessible for digital twins, making it easier for them to show real-time results.
Digital twins have a multitude of applications. For example, in medicine, digital twins can be used to manipulate “physical twins” of human organs or the entire body. This way, surgeries or medications don’t have to be “tested out” on actual people. On the other hand, cyber-physical systems can be utilized when building large machines, such as appliances and vehicles, to assess functionality and provide a layer of safety. Cities can also have a digital twin. Smart cities can be monitored and managed digitally to enforce public safety, mitigate traffic, and reduce energy use.
Digital twins have a wide range of applications that your organization can leverage to improve operations. They can be especially useful for manufacturing, shipping, and storage companies that utilize industrial IoT solutions. What’s more, digital twins can be accessed online, allowing you to discuss them through video conferencing, share models with clients, and receive their feedback without the need for a physical model. Whether you’re working on a massive smart city project or developing a small gadget, digital twins represent a significant breakthrough in IoT technology.
Related reading: What’s New in Edge Computing in 2023?
Battery-free IoT Devices Improve the Functions of Wireless Technology
Smoke detectors, hands-free doors, and motion-sensor lights have provided convenience since wireless technology’s inception. However, these devices were heavily dependent on batteries, which can be a hassle when they need to be replaced. The issue of battery disposal is another aspect of this problem. According to Mike Hayes, Head of ICT for energy efficiency at Tyndall National Institute in Ireland, there will be around one trillion sensors worldwide by 2025, resulting in over 100 million batteries being discarded in landfills each day. Creating battery-free devices can address two problems at once: it can help preserve the environment and enhance IoT functions.
How do these battery-free devices stay functional for a long time? Through the help of energy harvesters. There is ambient energy everywhere, such as light, sound, and radio waves. Energy harvesters can gather these energies and store them for various IoT devices.
IoT can also be seen in more specific technological applications, where battery-free IoT devices are highly dependable for creating a safe, secure, and functional workspace. Imagine controlling your office lighting based on occupancy and daylight levels, or tracking company assets from your phone. IoT sensors can track the location and status of assets such as computers, printers, and other equipment. This can help prevent loss or theft and improve maintenance scheduling. Thanks to IoT, the best part of these devices is their low need for maintenance, so you can consider incorporating them into your tech stack to create a technologically advanced workspace.
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