Internet of Things

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UPSC is known to ask questions on those technologies which can have impact on daily life of Human Beings. They generally ask application based questions. Clearly mentioned in Mains Paper 3 syllabus: “developments and their applications and effects in everyday life”

What is the meaning of IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

A thing, in the Internet of Things, can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low — or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and provided with the ability to transfer data over a network.

IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), microservices and the internet. The convergence has helped tear down the silo walls between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), allowing unstructured machine-generated data to be analyzed for insights that will drive improvements.

Examples of Impact of IoT on day to day life:

Car-Calendar Connection: Say for example you are on your way to a meeting; your car could have access to your calendar and already know the best route to take. If the traffic is heavy your car might send a text to the other party notifying them that you will be late.

Alarm Clock-Coffee Maker Connection: What if your alarm clock wakes up you at 6 a.m. and then notifies your coffee maker to start brewing coffee for you?

IoT and Google’s Driverless Car: The car has multiple devices which track the movement of objects, captures the images surrounding it and processes the information. It has devices on board that can change the speed and direction of movement depending on the feedback it gets from the external environment. The data is then backed-up on a cloud from which it can receive instructions and behave accordingly, right from throttle accelerator to applying brakes.

Examples of Impact of of IoT on Governance:

On a broader scale, the IoT can be applied to things like transportation networks: “smart cities” which can help us reduce waste and improve efficiency for things such as energy use; this helping us understand and improve how we work and live.

Challenges thrown up by advent of IoT

Data Management: Connected devices are going to produce massive amount of data. Companies need to figure out a way to store, track, analyze and make sense of the vast amounts of data that will be generated.

Privacy & Security: With billions of devices being connected together, what can people do to make sure that their information stays secure? Will someone be able to hack into your toaster and thereby get access to your entire network? The IoT also opens up companies all over the world to more security threats. Then we have the issue of privacy and data sharing.

Government of India and IoT

  1. The Union government is coming up with a regulatory framework for Internet-of-Things (IoT) along with policies to promote the sector.
  2. Department of Telecom has come out with a machine-to-machine (M2M) roadmap, with an aim to put regulators, industry agencies that develop standards, users and manufacturers on the same page.
  3. The Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY), in its draft policy, targets to create an IoT industry in India of $15 billion by 2020.
  4. Currently, work is going on in the area of numbering schemes for IoT and KYC norms for SIM-embedded M2M devices.
  5. Telecom Standards Society of India too is working on India-relevant standards with respect to the sector.

Indian Industry & IoT

  1. IoT and Healthcare Sector: Leading hospitals are discussing how to move to preventative therapy from curative therapy by collecting more data about the condition of the patient. This is clearly a sector where the needle has moved.
  2. IoT and other Sectors: The other two sectors where there has been quite a lot of movement are in big production zones — oil rigs, generators and industrial plants — and in the telecommunications world. Both have a lot of embedded devices that are collecting the data on temperature, signal strength, pressure, pH, voltage — all the technical parameters. IoT is being used to detect and predict breakdowns. This is immensely beneficial, especially for corporates, particularly those who have interests in fixed assets/machines.
  3. Media: Today, internet advertisers are able to combine data from various seemingly insignificant activities to create potentially significant profiles. This correlated data allows advertisers to send users targeted advertising as they search the internet for that “must-have” new gadget or the latest song. In fact, targeted web-based ads based on correlated user profiles derived from statistical models are just the first generation of anticipatory services. Data mining will only become more accurate over time at determining our desires and needs.
  4. Personal Healthcare: Many people today wear sensors when they work out or move through their daily lives to track their heart rate, miles traveled, or steps taken. These activity monitor sensors are connected wirelessly to smart phones and to the internet to enable users to track metrics over time.

What can be done to minimize the adverse impact on labour due to IoT?

We must note that this is not the first time that disruptive technology is going to come into play. It has happened before, and inevitably it will happen again. It is important to make strategies that will help our labour force to adapt to such technologies and take steps that will help mitigate the worst effects of these technologies.

For adaption, Skill India Mission can be geared to either impart higher levels of skills required to operate with IoT; furthermore, SIM can be used to impart existing workforce a diverse set of skills so that their employ-ability is not impacted beyond repair.

There may be some lay-offs temporarily. We need some new solutions to take care of those who will be laid off for no fault of theirs. Companies deploying IoT and consequently reducing workforce in a particular sector, must be encouraged to absorb the workers in another sector.


Q.) What do you understand by ‘internet of things’ (IoT)? How ill digitization help IoT and how will both help India in turn? Examine

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