The Internet of Things is not slowing down.

By Quintus Potgieter

The Internet of Things is not slowing down. Those who are unfamiliar with the term, should consider getting well acquainted with the buzzword, because it is changing the future every day. The Internet of Things (IoT) will see everyday objects connected to cloud-based solutions, with the ability to interact with other devices in an interconnected network. It also connects industrial operations to cloud-based solutions so engineers and workers can work faster and more efficiently. It’s called the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).  Key engineering industries will come into contact with the Internet of Things and its benefits. In this article, we will underline some of the most recent development in the industry.

The research group, Gartner, tells us that 6.4 billion devices will soon be connected to the Internet of Things in 2016. By 2020, they estimate that the world will see 20.8 billion connected devices. Investment into the Internet of Things is growing at a steady rate. The White House, in the United States, said this month, that $400 million would be invested into IoT technologies. The money will be handled by the National Science Foundation. Along with that, telecommunication engineering companies have dedicated time and funding to the Advanced Wireless Research Initiative that will be in charge of fully developing the 5G wireless networking that is necessary to facilitate the Internet of Things. A separate report compiled by Vodafone, has indicated that the Internet of Things global market share will grow to $3 trillion by 2020.

The National Science Foundation recently received funding for a project that will see Chicago become a smart city with what they’re calling the ‘Array of Things’ (AOT). The project will see IoT-connected stations connected all over the city which will provide free-of-charge data pertaining to the city’s environment such as air contamination, urban flooding, climate information, how much traffic is on one street and a whole bunch of future plans. Researchers and engineers will then be able to analyze the data and use it to their advantage when compiling journals or designing around the city.

Recently, IIoT-connected Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) have been introduced to the industrial market. Making industrial data and analytics more accessible than ever before. Implementing the Industrial Internet of Things has many advantages which would see businesses automating processes that were done at a slow, costly rate in the past.

The one big problem companies are facing in light of the expansion of IIoT is the issue of industrial control systems being cyber-targets for hackers. IIoT allows remote access through industrial control systems and SCADA systems, which has taken down entire power grids, like on the 23rd of December 2015, when a Ukraine substation was taken offline by hackers. However, Honeywell says they’re IIoT-connected PLCs have cybersecurity protocols built into the software, to avoid costly hacking incidents.

Honeywell also manufactures civil and military avionics. The avionics industry is also seeing development with the Internet of Things. A survey conducted by SITA revealed that 86% of airlines believe that IoT will lead to “significant benefits” to their operations and their customer service. According to Aviation Week, an aerospace and transport company named Bombardier, have equipped one of their jetliners’ engines with 5,000 sensors that generate 10 gigabytes of data per second. The jetliner is another example of how the Internet of Things will be revolutionizing engineering industries.

Every single day more and more is done to further Internet of Things infrastructure in every single industry, allowing instant data analysis. South Korea and the Netherlands - with the assistance of top engineers - have already set up commercially available Internet of Things networks. The networks will assist with electricity metering and management, water metering, parking space tracking, bicycle tracking, infrastructure management and missing child tracking.

The Internet of Things is quickly becoming the new normal thanks to engineering professionals.