The world doesn’t stop.

More and more responsibilities, that we have to face each day are now determined by new, modern or even futuristic solutions.

Internet of things is supposed to revolutionize shopping, which is why for the last couple of seasons it has been under a close review. How will it help us? Will it really take away our burden of filling the fridge with food? Will it ensure that we never run out of detergents, beauty products or dog food? How will it all look like? Are online shops ready? Will our homes have to change in order to even consider such amenities?

What is the Internet of things? – everything you need to know.

Kevin Ashton, British businessman and founder of startups, was the first person to use that phrase. In 1999, just before the new millennium, during one of his presentations Kevin Ashton talks about ‘a system of interrelated devices’.

Yet, the concept itself was created couple of decades before. The idea of connecting devices was already there in the 70’s. Then, in the 80’s the very first machine based on the concept of IoT came to life, at the Carnegie Mellon University. A soda machine was connected to network which enabled the programmers to report its contents.

Today, the concept of IoT (Internet of Things) refers to physical devices, that can connect to the Internet and other devices via wireless networks. This means that devices such as smartphones, cameras, dishwashers, vehicles, refrigerators, as well as industrial machines and even innovative wardrobes with our clothes can fall under this definition.

The main idea behind the Internet of Things, is to introduce smart spaces into our reality, connecting all the smart products, buildings, health systems, energy systems and even entire cities.

What about the numbers? The Internet of things is a booming business

Each year, there are more and more new devices which are connected to the Internet. In 2013, there were “only” 3 billion. Two years later, the number has increased to 5 billion, then in 2018, we reached the number of 22 billion smart devices connected to the Internet. The exponential development of this market segment leads to its rapid growth. The data would seem to suggest, that in 2025, there will be 38 billion of such appliances, and in 2030, around 50 billion. What does it mean? All of those appliances, while connected to the Internet, will be able to not only communicate with each other, but also to collect and share data. Afterward, the data will be analyzed with the use of AI- artificial intelligence.

Based on this data from the global market, we can clearly see, how rapidly the economy is changing. Internet of things will change our work environment and our everyday lives.

Smart refrigerators going shopping

How the Internet of things will look like in real life? How will it impact our reality? In fact, it is difficult to point out a sector of economy that would not be involved with the Internet of things. We mentioned here before, how IoT will influence our work environment and our daily tasks. We know that, trucks connected to the Internet can drive for hundreds of kilometers, with no one on board. There are refrigerators, which are already available on the market, that can order different kinds of missing products. Using your smartphone, you can now control your sound system, oven or a coffee maker, hundreds of kilometers away from home. Smart systems can help us manage our whole house. With one click, we can check whether all the windows and doors in our house are closed shut, or whether we turned off the light in our bathroom. If we forget to do any of those things we can change that, using one app in our smartphone.

The main goal of IoT is automation of the processes, even those complex ones, where a role of a human seems to be inevitable. IoT enables remote control of various devices that will help improving different spheres of life, support space management and data, which is gathered at an amazing rate.

What sectors will the Internet of Things cover?

The potential of the Internet of Things is basically unlimited and it can successfully function in every economic sector. It will be great for any company that deals with heating or power engineering. Any OSH branch of industry that uses smart helmets to send reports of every accident or any unusual activity of an employee working, in a high risk environment. Internet of Things will be also beneficial for transport sector.

IoT will also do a good job when it comes to improving the functioning of urban infrastructure. There will be smart roads that will react in case of a heavy traffic. Another sector, where IoT will make a big difference, is health care. Patient monitoring systems will react much faster for any changes in health. They will track blood pressure or even do some tests which will allow for immediate reaction.

Internet of Things in real life

IoT is already here. It is used in many different sectors and it is not only used by gamers. The possibilities of the Internet of Things are used by both, globally recognizable brands and those less known brands, that noticed the potential of IoT.

#1 Amazon Dash

Amazon launched a small sized button on the market which is designed to order one, specific product. This button can be glued to any place where we store our dishwasher tablets, coffee capsules or washing powder. When we notice that the product is almost gone, the whole process of ordering a new one comes down to pressing one button. There is also digital version for the Amazon app. The digital version allows you to add unlimited number of buttons.

#2 Mirrors – dressing rooms

Clothing stores are already using mirrors that enable the customers to try on clothes without setting foot into a changing room. Smart mirrors are in a way a camera, which is connected to AR system (Augmented Reality). The camera records people standing in front of the mirror in 360 degrees. Then, it enables you to “try on” different outfits from clothes offered by the store. You can also play with the mirror by changing your hair color or changing your weight. Such solution was used in Poland by Timberland brand. The mirror will also inform you about materials used to produce a blouse or trousers, and recommend you other products.

#3 Robots in the warehouse

Amazon again. The world’s giant introduced IoT to their warehouses, where robots work, moving at a speed of 8km/h, and lifting 300 kg packages. Those machines can communicate with each other, so there is no risk of collision. One of the most important factor of the robot work is automation of the processes of production. What does it mean? It means that data gathered from an online store (number of orders and what is ordered), determines the production. Based on the incoming orders, the system makes an optimal number of products. It can influence a better warehouse management.

#4 Printer that will never run out of ink

This solution is already available on the Polish market. Selected HP printers can register for a special program which provides smart printers with ink. When the ink runs out, the printer will send an appropriate message to HP, ordering a new ink. The system would have to connect to our account to pay for the order. In other words, we don’t have to do anything to order the ink.

#5 Wines that will interest you

BASF created an interesting system of wine recommendation. A customer that visits the store can choose what they like with the use of tablet, whether you prefer sweet or dry wines, whether to serve it with fish or other meat, whether you prefer fruity or spicy aromas. After choosing the price range, the wines that meet the client’s expectations will be highlighted.

Internet of things, risks and chances

The issue raised as to whether the Internet of things is a chance or a threat, is not clearly resolved. It is certain that IoT will lead to significant social changes in the near future. The use of IoT will improve time management, production costs will be reduced, as will energy consumption. The use of time and resources will also significantly change and will be optimized. We can already assume that systems based on the Internet of things will be able to make decisions, that today can be only made by a human.

In the era of global warming, and the whole spectrum of threats associated with it, the Internet of things seems to be a great ally. However, it is hard not to notice the “dark side”. Automation will cause that many activities that can be done by a human, can be also done by the system. Professions such as a cashier or a call center employee, as well as services such as monitoring, controlling or logistics will be 100% supported by the system. Still, let’s not forget that with the development of the civilization, some professions died out, but new ones appeared in their place. So, on the one hand, IoT can raise negative emotions, but on the other it will introduce changes that can be a new opportunity.

How will it look for products?

Technologically, it is a complex process, but it is based on simple principles. Depending on device, in which the idea of Internet of things is used, it will work on similar principles. It means that, if the bathroom detergent in the cabinet runs out, the cabinet will “order” the missing product, for instance, in an online store with which, it is connected to. It will work no differently for any other devices in our homes. The best example, might be a fridge that will not let you run out basic food products, and as soon as milk, butter or favorite vanilla cream cheese runs out, it will send specific order to the e-shop.

Internet of things is a solution that will significantly influence our everyday lives. It will reduce the time we spend on daily chores, we will be able to manage it better and spend it on more important things.

E-commerce and the Internet of things. How to prepare your e-shop?

Internet of things is not one thing, it is not always the same solution, which is why it is difficult to specify one, good solution to prepare e-shop for IoT. Solutions based on IoT are introduced to global brands depending on the specifics of the store, on what it offers, and on how it communicates with customers etc. This means that companies, depending on the sector, can equip their e-stores with virtual fitting rooms, smart wine shelves, jackets with chips, what is more, installing buttons for ordering specific products at users’ homes(Like Amazon Dash). These are only just a few ways to use IoT. E-shops are facing a big revolution if they want to keep up with trends. In addition, the Internet of things offers a unique opportunity to know your customers’ tastes. The Internet of things will give almost unlimited flexibility to adapt to the expectations of your customers. Such advanced analytics will allow you to implement smaller production series that will be basically personalized for a specific group of customers.

Data format. What is a product file?

A product file is a fairly raw looking digital document with .xml or .csv extension. It is a database of products that are offered in a store. You can also come across different names of a product file such as data feed, product feed or feed xml. However, it all comes to down to the same file which contains complete information about product, service or even the solution. The data is saved in such a way that it can be connected with all the platforms, where the store can present its offer. All of these, price comparison sites, any marketplace, affiliate networks and remarketing, display, mailing campaigns will require to use the product feed.

The product file contains not only basic information about the product (such as name, price, photo, description, capacity etc.), but also all other features that more precisely define the product (color, material, composition, size). Effective managing of a product database, in a store that offers hundreds of products, will not be possible without a product file. Why? Data feed allows one file to provide all the data for all the products, or in terms of one category or other companies that we intend to work with (such as price comparison sites or Google). We can assume that will have the same meaning for IoT. Based on the product feed smart devices will be able to identify one product or another that we are running out of and must be ordered.

The Internet of thing is something that already works. Although it is just a beginning, there is nothing much left to separate us from the moment when IoT will lead the way in our everyday life. For now, only the greatest players use its advantages, but over time it will go into wider group of fans of IoT solutions. E- commerce will change completely, but the Internet of things will play a huge part in the entire economy. The data that will be collected and the analyses carried out will significantly impact e.g. energy consumption, the labor market will change, and our homes will also function differently. We can assume that in the upcoming years we are facing a big metamorphosis.