The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the system of billions of Internet-connected devices and entities capable of collecting and transferring data over a network without human intervention. The IoT includes computing devices as well as any machine or object that contains sensors enabling it to connect to the Internet and transfer information. The IoT is the underlying technology on which smart devices and processes are built.
What is IoT remote monitoring?
IoT remote monitoring is the practice of employing IoT devices to monitor various physical processes or environmental conditions. The ability to access IoT devices and track their activity from a centralized location is driving the adoption of IoT solutions across many industrial sectors and areas of society.
The chart below, by IoT Analytics, illustrates the real and projected growth of IoT active devices from 2010 through 2025. As you can see, the number of IoT-connected devices has surpassed that of those not capable of IoT functionality. This scenario is expected to continue with IoT devices outnumbering non-IoT devices by three times in 2025.
The growth of the IoT will result in the introduction of new products in areas as diverse as smart cars, intelligent industrial automation equipment, and smart, wearable medical devices.
The importance of IoT remote access
IoT remote management solutions are being implemented in a wide variety of business, industrial, and municipal settings. These applications and processes are transforming society and have an impact on the way we work and go about our daily lives.
Following are a few examples of how remote IoT platforms are being used today. In most cases, they include an IoT remote monitoring system that acts as the central nervous system for a set of distributed and connected devices.
Examples of IoT remote monitoring
Smart buildings – Sensors can be used to monitor and control many aspects of a building’s operation by implementing remote IoT device management. Statistics on energy consumption and water usage can be collected and appropriate action can be taken when necessary to optimize resource utilization. The information gathered through IoT remote access can help minimize infrastructure failures and improve efficiency.
Smart factories – Intelligent assembly lines and industrial automation are changing the face of the factory floor and the way products are manufactured. IoT remote control enables a centralized team of specialists to keep the intelligent devices of a production line operating optimally.
Smart business – The world of eCommerce has transformed the way businesses operate and deliver goods to their customers. IoT devices are used heavily in the supply chain to track shipments and identify issues so they can be addressed before the business is impacted. The ability to remotely access IoT devices can also help retailers uncover trends that allow them to refine their offerings.
Smart cars – Automobiles that can assist drivers or operate autonomously are becoming possible through the use of IoT remote monitoring technology. As the technology continues to mature, we will see more driverless vehicles for personal and commercial use.
Smart cities – Remote IoT device management is an essential component of smart city implementations. It is critical to provide real-time access to the sensors and monitors controlling aspects of municipal life such as traffic or power distribution. The potential for misuse of smart city technology highlights the need for a secure IoT that cannot be compromised by malicious actors.
IoT remote management software is required in each example to enable communication between the devices and applications that control their activities. Smart sensors and monitors can perform certain activities without supervision but can be used more effectively when they can be accessed and controlled remotely.
The benefits of remote access to IoT devices
Obtaining the maximum value from IoT devices requires the ability to access and control them remotely. There are specific benefits of IoT remote access that make it a fundamental part of many implementations.
Improving operational efficiency – One of the most attractive aspects of remote access to IoT devices is improved efficiency. This characteristic of IoT remote management often eliminates the need for in-person visits to address faulty equipment or perform software upgrades. Large and physically dispersed IoT implementations can be monitored and controlled by small centralized teams rather than multiple localized technicians.
Real-time monitoring – An IoT remote monitoring system can be instrumental in optimizing smart building and industrial automation implementations. Issues can be averted before they become problems using the predictive maintenance made possible by the real-time monitoring of IoT devices. Service disruptions can be minimized to improve customer satisfaction across many types of industries and businesses.
Testing equipment in the field – Many IoT implementations such as power generation plants involve thousands of devices installed over a wide geographic area. These devices require regular firmware updates and testing to ensure their efficiency. Companies can save substantial time and money by eliminating physical visits to the devices and controlling them via an IoT remote access system.
An important factor in achieving these benefits is the implementation of secure IoT solutions. Lax security will reduce the advantages of IoT systems and potentially make them dangerous to the public. Hackers gaining control of municipal systems such as water or power distribution could wreak havoc on the victimized city.
Expectations for the future growth of IoT solutions
The future looks promising for companies providing the infrastructure necessary for IoT implementations. The survey by IDC shows that in 2020, $749 billion U.S. are estimated to have been spent on IoT technology around the world. The effects of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic led to less investment than originally anticipated, but there was still substantial growth from the previous year. It is expected that spending will top $1.1 trillion in 2023.
Growth in the deployment of IoT technology is a global phenomenon that is currently led by investment in the Asia-Pacific region, as shown in the below research by Harbor Research and Statista estimates. The next major investors are North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa respectively. Industrial use of IoT solutions is a leading investment driver as companies look to streamline resources with industrial automation. As more companies adopt IoT systems tailored to their industries, they will require IoT remote management software.
The ability to develop truly secure IoT solutions will be a major factor determining the technology’s growth in the coming years. While the potential benefits of IoT to business, industry, and society cannot be overstated, its misuse can be disruptive, dangerous, and destructive. Maintaining the security of IoT networks and access to connected devices should be one of the first considerations when implementing an IoT system.
As the use of IoT devices continues to grow, IoT remote monitoring systems will need to be implemented across a wide spectrum of businesses and industries. As we have mentioned, secure IoT systems must be developed and deployed to achieve the full benefits the technology offers. Secure IoT remote access is necessary for all but the most trivial implementations. Companies and municipalities will be reluctant to deploy systems that can be compromised by malicious actors.
Some of the prime areas for investment in IoT technology are industrial automation, smart devices in all their diversity, and supply chain management. The global economy depends on an enormous amount of moving parts working together and remote IoT device management can help tame its complexity. Ultimately, the technology behind IoT systems promises a more efficient and livable world for everyone. The ability to remotely access IoT devices will help make that happen.