‘Tape cassette’ may be a means to remember many memories for the generations who lived their youth not much, 25-30 years ago. These ‘jukeboxes’, which contained 10-12 songs back and forth at that time, have evolved over time into a CD-DVD model and from there into an almost infinite visual library that can be customized on the Internet in today’s daily life. Technological changes and innovations in this and similar areas have been at our door many times in the flow of history. And it will continue to happen.
The concept of disruptive technologies was first introduced by Professor Clayton Christensen and his friends from Harvard University in 1995 and became one of the cornerstones of the close interaction of the business world with technology with the author’s book ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ in 1997. This approach, which evolved into the concept of disruptive innovation with the book ‘The Innovator’s Solution’ written by Clayton Christensen in 2003, has been used to describe the development and evolution of innovative products or services that destroy and replace existing products and services that dominate the market.
In our world where change and innovation are inevitable, we have directly experienced the effects of ‘disruptors’ in various fields such as telegraph to phone, from sailing boat to motorboat, from typewriter to word processor, from carriage to car, from photo to digital, from duplicator to photocopy, from x-ray to ultrasound, from mechanics to electronics, from key phones to smart phones, etc. In fact, we are currently experiencing a change of age.
According to ‘Disruptive Technologies: Advances That Will Transform Life, Business, and the Global Economy, 2013’ report from McKinsey Global Institute, IoT technology has the broadest potential scope of impact. This means that the Internet of Things will enter our lives and the way we do business more effectively day by day. In fact, it has already happened and it seems that it will continue to be. In the research of ‘12 Disruptive Business and Technology Trends for 2020’ conducted by The Next Organization consulting firm, the Internet of Things still comes up but with a slightly different name, ‘Internet of Robotic Things’. This shows that Internet of Things will continue to transform our lives and business by evolving into new technologies.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) concept, which was first used in a presentation prepared by Kevin Ashton for a company in 1999, has reached a broader vision than it was when it emerged, with the developing technology. In 1999, Kevin Ashton listed the benefits to the firm of implementing RFID technology for Procter and Gamble and suggested its use. The proposed system was a global system standard based on radio waves and sensors that created the concept of ‘Internet of Things’.
According to researches, it is estimated that there were approximately 25 billion active IoT devices in 2019 and this figure is expected to increase to 75 billion devices by 2025. According to the same research, while global spending on IoT was $ 737 billion in 2016, it is expected to rise to $ 1.29 trillion by the end of 2020.
When it comes to the Internet of Things, it is wrong to understand only devices connecting to the Internet. It is also within this concept that RFID-like sensors and identifiers produce information with some devices. When the objects are equipped with sensors and electronic circuits, they gain skills to update their status information by communicating with people. With the development of mobile networks and the Internet, it has become easier for these objects to communicate with people and people have the opportunity to observe and control them from anywhere, anytime. In addition, the transition to the IPv6 protocol has eliminated an important obstacle in order to prevent IP conflicts.
There are currently five different types of IoT applications: consumer IoT, commercial IoT, industrial IoT (IIoT), infrastructure IoT, and military IoT (IoMT). Home appliances, also known as smart home appliances, voice assistance for the elderly, and lighting fixtures are some examples of consumer IoT. For the commercial IoT, smart pacemakers, monitoring systems in the healthcare and vehicle to vehicle in the transport industries would be shown as featured applications. In addition, digital control systems and smart agriculture are examples of common applications for industrial IoT. Moreover, IoT technologies have already started to be widely used in infrastructure systems, such as smart cities. Even though most of the IoT appliances serve for the better, it has also been used in military field such as robots for surveillance and human-wearable biometrics for combat.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a transformation technology for many areas today by creating a design innovation with new digital and smart production technologies. Within the scope of the supply chain, the Internet of Things has a wide range of applications from industrial automation, healthcare, building and home automation to transportation and public services.
As some devices become increasingly intelligent in our lives, the concept of the Internet of Things continues to positively affect human life. As can be seen from the examples above, IoT applications will continue to spread in a wide range with the increase of smart devices.
The Internet of Things Applications
Industry 4.0 Applications
Industry 4.0 is an important phenomenon that will shape the future of production and consumption and differentiate the flow of wealth between countries. It is the strategic use of a group of technological developments in production, the Internet of Things included. One of the biggest reasons for the emergence of Industry 4.0 is that the Far East production has passed the Western production in recent years. This is the threat posed by the situation. In fact, the term Industry 4.0 started to be used in 2011-2012, when the German government prepared a roadmap explaining how they will shape their production in the next 10-20 years against this threat. Industry 4.0 initiative represents the country’s vision of the future of manufacturing, a phenomenon recognized not only in Germany, but also worldwide. The aim of this joint venture is to keep the country in a leading position as a smart factory technology developer.
As one of the main technologies behind Industry 4.0, IoT sensors deals with control systems and machine networking, as well as real-time optimization of production and supply chain networks in the industry. It automates process controls, service information systems and operator tools using digital controllers to achieve enhanced efficiency and safe distribution system in process industries. Reliability and security are maximized thanks to high-precision automation and control using IoT technologies. Likewise, by optimizing energy usage with high-precision automation, excess electricity consumption is prevented.
It will be possible for manufacturers implementing industrial IoT solutions to make better decisions. When devices are interconnected, the data they generate flows into software applications that create information that people can use to make timely and effective choices. By better understanding the consequences of these decisions, decision makers can achieve strategic goals or perform a performance comparison. Decisions will be based on knowledge and wisdom rather than theory or assumption. Better decisions mean less mistakes and less waste.
As for real-world examples of IIoT: ABB, a robotics company, uses sensors to repair parts before they fail. Aircraft manufacturer Airbus uses systems to reduce errors and increase workplace safety through sensors. Fanuc, a robot manufacturer, ensures that maintenance is done on time and therefore possible downtime is prevented by means of sensors integrated into the robots. Automotive manufacturer Magna Steyr uses IIoT systems to track vehicles and vehicle parts and to stock up when necessary.
Environmental IoT Applications
With a population of over 7 billion, the world is facing a big problem as the management of natural resources. Protecting the environment due to population growth becomes more complicated, but IoT offers unique opportunities to find solutions to problems such as clean water, air pollution, solid waste landfill and forest loss. Sensor-based devices collect data in garbage and sewers; likewise, outside the city-forest areas; they are functional in lake and river beds. Some of the environmental threats can be complex, but IoT is here for that. At least, it is possible to diagnose and measure the problem thanks to IoT. Smart devices such as Air Quality Egg, BigBelly and Invisible Track are some of the environmental solutions brought by IoT.
With a device called Air Quality Egg, you can measure the air quality in office and living spaces. By using the same technology on a large scale, residents of the city can be taught how much they pollute the air, and it is also possible to create global awareness on a larger scale.
When a garbage container called BigBelly, which works with solar panels, is full, it sends notification to the cleaning staff. Operations such as changing the size or capacity of the container is carried out by controlling the mobility level of garbage cans.
A small device called Invisible Track is placed in trees in protected forests. It monitors illegal logging. Authorities can prevent these illegal activities, depending on the data of the device.
Smart Agriculture Applications
IoT enables the establishment of smart fields where every step can be observed to increase agricultural production. In smart agriculture applications, technology can be used to perform smart irrigation, soil analysis, soil cultivation, sowing, fertilization, spraying, monitoring crop conditions and harvesting more effectively. In addition, in terms of food safety, data-based solutions offered by IoT offer consumers the option to track even the food they eat.
Regional forecasts can be reached with local meteorology stations through smart agriculture applications. Thus, farmers can make decisions by having a more control over the weather conditions in their regions. Smart irrigation systems that can be controlled from smart phones are also one of the technologies that make life easier and save water. Farmers have the opportunity to irrigate their fields from where they are, without the hassle and expense of going to the field. The smart irrigation system developed called Waterbee is a good example which makes it easier to reduce water consumption and provide information about the state of the soil with the help of sensors. The system analyses the data it collects and performs irrigation according to the needs of the soil in the area where the irrigation system is installed.
Moreover, with satellite image processing systems, it is possible to determine the productivity of the fields and the factors affecting this productivity without ever going to the field. It can easily detect diseases and pests with image processing technologies. As an example, with the device called DTN Smart Trap, farmers can monitor the insect population in the region and protect their products. DTN also offers an Agronomic Platform which enables farmers to access critical insights about the small changes in weather, soil and crop conditions.
Smart City Applications
In smart cities, it is aimed to improve the quality of life of people living in cities thanks to the data obtained from smart devices, such as smart mobile phones, smart houses, and smart lighting. As an example, we can give a more dynamic adjustment of the frequency of the traffic lights with the data obtained from smart traffic lights, and the automatic turning of the traffic lights to green in special situations like fire brigade and ambulance. In fact, the main purpose is to save time, energy, water, waste and to offer a more sustainable life by analyzing the data obtained by smart devices.
Since data is one of the most important points of smart cities, the abundance of free wi-fi areas is just as important. The more easily the city dwellers and tourists can access the Internet, the more the data obtained will increase and service will be provided accordingly. In this context, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality offered free İBB Wi-Fi service to local citizens and foreign tourists in squares, parks and public transportation in 2014.
Public transportation and car sharing applications have also started to be widely used with smart devices. Buying public transportation tickets through mobile ticket applications, tracking the routes of public transportation vehicles through the application like Moovit, and the widespread use of car sharing applications, such as Tek Araba Gidelim, are among the prominent applications in this field.
In smart cities, energy, water and electricity consumed can be controlled by the sensors of smart buildings. This way more savings are realized. Reengen firm, which works in this field in our country, offers energy IoT platforms to companies to reduce their energy consumption and operational costs with its smart building application.
I have mentioned some examples of Internet of Things (IoT) applications that have positive effects on both nature and human life, change the way we do business, which I thought that have a ‘disruptive’ power in detail. Industry 4.0 instances combined with IoT have not only changed the way business is done, but increased the production efficiency and reliability. The use of natural resources has been made efficient by increasing environmental awareness with environmentally friendly IoT applications. With the breakthrough IoT applications in agriculture, production has been made efficient by reducing chemical costs such as fertilizer and medicine. It helps to protect the environment by reducing their usage. By turning our cities, homes and offices to smart ones with the help of IoT sensors, we make human life easier and reduce the electricity and water consumption and waste generation.
From my perspective, while IoT systems will be used in all areas of life such as residences, parks and workplaces, by combining with industry, it will continue to create many positive effects on issues such as increasing the quality in production, creating competitive products, reducing costs, performance and energy efficiency. And it will continue to ‘disrupt’ our ways of doing things, in a good way.