At its heart, the IOT involves the collection and analysis of insights and the automation of processes involving machines, things, places and people, thus in essence fusing the physical and cyber realms into one system. In so doing, it transforms business models – making it possible to sell services rather than products, for example, or outcomes instead of services – as well as enabling the reengineering of business processes to achieve the same outcome in a more efficient way.
Not a single technology, the IoT is instead composed of a set of key technologies, encompassing devices with sensors and actuators, connectivity, cloud and edge computing, artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) and security.
5G and the IoT are closely intertwined. One of the biggest innovations within 5G is support for the IoT in all its forms, both by addressing mission criticality as well as making it possible to connect low-cost, long-battery-life sensors.
Supporting the fourth industrial revolution
Industry 4.0 – also known as the fourth industrial revolution – is already heavily reliant on IoT technologies. Manufacturing companies have demanding requirements in terms of cost, flexibility, safety and performance, and it is critical that their requirements are addressed in the ongoing development of the IoT. The automotive and transportation industry is another sector that is undergoing fundamental technology changes that require specialized IoT support. Both of these sectors are examined in detail in this issue of the magazine.
Harnessing the full potential
Fundamental to any IoT solution is the ability to connect the things of interest. Huge potential is lost when it is not possible to get the relevant things and locations online. When everything is connected, however, a wealth of new data becomes available, raising questions about how it should be handled (and potentially monetized).
The wealth of data that the IOT generates can be used for a wide range of different purposes – everything from controlling robots on a factory floor to tracking and monitoring perishable goods in logistics on a global scale by the creation of Digital Twins. As such, IoT and Cyber-Physical System are converging into one and the same concept. Data must be processed both in the cloud and close to where it is produced and consumed, driven by requirements for reliability, cost and performance. Compute and storage serves as a continuum from the cloud and data center across the network infrastructure to the machines and things. The network itself will become the perfect infrastructure for edge computing for all industries.
Ensuring trust in data integrity and reliability
Now that the IoT plays such a key role in the success of so many enterprises, securing data end-to-end has become a top requirement. While reliability and trust are key considerations in all IoT applications, they are of utmost importance in mission-critical applications such as the predictability of data delivery to robots.
I hope that this special IoT issue of Ericsson Technology Review provides you with valuable insights about the IoT-related opportunities available to your organization, along with ideas about how we can overcome the challenges ahead. Download the magazine