The topic of the current paper is the Internet of Things as an emerging technology. The purpose of the paper is to study the notion of the Internet of Things as well as its advantages and obstacles to the business. In the process of writing the paper, different sources were used to study the subject. Nowadays, there is no single definition of this concept. Various authors interpret it in different ways. However, a summarizing definition states that the Internet of Things is a computer network that connects the surrounding objects. On the contrary, according to the interpretation of the analysts from Cisco Business Solutions Group, the Internet of Things is the very era of the Internet since the time when the number of objects connected to the World Wide Web exceeds the population of the planet. Having reviewed the literature on the subject, it was concluded that this technology is best suited for industrial organizations. It is associated with the fact that the Internet of Things can bring many advantages for companies, including the improvement of production operations and the reduction of costs. These days, the Internet of Things is of particular importance because in this case, it is the first truly significant change in the level of the physical Internet. In the paper, it was stated that the opportunities of the Internet of Things in the field of generating, collecting, analyzing, and distributing data on a global scale will enable mankind to eventually get knowledge and wisdom that are required not only for survival but also for the real prosperity for many centuries. The Internet of Things is a completely new step in the elaboration of the Internet. The Internet of Things can provide many positive and new opportunities for people.
Experts claim about the fast-growing market of the Internet of Things as well as the influence of mobile, cloud, and social technologies on it. At the same time, it is not completely obvious what issues are included in the market of the Internet of Things. The interpretation of the term is also not completely clear. The definitions of the Internet of Things provided by different authors significantly vary. Depending on the interpretation, the phenomenon is represented as a future prospect or a fait accompli. The Internet of Things is a computer network that connects the surrounding objects. Apparently, it connects different kinds of devices from IP-televisions to blood pressure sensors that are connected to the Internet. These objects can include vehicles and clothes, refrigerators and toothbrushes, namely all things that can be connected to a wireless network. These days, about 10 billion devices are connected to the Internet (Greengard, 2015). It is expected that by 2020, the number will reach 50 – 60 billion (Greengard, 2015). In fact, technical possibilities for this already exist since the new Internet Protocol – IPv6 offers a virtually infinite number of IP-addresses. Moreover, the British company has created a microchip that has the ultra-low power consumption. Despite this fact, this microchip makes it possible for almost any subject to reach the network. In such a way, the Internet of Things has already become part of everyday life. Technologies of the Internet of Things have enormous potential, which could become one of the key business benefits in the near future changing the life of people for the better. The purpose of the current paper is to study the notion of the Internet of Things as well as its advantages and disadvantages.
The Notion of the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things as well as many other scientific concepts originated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1999, the Center for Automatic Identification was established engaged in radio frequency identification and new sensor technologies (Evdokimov, Fabian, Gunther, Ivantysynova, & Ziekow, 2011). The center coordinated seven universities located on four continents (Evdokimov et al., 2011). In fact, there was developed the Internet of Things architecture. Since that time, the Internet of Things is a modern technology that is constantly improving. Apparently, this technology has greatly changed people’s life and continues to develop farther. It transforms everyday objects. Due to the fact that there is the increasing interest in the Internet of Things, there are numerous scientific journals devoted to this subject. Worldwide, there are international forums, conferences, and summits on the Internet of Things. The world’s media regularly discusses the implications of the emergence of the Internet of Things and its impact on social transformation. The Internet of Things is an interesting and a new world, which focuses on a variety of activities, from teaching, research and standardization to economic planning. Although there is no universally accepted definition of the term, it can be considered as a possibility of things and people to interact remotely via the Internet from any part of the world and at any time due to the convergence of various technologies. The author Hakima Chaouchi (2013) gives the following definition of the concept, “The Internet of Things is somehow a leading path to a smart world with ubiquitous computing and networking” (p. 4). In the book Architecting the Internet of Things, it is mentioned that “The Internet of Things is a concept, in which the virtual world of information technology integrates seamlessly with the real world of things” (Uckelmann, Harrison, & Michahelles, 2011, p. 2). An analytical firm Gartner interprets the concept of the Internet of Things as a network of physical objects containing a built-in technology that allows these objects to measure the parameters of their state or the state of the environment and transmit this information (Camarinha-Matos, Tomic, & Graca, 2014). It should be noted that in this definition, the word “Internet” is absent. Therefore, referring to the network of the Internet of Things, it is not claimed that it is part of the Internet. Moreover, according to some experts, despite the title of the Internet of Things, the things are often associated with the use of M2M-protocol and not the Internet (Camarinha-Matos et al., 2014). However, the presence or absence of the connection to the Internet is not the only difference in the definitions. According to the interpretation of experts from the company Cisco Business Solutions Group, the Internet of Things is a state of the Internet since the time when the number of things or objects connected to the World Wide Web exceeds the population of the planet (Greengard, 2015). CBSG reinforces its findings with calculations. According to the company, the explosive growth of smartphones and tablet computers brought the number of devices connected to the Internet up to 13 billion, while the number of people living in the world has increased to 7 billion (Greengard, 2015). Thus, the number of connected devices increases the number of people. Between 2003 and 2010, the number of connected devices exceeded the world’s population, which marked the transition to the Internet of Things (Greengard, 2015).
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Currently, it is possible to identify the equipment, household objects, and virtual objects such as digital images in the same manner as the individual users on the Internet of people. In such a way, things can be integrated into a wide network of interconnections, in which they can interact with each other or with people. In the book Internet of Things: A Hands-On Approach, it is stated that “Internet of things comprises things that have unique identities and are connected to the Internet” (Bahga & Madisetti, 2014, p. 20). In fact, the things in the world of the Internet of Things are now on the same level with people. The Internet of Things is a global infrastructure for the information society providing advanced services by the physical and virtual joining of things on the basis of existing, developing, and functionally compatible information and communication technologies (McEwen & Cassimally, 2013). Whereas Cisco mentions in connection with the term the Internet of Things the explosive growth of smartphones connected to the network, the IDC makes it clear that the concept of IoT devices must be independently connected to the Internet and transmit signals without human intervention (Greengard, 2015). Due to the fact that a smartphone is managed by users, it cannot be assigned to IoT-devices. According to IDC, the Internet of Things is a wired or wireless network that connects devices that have the autonomous software controlled by intelligent systems, equipped with a high-level operating system, independently connected to the Internet, can fulfill personal or cloud applications, and analyze the collected data (Greengard, 2015). Furthermore, they have the ability to capture, analyze, transmit, and receive data from other systems (Greengard, 2015).
On the planet, there are more things than people. As estimated by Internet Business Solutions Group, which is a strategic division of Cisco, the number of Internet-connected devices will reach 50 billion by 2020 (Greengard, 2015). These things include tires, mobile devices, parking meters, supermarket shelves, thermostats, roads, cardio-monitoring device, and cars. Therefore, it reduces the scale and scope of the familiar world of the Internet and mobile communications. During the study of the concept of the Internet of everything conducted by Cisco, an economic model has developed (Greengard, 2015). It foresees the formation of the market involving the connection to networking of virtually everything (Greengard, 2015). The deployment of the IPv6 protocol is defined as a decisive condition for the realization of the Internet of Things in life (McEwen & Cassimally, 2013).
These days, the Internet of Things comprises interconnected networks, each of which has been developed to meet its specific needs. For example, in modern cars, several networks operate simultaneously. One controls the operation of the engine, the other is responsible for security systems, and the third supports communications. In office and residential buildings, there are multiple networks to control heating, ventilation, air conditioning, telephone, and safety lighting (McEwen & Cassimally, 2013). With the development of the Internet of Things, these and many other networks will be connected to each other. Apparently, this fact will gain more opportunities in the field of security, intelligence, and management. As a result, the Internet of Things will obtain even more possibilities to open new and broader perspectives to humanity.
The Role of the Internet of Things
The possibility to connect various devices via the Internet gives the possibility to develop an information infrastructure of the company to the degree of intelligent management of the main operating processes. However, the mere fact that the device is connected to the Internet does not yet carry benefits for businesses. On the contrary, without good governance and strategies, new interfaces and data streams can create chaos and expose the information resources of the enterprise to great risks. Therefore, developing the Internet of Things, it is necessary to carefully plan how equipment interacting with each other will work, and what role it will play in solving the problems. The application of the concept of the Internet of Things in the enterprises has a definite purpose, which is to provide quick access to data of the generated products during the use, insure control of the product, and remotely update the firmware code. As a consequence, IoT-systems improve the operational efficiency of the business. Due to the continuous exchange of data, there is new information that will help accelerate sales, improve service, and make product development more efficient.
When working in a competitive market, the Internet of Things will add unique characteristics to the products. A more functional product or the whole service offering will be more attractive than some competitors’ products and will help win significant market share with proper promotion and marketing. There are a number of opportunities in the concept of IoT, which can provide additional sources of income. For example, a paid service is offered along with a good. It can be either a medical professional individual consultation based on the collected telemedicine information or automatic delivery of products at home. In this perspective, the attractiveness of the Internet of Things is extremely high since the devices connected via the Internet can be complemented with the new services during their product life. Nevertheless, people should not forget that investment in nanotechnologies may be meaningless, and the introduction of the Internet of Things may be totally useless. The extra functions in those applications where they are not used and the provision of wide opportunities for the device with a narrow specialization lead to higher costs for the development with a zero economic benefit.
An example of the important role of the Internet of Things as the driving force behind change and development is the inclusion of the Internet of Things in the Five-Year Plan of China as a national strategic priority (Mahalle & Railkar, 2015). In the plan, the Internet of Things is defined as a key area of the new generation of innovation and development of China’s information technologies. These days, in many Chinese universities, students can obtain a bachelor’s degree in design and development in the field of the Internet of Things (Mahalle & Railkar, 2015). The construction of smart cities is another area, in which China plans to use the applications of the Internet of Things to enhance interconnectivity and efficiency of infrastructure and services. More than 40 municipalities in China have announced their plans to build smart cities with the use of this method (Mahalle & Railkar, 2015). Another example is the European Union. In June 2010, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the Internet of Things. The resolution included many of the related issues and planned actions, including the opinion that the elaboration of the Internet of Things and related applications will have a great influence on the daily lives of Europeans and their way of life in the future years (Mahalle & Railkar, 2015). It will lead to significant changes in the social and economic spheres of European countries.
Industrial Organizations and the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things has a significant impact on the business processes of industrial enterprises. The vast majority of industrial organizations believe that the Internet of Things is one of the most influential technology initiatives in the industry. Most representatives of the industry have already implemented IoT technology at its production enterprises are planning to do it in the near future. The Internet of Things provides operative and relevant data on the location and condition of the objects. It gives the possibility to expand the supply chains, reduces losses and risks, and helps optimize business processes and costs. Ultimately, it leads to the improvement of production operations, optimizes the use of computing resources, and improves the quality of customer service. The main technologies for the implementation of the concept of the Internet of Things industrial organizations are Wi-Fi networks, a system for tracking objects in real time, sensors of security systems, barcodes, GPS, intelligent machinery, and mobile computers. However, the biggest obstacles to the implementation of solutions of IoT in this sphere is associated with financial cost, the problem of maintenance of confidentiality and data protection, as well as the difficulties of integration (Stackowiak, Licht, Mantha, & Nagode, 2015).
These days, there is the great potential of the Internet of Things. Worldwide, there are smart cities like Masdar in Abu Dhabi that represent a complete outline of the future connection. Smart technologies can guide the development of urban infrastructure and lead to greater efficiency and environmental friendliness. It applies to the sewer and water systems as well as the design of highways and parks. I would recommend applying the Internet of Things in the companies of Abu Dhabi that are engaged in the design of buildings. The reason is that smart living will change the life of people for the better. The Internet of Things is the most important notion of the smart city. Thus, the companies in Abu Dhabi are already implementing these technologies. These days, modern buildings represent more than cement and bricks. Lighting elements in the administrative buildings are a good example of the Internet of Things in the building companies. Tiny sensors form the whole network and provide information about the events inside the building. Sensors collect data, communicate with each other to optimize energy consumption, and provide information. It is of great importance for the city, where all buildings are connected and can freely exchange information with each other (Miller, 2015).
The Internet has significantly influenced modern education, communication, business, science, government, and the entire human society. Without a doubt, it has become one of the most important inventions in the history of mankind. The Internet of Things is a new stage in the development of the Internet, which considerably expands possibilities of the collection, analysis, and distribution of data that a person can transform into information, knowledge, and wisdom. In this regard, the Internet of Things is of paramount importance to people. The Internet of Things penetrates into different applications and devices that can be used in all industries. In such a way, it connects a huge number of devices. However, it is considered that the Internet of Things has the greatest impact on industrial enterprises as it improves the quality of customer service and the production operations as well as optimizes the use of computing resources.
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