A Story on IOT
IoT and startups seem to be like two words that can’t leave each other.
So What is IoT? Why is it being a point and topic of interest for many technological based entrepreneurs?
IoT stands for the Internet of Things. When everyday objects or things get connected to the internet with the help of sensors and IP addresses, we term this concept as Internet of Things. Everyday objects can be anything from your shoes to your car to your coffee kettle. The purpose for connecting these devices to the internet is to extract data and user analytics. The extracted data and analytics can be used for many applications like businesses, surveys, notifications or just enriching user experiences.
Connecting objects to the internet requires sensors and IP addresses. An example of a platform for building IoT devices is Raspberry Pi. IoT-enabled devices use a specialized form of the Internet Protocol called IPv6(Internet Protocol Version 6).
Let us take an example. You have recently purchased a pair of running shoes which you intend to use daily for your fitness based activities. These shoes are ‘smart’ and IoT-enabled. They connect to your smartphone through Bluetooth or a hotspot. You start your day at 6am.You wear these shoes and go out for a 6km jog. During this jog, the shoes record the number of steps taken by you, the average speed with which you were running and simultaneously they check themselves for wear and tear. After coming home, a summary of your workout is generated on your phone. You are satisfied and the phone asks if some of the data could be sent to a server, you accept. This data like number of steps taken, shoe condition is sent to a server and stored there. The next day you take a jog, the same process repeats. This time the shoes compare your current summary to your previous day’s summary to check if your workout regime has improved or not and then they present you a detailed. Added functionalities to the shoe would be terrain mapping , where with the help of small texture detection sensors , it could effectively guess the type of terrain it is being used on.
What’s the moral of this short story? Where is the money making potential?How will the above situation create business opportunities?
The massive data generated can be analyzed, mined and interpreted to change the way the business works and generate revenue through new offerings, opportunities and end to end services.
In the above shoe example, the shoe manufacturer can market his shoes’ usage on surfaces and predict the exact time period his/her shoes would be in usable condition because of the constant data and statistics that the shoe is sending to a company based server. These stats include condition, terrain and number of steps taken. He/she can advertise how good his/her shoes are. The shoe wear and tear condition can alert the maker about when the customer needs a new pair of shoes. This way the maker could offer a new pair of shoes to the existing customer. The shoes’ condition on different terrains can help in advertising how good the product is. All these methods generate huge revenue for the manufacturer. The maker can also use this available data for R&D and improving the product. This will generate better products and more sales.
The business context being covered, how will a customer benefit? What will make him/her choose these IoT-enabled shoes over others? In the above example, the user is gaining more knowledge about his lifestyle and fitness regime through the data generated by these shoes . This helps him/her in improving their lifestyle and regime towards a more health and fitness based one. Also, the customer can use the data generated to know about the condition of the product and get alerts from the manufacturer about any new products. This will help in decision making.
IoT has a huge potential in a country like India. It has already proved success in countries like the USA, Japan and recently China. In India, it is still in its development stages but doesn’t mean that budding entrepreneurs shouldn’t grab the opportunity. In fact they should. They should think about the ways in which everyday objects can be used to make life easier if they were connected. This kind of thinking needs to be developed for not only an IoT enthusiast or entrepreneur but by all technology-based entrepreneurs. There can be many more examples like the shoe. All that is required in this sector of technology is thinking and analysis. It is rightly said that the Internet is the future of everything. So the more connections, the merrier.