The Internet of Things
By Bryan Harris, PE, RCDD
IoT is the fastest growing technology trend in the connected technologies and smart building sector. IoT will have a $520 billion market value by 2021 and will connect over 50 billion devices by 2023. So, what is IoT?
IoT, or the Internet of Things, is the term used for devices that talk directly to each other using internet technology. In the manufacturing world, it is also known as IIoT, or the Industrial Internet of Things. For the architecture/engineering/construction industry, the most prominent application of IoT is in smart buildings.
There are many opinions about what a smart building looks like and what functions are important. The basic difference between traditional technology and smart technology is that smart technology involves the creation, collection, transmission, and analysis of data collected from physical devices. This data is then used to control those same, or other, physical devices. In overly simplistic terms, it is things talking to things without human intervention.
Other applications include medical (or healthcare) IoT and lighting IoT. Medical IoT offers new opportunities to improve patient care and to manage the complexities of the healthcare business. Lighting IoT, or smart lighting, can be implemented with wireless switching and information gathering fixtures that can collect and relay information such as room occupancy, air quality, and temperature.
The application implications are mindboggling. We’ve already seen examples of applications such as people sensors in buildings that can not only turn lights on and off, but can also adjust HVAC settings as work areas are occupied or unoccupied, and adjust for the number of people in an area and the weather forecast for the day. This is just one simple example of what the IoT can provide.
The infrastructure implications are also mindboggling. For every device that can sense, analyze, or control, we must provide a power source and data connection. Providing that infrastructure in a new building is a challenge. For a retrofit, it could become cost prohibitive. PoE, or power over Ethernet (See our previous newsletter.) becomes an attractive option for IoT implementations.
IoT is coming. If you are constructing a new building, or considering remodeling an existing facility, planning for IoT is essential. The design of an adequate infrastructure to support IoT today will provide significant savings for IoT implementations in the future.
For further information, contact Bryan Harris at 330-526-2716 or firstname.lastname@example.org.