Think outside the home for IoT

Too often, I see articles written by Internet of Things “insiders” that proceed to describe the IoT as simply a system for home automation. Their view of the IoT is limited to describing how a smartphone can be tied to various devices around the house to monitor the home environment and “automate” control. Garage door openers, lights, door locks, and thermostats are typically discussed and promoted as the things that are (by their definition) the Internet of Things.

Some of these same industry insiders will then follow up with articles claiming that the Internet of Things is dead because the adaption rate for these types of home automation devices is relatively slow and that, therefore, the IoT is just a bunch of hype.

Well of course this is a very short sighted (and incorrect) point of view. And it also portrays the IoT as a technology that is “not quite right” for primetime, which really couldn’t be further from the truth.

Over the past few years, we have developed and deployed IoT solutions in many disparate markets and industries. These are not products and services that you will see at the Consumer Electronics Show as they don’t deal with home automation — these products and services were developed to serve business and industry needs.

Some examples:

  • Monitoring and control of commercial irrigation systems
  • Monitoring large electric motors for excessive vibration — a precursor to motor failure
  • Monitoring commercial refrigeration systems for maintaining temperature and reporting failures
  • Monitoring cattle feeders for feed content
  • Monitoring electric meters in commercial buildings to collect energy usage data
  • Monitoring soil temperature, moisture levels, and ambient light levels in agronomy applications
  • Monitoring ground temperature levels to determine frost levels in construction applications
  • Monitoring / controlling commercial LED lighting systems

The organizations that have deployed these IoT solutions have seen their market share increase, profits increase and/or costs decrease. They typically lead in their market segment because they have adapted state-of-the-art technology that has delivered tangible results that benefit both their businesses and their customers.

While the home automation market is interesting, it does not define the IoT. I would encourage the industry insiders that believe the “IoT = Home Automation” to rethink their perspective and explore the deep and broad markets served by developers that work in the real Internet of Things.

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