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From Smarter Things to Smarter Cities: Living Smarter with the Internet of Things

17 April 2019 - 12:00am

From Smarter Things to Smarter Cities: Living Smarter with the Internet of Things


By 2025, there will be more than 21 billion “things” across the globe and more businesses are expected to incorporate elements of internet of things (IoT) according to Symantec. The internet landscape at present boasts not just of computers but also of “smart” devices which we use every day.


But what is the Internet of Things (Iot)? At first encounter it might seem like a technological-existential question, and we might laugh while knowing that many devices are not interconnected.


TechTarget defines IoT as a “system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction”.


In a general sense, the IoT is a network that allows devices to connect, interact, and exchange data. It is simply an umbrella term for all that connects to the internet. How did it start?



The Origins of IoT


IoT was first mentioned in a presentation made by Kevin Ashton, co-founder of the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for Procter and Gamble (P&G) in 1999. Ashton called his presentation the “internet of things” to incorporate the popular trend of the year – the internet.


By the 1970s, the idea of connecting devices through the internet has been popularized and guised under the terms embedded internet and pervasive computing. The rise of machine-to-machine (M2M) communication followed suit where connections were without human interaction.


Stepping up, IoT evolved into a network of billions of devices that connect not only technical parts and systems but also people and ecosystems. Since then, M2M has been the foundation that enables IoT.


The IoT was first conceptualized in 1999 but only came on its own on by mid-2010. At present, IoT has applications which cater to the needs of consumers, enterprises, manufacturers, and different industries, gradually forming an ecosystem which is being used by different municipalities and cities in getting global and smarter.



Is IoT really ‘in’?


IoT gives a myriad of benefits especially to 21st century businesses, industries, and markets. It answers demands of cities and municipalities around the globe and generally makes life easier. When used well and responsibly, this technology can easily become the holy grail of organizations.


Atlantic Business Technologies has provided three reasons why IoT is beneficial not just to businesses and large industries but also to individuals.


  1. Safety, comfort, efficiency

    One main benefit of IoT is being able to maximize the comfort and productivity of spaces. Industries and businesses could easily monitor their business processes with less complexity and arrive at real time reports, all without compromising the security of both the customers and of the company. All of these boost employee productivities, which cascades to an overall improvement of customer experiences.

  2. Better decision making

    Decisions are often made with much time spent on thinking about them. With IoT, however, calculations and predictions could be made based on algorithms and trends from empirical data that could be created and derived from IoTs. This would allow the integration and adaptation of good business models that would seem really good and fit for an organization!

  3. Revenue generation

    With better decisions, more efficient processes and systems, as well as bright customer reviews, the future of an organization in profit-making is bright. At the onset of IoT use, expenses will be notably reduced and both time and money is saved. New business functions could be introduced, creating a definite path for more opportunities.


    Knowledge on data could be produced from IoTs, thus making it a valuable system for society at present and in the next decade.



The Application of IoT Applications


The functions and application of IoT devices are spreading from national improvements in enterprises to the creation of smart cities. With rising demands, cities and municipalities around the globe are starting to enhance their services using IoT.


The application of IoTs in cities not only affect businesses and industries but also personal lives. Recorded improvements in smart cities include changes in water supply, solutions to traffic congestion problems in public transportation, efficiency in energy use, and an overall increase in public safety.


While the adoption of IoTs by smaller industries and developing countries are still in its infancy, there are many benefits to be reaped in its emergence. Organizations tend to have reservations on implementing the technology in a wider, more operational scale especially in terms of effectivity and security.


Many businesses which implemented IoT technology, on the other hand, are already reaping benefits including increases in their returns of investment. Take a look at this figure which specifies some IoT applications.



From Smarter Things to Smarter Cities: Living Smarter with the Internet of Things


Source: TechTarget



Starting Anew with IoTs


Investing in IoTs is a matter of “when?” and not of “ifs”. Creating outputs successfully and delivering them on time is a very good start. Gartner has outlined five key steps in initiating IoT use based on real life experiences of early adopters.


  1. Envisioning

    The newness of the technology means many have little to no experience with it. In crafting IoT systems, one must first envision what it is and what it can and should do for the organization. Some considerations include the algorithms to be used as well as the experiences of those who have already adopted IoTs.

  2. Preparing

    Creating an IoT program would require human capital and changes in organizational processes. One can hire an IoT architect for this, who will bring together plans not only related to the technicalities but also to strategies and governance.

  3. Prototyping

    Gartner identifies this stage as crucial, as the intricacy of IoT is a barrier to efficiency. Prototyping allows you to learn more about the process and details of its operation. Prototyping, then, is for learning more and eventually being your own architect!

  4. Architecting

    IoT architects are expected to integrate devices, data, and processes that would allow an end-to-end system to add business value and turn an IoT project into a transformative business solution.

  5. Implementing

    Organizations who adopt IoT solutions will reap its benefits which include but are not limited to first hand experience with IoT – building, maintaining, evolving, and learning how to use such solutions for their organizations.


Adopting new technology and incorporating it to your existing business process might be a tad too risky, but several key institutions have predicted IoT’s success.


Thus, in going around IoT, it would be best to think of what Gartner analyst Paul DeBeasi said in an interview with TechTarget, “Learn the business language, learn what’s happening in the business; learn how to communicate”.






Atlantic Business Technologies. (2018, October 3). 3 threats and 3 benefits of the Internet of Things. Retrieved February 4, 2019, from


Laskowski, N. (n.d.). Delving into an enterprise IoT initiative? Read this first. Retrieved from


Symanovich, S. (n.d.). The Future of IoT: 10 predictions about the Internet of Things. Retrieved from


TechTarget. (n.d.). What is internet of things (IoT)?. Retrieved February 4, 2019, from


Van der Meulen, R. (2016). How to deliver a successful IoT initiative. Retrieved from