Internet of Things (acronym Iota), literally “Internet of Things” or more commonly Internet of Things, is an expression that has been used for some years to identify the network of equipment and devices connected to the Internet, with the exception of computers.
The term Internet of Things, which for some may sound strange or even new, was coined in the midst of the technological revolution of recent decades, to be precise in 1999. It is in fact a neologism referring to the extension of the Internet to the world of concrete objects and places. It was introduced during a presentation by Kevin Ashton, co-founder and Executive Director of Auto-ID Center, a research consortium based at MIT
The innovation of technological processes is involving in an ever more complete way every behaviour linked to our daily life, starting from the simplest ones such as sleeping, cooking, playing sports, with effects on our children, our homes, education, beauty, energy, sports and many other fields. Iota objects can be sensors for fitness, air conditioning systems, radios and appliances, up to light bulbs, cameras, furniture and objects for the home and office furnishing, but also cars with automatic driving, drones, virtual reality, 3D printing. The Internet of Things can relate to virtually any electronic device equipped with software that allows it to exchange data with other objects or software also connected to the network.
In this article we will make an overview of the IoT world , but we will make it particularly interesting for a licensed real estate agent by focusing on those technologies that most involve areas related to the real estate world, especially the home and construction site . In fact, Smart Home technology is one of the most emotional spaces of innovation: the number of smart homes is constantly growing, with a speed at par if not greater than that of mobile devices and tablets.
The new frontier of Smart Homes
As mentioned, Smart Homes are now a reality, and at the same time the hundreds of companies that are working to connect our smartphones to appliances such as washing machines, microwaves, refrigerators, food processors have become solid reality: we can to ensure that, having met them personally, complex projects are underway that aim to transform technologies into monitoring and control tools.
For example, an important company that has been focusing on the Internet of things for some years is IBM, which was able to allocate the beauty of 3 billion dollars to create an internal department that is exclusively dedicated to making concrete the interconnection between household appliances, furnishing objects, means of transport, up to the walls of homes, offices and companies. This new division of IBM will work in particular on the creation of a database, which will be used to collect and analyze information from all those devices that are connected within a home. The data thus collected will then be put available to researchers and developers, who will cross the information received with other high-tech elements to give life to other projects always linked to Smart Homes.
What do we think is the main benefit of creating smarter homes? Without a doubt, safety. There have been homes for years in which, by connecting to the Wi-Fi of your home, through a special app you can connect to your mobile device the security cameras, window sensors and motion detectors, locks, alarms. Intrusion or for smoke detection. In this way, the owner can activate or deactivate the various components of his Smart Home at will and according to the need of the moment.
You may be wondering how expensive it is to equip your home with such a sophisticated and futuristic system. In fact, these aren’t cheap technologies right now, but you probably haven’t yet thought about the fact that being able to turn off all the lights even after you’ve left your home for a trip, or turn on the air conditioning before returning home. Home, switching the electricity on and off from elsewhere or keeping the heating on only in certain rooms are all reasons that can help you save time and money.
Fortunately, in order to broaden the catchment area able to take advantage of IoT technologies related to Smart Homes, some companies are also developing “do-it-yourself” options at much more accessible prices in a rather promising way. The interesting thing is that you can gradually make your home smarter in an incremental way, by connecting one device at a time and therefore spreading the expense over a longer period of time: you will be able to have complete control of everything you want to connect in your smart home system, to which you can gradually add other accessories as you wish.
The future scenarios of home automation
Many, especially those who frequent construction sites and shopping centres, will be more familiar with the word ” home automation” rather than the Internet of things. Home automation is the interdisciplinary science that deals with the study of technologies designed to improve the quality of life in homes and in any case in man-made environments, which arises from the union of the words domus (“home” in Latin) and robotics. The technologies and professionalism involved in the field of home automation are the most disparate , among these we find building engineering, architecture up to energy engineering, automation, electrical engineering and electronics, telecommunications, information technology and design.
We can safely use both “home automation” and “Internet of things” to indicate all those technologies that continuously contribute to improving the quality of our lives, improving our safety, our children and our animals inside our homes, making us feel more protected and protected; but also to simplify the design, maintenance and use of technologies, to reduce management costs, and to reconvert old environments and old systems.
Imagine waking up in the morning with the music that you would like to listen to according to your mood, which is activated taking into account the current traffic situations, at the exact moment that allows you to go to your real estate agency at the time of your first appointment with a customer.
Imagine that in your agency the heaters turn on just when you get into your car to go to work, making you find the warm office at your entrance, and at that moment the burglar alarm is deactivated and the shutters open automatically. In this case we could undoubtedly speak of a “smart real estate agency”, who will be the first to have one?
The construction site is smart thanks to the Internet of things
We would now like to focus on the proposal of a Texan startup, Primal Sensors. It all starts with a figure regarding construction sites in the United States: over 750 billion dollars of construction materials and supplies are lost each year in the United States, stolen or simply lost within construction sites. The response from the US Company was to create a platform that would allow you to control all operations under construction, in order to provide the exact location of all material assets in a given job site in real-time.
The advantages? First of all, the complete elimination of the problem of loss or misplacement of building resources, but also the reduction of the time needed to locate material and equipment within construction sites, especially the largest and most complex ones, where resources can also be placed by the dozens or hundreds of meters between them.
Let’s see now how Primal Sensors has succeeded in this undertaking. The platform is based on the use of a system based on three hotspots, which are positioned on a construction site together with small sensors that insist on the material used or to be used, both manual and electric tools, vehicles and tractors. The function of the hotspots is none other than that of monitoring the material through sensors, reporting the location data to special software, which can be controlled in real-time by the site managers. It is the company that provides everything necessary for the use of this modern technology, from sensors, to lights, to software, and once the construction site is closed, it is possible move the tracking system from one job site to another.
Another advantage deriving from the introduction of Primal Sensors on site is that it can also be used to monitor the progress of the work of all the contractors and subcontractors working in the different areas of the project. A kind of “Big Brother” that inevitably leads to greater organization and profitability of the construction sites in which this technology linked to the Internet of things is used.
The numbers of the Internet of Things
We told you about I’m, but other giants such as B-Scada, C3 IoT, ThingWorx, IoT-Ticket.com, Raco Wireless, nPhase, Carriots, Evrythng, but also Microsoft, are riding the wave of the Internet of things. Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Apple, Samsung, Apio and Exosite.
These corporate superpowers are developing frameworks for the Internet of Things as the numbers speak for themselves. Last year alone, the global economic dimension of the IoT market was valued at $ 157 billion , but according to the Research and Markets agency in 2021 the price will rise to $ 661 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of $ 33 billion. , 3 per cent.
Let’s see the situation in Italy. According to research conducted by Accenture, ” Igniting Growth in Consumer Technology “, 20% of Italians think of buying or have already purchased a wearable device for fitness (compared to 10% of the European Union) and 17% would like a system home security connected to the network (the European average stops at only 8%).
This is why Amazon, Cisco, General Electric, Oracle, Symantec and other world-class software companies are also recently bringing large capital into the new Internet of Things business.
As often happens when we talk about new technologies, in Italy we limit ourselves to writing and talking about the innovations that are already appearing and imposing in the large distributions of the main world economic powers, such as the United States, Japan, Great Britain and emerging countries of south-east Asia.
But in this case, we can only rejoice at the developments that are taking place with the advent of the Internet of things, as globalization has meant that the technologies used in Smart Homes and new generation construction sites are also within the reach of realities. Smaller and on the fringes of large global businesses.
So all that remains is to keep up with the times and start equipping yourself with all those technologies that can lead to a marked improvement in your life, both at work and at home, allowing you to make a definitive leap in quality compared to your real estate competitors and to your… neighbours!