Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the virtual representation of uniquely identifiable objects on a network. Objects, animals or people are provided or embedded with unique identifiers or sensors, helping them to gain the ability of communication and automatically transferring data over a network without requiring human interaction. These things or objects have the ability to harness each other’s data by sharing resources and enhancing dependability and scope of the resulting services. The Internet is expected to get bigger due to the incorporation of sensors and intelligence into consumer devices and physical assets and the connection of these to the Internet. A dynamic heterogeneous network can be deployed in remote and unreachable places such as oil platforms, mines, tunnels and pipes by virtue of an IoT infrastructure. Deployment of such an infrastructure is also useful in cases of emergencies such as floods, earthquakes, radiation areas, fire, etc. Key application areas include home automation, waste management, mining, health monitoring, urban planning, intelligent shopping and smart product management among others.
Convergence of wireless technologies (such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, Wi-Fi, RFID, NFC), micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and the internet have been responsible for the evolution of IoT. The market is expected to grow rapidly because of the influx of wireless sensors replacing wired ones. Wireless sensors have a wider reach and can be used in emerging and innovative applications and concepts. Smartphones allow remote tracking of data obtained from these sensors. The escalation of applications on smartphones for tracking purposes is expected to drive the growth of this market. There is a shift from grid-based to mesh-based sensor network architecture which results in the formation of an inexpensive and compact group of devices and sensors. The networks use wireless capability to power portable electrical devices. The market is expected to be driven by the commercialization of emerging technologies such as wireless technology, solid state battery, sensor technology, smartphone technology and energy harvesting technology. Data explosion is one of the restraints to the growth of this market as users may get overwhelmed by vast volumes and discard crucial data. Additionally, analytics need to be embedded in the wireless sensor network control units so that only necessary data needed is transmitted. One of the obstacles to the growth of this market is the uncoordinated research and focus on short term, specific domain projects. Furthermore, issues such as concern about standards, governance, integration, interoperability, service openness and establishment of real-virtual connectivity are some of the challenges faced by this market.
Key vendors include Honeywell, IBM, Texas Instruments, ARM Ltd., Cisco Systems Inc., Rockwell Automation Inc., Ecobee Inc., Dassault Systems, Mitsubishi Electric, Akamai, Fujitsu Ltd., Gainspan Corp., Conexant Systems and Schneider Electric among others.
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