Two developments have been taking the world of technology by storm in the last few years. One is the concept of the Internet of Things and the other is the proliferation of applications (either mobile apps or web based apps). Let us try to understand each of these a little before we can see how one is influencing the growth of the other.
The internet is a vast collection of connected webpages which can be accessed by multiple users at the same time. Similarly, the Internet of Things (IoT) envisages a world where multiple devices are connected to each other using the internet. Our life is completely dependent on different kinds of devices, starting from the smartwatch on our wrist to the smartphone in our hands. Imagine if our car’s wheels are connected with the help of the internet to the website of our car servicing center. Through IoT, it could be possible for our car to let the center know whenever the alignment or tire pressure of the tires is not correct, and help us book an appointment as well. Our smartphone could be connected to the inventory and billing software of our medical store to give us a reminder when the stock of medicines we purchase regularly is due for a refill, and simultaneously send a reminder to the store to keep stock ready. The possibilities are endless, and these are just two use cases of possible applications of IoT.
Applications, whether on the internet or on mobile devices, are all the rage just like IoT, and they help the user either get information or fulfill a need conveniently, from the laptop or smartphone. These applications are commonly referred to as apps.
Now, imagine the possibilities when you link these two concepts. The app would be downloaded and installed on your smartphone, and you could connect to other devices by using that app. Say, you are visiting a different city, and have just checked into a hotel. Instead of handing over a room key to you, they request you to access their app on your phone, and till the duration of your stay, you can not only lock and unlock your room using your smartphone, but you can do other things like place an order for room service, or ask for your room to be cleaned, or even book a cab to drop you at the airport. This is just an example of a single guest at a single hotel, but if we extend this idea further, whole cities (and their citizens) could be so connected using web apps or mobile apps along with IoT. For example, the web app could send reminders of property tax or other utility bill payments to respective consumers on their smartphone, and on the supplier side, it could provide the utility provider with details of defaulters and chronic defaulters at the very list, and going forward, could even provide analytics about defaults in terms of socio-economic slabs or pin codes of the city. The possibilities, as we said, are endless. The days ahead look full of promise.