What Is the Internet of Things?

What Is the Internet of Things?

IoT, or the Internet Of Things, started as an effort to get standalone daily-use devices of varying degrees of complexity (starting from vending machines, television sets, and billboard displays to VoIP telephones, “smart” lighting devices, “smart” security systems, and “smart” enterprise hardware) to communicate digitally, either with a central source of instructions or among each other. 

One of the earliest variants of a successful IoT integration in daily consumer life was the introduction of vending machines by Coca Cola (in 1986), which were equipped with the ability to track and manage reports on inventory and transactions, as well as the configuration to send automated trigger messages to fulfilment centers to replenish items as and when necessary. This turned into a huge cost-saving strategy in terms of reducing the total workforce, and consequently, the net billable hours involved in the management & maintenance of these machines.

And while IoT app development services company sprung up in the concurrent (eighties) climate, the Internet of Things had a long way to go from just consumer devices.

The Achievements and Limitations of IoT in Business

The vending machines’ success led to further interest and exploration in the IoT space quite fast, akin to a technological gold rush. Soon, we became accustomed to devices such as integrated home security systems and smart home automation systems on the consumer front and voice-over-IP telephony services and human-interface access systems (HID enabled cards) on the enterprise front. All of this was made possible by the quick adoption of IoT tech into familiar territories. 

The pace at which IoT app development services progressed also deserves recognition and commendation. The transition into a primarily IoT-driven business landscape created thousands of new jobs and millions of new avenues for consumer-facing innovation. Only one challenge remained – scaling. Every time a product or service category needed to be replicated or customized, the software infrastructure necessitated redundant spending on IoT app development services for each module. This made the task of scaling both cumbersome and expensive.

How Does Cloud Computing Solve Scaling for IoT Businesses?

In 2006, Amazon Inc released the Elastic Computing Cloud, or the EC2 – as a godsent service for internet businesses that wished to move their hosting and data center operations to a reliable cloud setup. The benefits of a cloud-driven infrastructure extended to both scalability and security. On the one hand, cloud computing service providers paved the way for internet-cos to save massively on hosting costs, and on the other, it provided a rapidly scalable interface for innovators to experiment on new modules, create virtual “infrastructure hubs” – such as the ones seen on IAC (Infrastructure As Code) models on TerraForm and other associated platforms, and reduce the effort and costs associated with the replication of modules. 

This wave of technological innovation, in turn, allowed pioneers in the online shopping and consumer logistics industries to deploy highly profitable and hyperlocal service delivery models that could be replicated at scale very easily. A prime example of this service innovation is Amazon Prime (pun intended), which was able to successfully leverage Amazon’s benchmark status as a cloud computing service provider, and the associated infrastructural benefits to create a model that allows users from around the world to shop for things they want. It then delivers these products to their doorstep with record-breaking turnarounds (some products have same-day delivery SLAs on Amazon today), all with the comfort and security of real-time tracking.

While all of this is very impressive to an end-user, what’s happening at the backend – the real magic is in the art of turning as many “stakeholders” in the process as possible – including but not limited to shipping label printers, manufacturing, and shipment assembly lines, product sorting infrastructure, warehouse inventory management systems, into IoT-enabled devices and systems. The next step is connecting these networks over secure cloud infrastructure, where custom dashboards and interactive algorithms make the entire model very easy to replicate, customize, maintain, and thereby – scale. The refinement of IoT app development services and a general but qualitative boost in the number of cloud computing service providers make this transition smooth.

For instance, when Amazon sets up a new delivery benchmark in a particular postal code/ZIP code, it is very easy for their operations to set up exact replicas of this model in other areas, too, with bare minimum scope for manual errors to creep in. No wonder, then, that the world’s largest online retailer has chosen to name their warehouse operations unit as “CloudTail” – as a tribute to the infrastructure that enables this magical scaling. 

IoT App Development Services and Cloud Computing Service Providers- Where Are We Headed?

Consumer logistics, VoIP services, online shopping, home automation, and enterprise security are just pieces of the puzzle that have already been imagined and executed. The real potential of IoT lies in areas where no man has ever gone before. Consumer transportation, for example,  is one arena where there is major scope for both professionals who provide IoT app development services, as well as expert cloud computing service providers to converge, innovate and come up with solutions that simplify the management of fleets of self-driven cars (to create a self-driven “Uber” of sorts), or even to power the backbone of a digitally managed monorail system that requires no manual security staff or manual ticket-checkers or manual ticket dispensers. 

In other words, IoT and Cloud Computing are creating a future where all redundant manual labor will be digitized and automated, making room for free thinkers, content creators, and product innovators to do what they do best and scale up their fortunes rapidly.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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