With Christmas fast approaching, it is very likely you or someone you know will be looking to buy an Internet of Things (IoT) device. But what are IoT devices and what benefits do they offer? In this post, we look into this revolutionary technology that is quietly transforming the way we live.
IoT extends Internet connectivity, traditionally reserved for laptop/desktop computers, smartphones and tablets, to a wide range of other physical devices. In the consumer market, IoT devices are often referred to as “smart” so smart TVs, smart fridges, smart watches, smart speakers, smart plugs, smart locks, etc. all fall into the bracket of IoT devices.
According to statista, the total installed base of IoT connected devices is projected to amount to 75.44 billion worldwide by 2025, a fivefold increase in ten years.
And it’s not only the consumer market that is driving this growth; many other sectors are also seeing the benefits of IoT.
IoT offers greater convenience and control for users. A smart A/C controller, for example, allows you to turn on your A/C via a mobile app so that your home is nice and cool for when you arrive. Or a smart lock allows you to grant entry to your property remotely without keys or the need for you to be there. And when we integrate machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), IoT devices can provide advanced real-time data analytics, automation and much more.
Some IoT devices utilise machine to machine (M2M) technology, meaning they can communicate with each other automatically without the need for human interaction. For instance, a sensor can send information about inventory levels directly to an application that can place orders to replenish depleted stock. This reduces manpower and saves time and costs.
Real-time data can be gathered, for instance for traffic control, and can be used to automatically adjust traffic lights or provide insights for future planning.
In security, manpower, time, costs and human error can all be reduced with IoT devices combined with facial recognition technology. These devices no longer need to be fixed to one position either when used in robots, such as the Guardforce Patrol Robot seen here:
IoT devices are particularly useful in industries where manpower is often difficult to find or human safety is at risk. This explains why facial recognition in Hong Kong is on the rise in areas such as security and hygiene.
Anti-wandering systems are becoming increasing popular in the elderly care sector. These systems do away with the need for cumbersome physical trackers and instead leverage smart CCTV cameras with facial recognition technology to alert staff if residents wander off unaccompanied. This same system can be used in access control, to take attendance and produce reports, improving operational safety and efficiency.
Other smart devices are also in use to help keep the elderly and other vulnerable people safe. A bed exit alarm uses a smart sensor to detect if someone is getting up from bed unaccompanied. These wireless bed alarms alert caregivers and reduce the chances of falls by allowing a pro-active rather than a reactive approach. In fact, fall prevention solutions in Hong Kong are becoming more and more important as the population ages. In the event that a person should fall, smart radar sensors can detect this and caregivers can respond quickly.
All of these form a good basis for solid fall risk management, reduce the chance of accidents, allow care givers to respond quicker in the event of an incident, and improve the overall safety of elderly residents whilst also reducing the burden on care givers and improving efficiency overall.
Another area where IoT is proving to be extremely useful is hygiene. Smart cleaning solutions not only help to improve environmental cleanliness, they also solve the issue of the shortfall in staffing in the industry. The emergence of smart waste bins, such as the hybrid, solar-powered Guardforce Smart Bin, is allowing service providers to optimise collection routes through combining a real-time Fleet Management Platform with fill-level sensors and integrated trash compactors. Sensors also prevent injury to hands and can even detect and extinguish fires.
A smart toilet solution uses IoT devices such as infrared sensors for various purposes, including people counting, sensing ammonia levels and deciding whether the bathroom needs to be cleaned. The soap levels in soap dispensers and the amount of toilet paper can also be monitored and alerts sent to staff when they need to be replenished. All this is managed through a web-based dashboard and allows for “cleaning-on-demand” so that manpower can be optimised.
These are just a few ways that IoT devices are quietly transforming the way we live. To learn more about how IoT technology can benefit you, contact Guardforce Hong Kong today.