The Internet of Things (IoT) will bigger than the Internet itself. That’s the message from Sphera CEO Paul Marushka, who spoke at an Environmental Leader conference this week. What’s driving this?
The main thing is the number of devices that are IoT capable, or things such as smart phones and smart meters. And there are 5.5 million IoT connections made daily, he adds. But the information that the devices gather must be harnessed on a platform, or in the cloud. That data must then become actionable. In the case of environmental managers, for example, it could be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
It is about “analytics or big data, and the ability to mine that information,” says Marushka. “You must then be able to something different than what you do today.”
Consider smart meters, which number 1.5 billion and are used by utilities to gather customer usage information: The proper tools can manage the amount of energy consumption that, in turn, can reduce the level of regulated emissions.
Sensors are at the core of the IoT. Sensors, for example, are used to know if someone is in a room so that the lights can turn on or off. As that technology has become ubiquitous, the cost has dropped: 80% over time.
In manufacturing, IoT can also monitor stoppages, employee behaviors and safety procedures. In transportation, it can monitor shipping, processing and inventory control. The data is in real time so that companies can have relevant information to effect the changes they need.
CenterPoint Energy, for example, needs accurate greenhouse gas emissions reports. By using IoT, it has been able to get those reports in two weeks — down from two months.
“The trend is not going away,” says Marushka. “It will accelerate. The amount of data that can be collected will have significant environmental effect.”