The Internet of Things has become one of the most exciting things in tech. Once a vaguely defined futuristic concept, it now exists all around us in ways that are already transforming our day-to-day lives. And as the IoT has expanded and improved, people have become familiar with some of its most mainstream applications: smart homes, exercise and health tools, smart offices and medical centres, etc. But the coolest truth about the IoT is that it actually has far more applications than most of us could possibly realise.
To illustrate this point, here’s a look at five incredible IoT applications you may not have read about or come into contact with just yet.
We’ll start with one that may not initially sound particularly exciting, but which may save you a few headaches down the road. The idea here is basically that smart tracking systems can now be used to automatically communicate with our mobile devices to let us know where luggage is at all times during travel. This list of cool IoT applications singles out Trakdot as one company leading the way by creating transmitters that switch off in cargo holds but remain active at all other times. As the description notes, a system like this can’t actually prevent the initial loss of luggage during or after a flight, but it pretty much guarantees that you’ll be able to track your lost bag down. And you barely have to lift a finger to do it.
Assistance For The Blind
This is one of the most fascinating IoT applications that not many people seem to be talking about. Evidently, the combination of existing GPS technology and improving sensors has now brought about the design of a system that can help the visually impaired to navigate the world outside their homes. As this site explains, the app automatically notifies its user about points of interest and obstacles that might be in the way. It also syncs up with a “Look Around Wand” that allows the user to point a device in a given direction and be told what’s there. Basically, the whole idea links a mobile device’s GPS with anything and everything in the immediate environment to paint a safe picture for the visually impaired. And interestingly enough, it was designed by a company that trains guide dogs!
Sport Performance Measurement
As mentioned, exercise and health tools tend to be among the IoT applications that people are pretty well aware of at this point. However, many may not realise that almost as soon as fitness bands went mainstream companies began developing similar tools optimised for specific sports. For instance, one new tool helps basketball players by syncing an arm band, a sensor clipped to the net, and a mobile app to track and record shooting performance. Another works with tennis players by linking a racquet sensor to a mobile app for the purpose of analysing spin, point of impact, and speed. There are a few other examples as well but suffice it to say the convenient performance tracking ability of fitness bands is being translated to specific sports.
Automated Car Repairs
It’s hard to get through an article about technological innovation these days without bringing up Tesla, and as it happens the celebrated electric car company is behind this application. This article called the company’s “over-the-air” fix capability the best example yet of the IoT in action, and it really is pretty exciting. What’s happening is that Tesla owners’ cars are essentially alerting the company when a given repair or update is needed, and the company is responding without the actual car owner having to do anything. Primarily, this has proved to mean that Tesla is actually updating the software of its customers’ cars remotely and automatically. However, the company will also send valets to pick up cars for repair when necessary, removing a great deal of the hassle associated with car upkeep.
We’ll finish the list off with a larger concept that’s a little bit more vague, but potentially more impactful than all the rest combined. Right now there are a few IoT companies (or possibly more than a few) working on highly capable systems designed to make cities “intelligent.” For the most part this means the automatic analysis and management of lighting systems, parking spaces, and traffic patterns to conserve energy and make everything run smoothly. If fully implemented, systems like these have the potential to make cities far more energy efficient, as well as more pleasant for inhabitants.
There are many more examples to discuss, but hopefully these five demonstrate the range and variety within the IoT revolution. There are a lot of exciting things happening in this developing industry, and we’re only just beginning to see the positive effects.