Applications of Internet of Things (IoT) in Engineering

July 28, 2020

The network of physical objects that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet together constitutes the Internet of Things (IoT). These physical objects range from ordinary household items to industrial tools. According to an analysis, more than 7 billion connected IoT devices at present. It is expected that it will grow to 10 billion by the end of 2020 and possibly 22 billion by 2025.

Applications of Internet of Things (IoT)

Advantages of IoT:

The IoT has emerged as one of the new technology where integrating the devices using the internet in an active manner holds the key. The various advantages of the IoT are:

  • Time-saving: The probability of making the right decision lies with the data. The more the information, the easier it is to make the right decision. Knowing what to bring from the confectionery shop without checking at your own, not only saves times, also brings ease to life.
  • Ease of life: The computers through the embedded sensors on different products can gather the information on the expiration date of products before one consumes. Hence it improves the quality of life.
  • Cost-effective: Money is the new god. This technology could replace the manpower who are in charge of monitoring and maintaining supplies.
  • Improved Device Communication: IoT is a web of physical devices connected to each other and interacting. Hence improves device-to-device communication.
  • Gathering Useful Data: The more the information we are available with, the better and informed choices one can make about the policymaking, governing issues, and challenges, etc.
  • Automation: The digital control with wireless support made control and automation of large data possible. The machines can lead a faster and timely output and reduced the machine-man interaction disorganized gap.

The Internet of Things potential has a lot to offer for making life and technology easier than ever. Without any second thought, such positive technology is the one that most people can look forward to.

Application of IoT in Mechanical Engineering:

  • Ease of governing the machines: The motors, valves, pumps, and other traditional components are fastly employing the operating through software. These software-driven controls through IoT could be controlled even from far distances and ensuring the proper operation of the machine.
  • Increased communication: IoT enhances the ability of the manufacturer to communicate with the product and production line. IoT enabled commercial PLM systems can significantly bring value to the work done by the mechanical engineers, especially with regard to product quality and reliability design activity. The utilization of IoT in product development contains a huge potential to further enhance product quality and reliability.
  • Strengthening ethics: Further, the IoT-enabled commercial PLM system will help in maintaining the ethical sense of mechanical engineers and understand the importance of physical data in the field.
  • Field testing: For the field testing of the mechanical design, the IoT-enabled sensors can help the mechanical design engineers to fix the issues and improve the features further.
  • Imparting value to digital twin technology: The IoT can become the backbone of the “digital twin” type of technology which contributes to new mechanical engineering style, making new digital engineering innovation.

Accordingly, mechanical engineers must assess their design engineering based on “physical data” in the real world with “virtual data” with the help of the IoT.

Application of IoT in Electronics Engineering:

The IoT has already revolutionized the field of electronics engineering and in the coming times, the expectations are that it will make the field more efficient and smart.

  • Home Automation: One of the basic applications is home automation embedded with IoT. It will give the real-time status of the home appliances and significantly helps in reducing the electricity bills.
  • Improving Security: The security systems using IoT can help the surveillance of the home, offices, and other establishments. Imagine the presence of a strange person in front or backyard of my house is notified to me and immediately the image taken by the surveillance camera is sent to me.
  • Instructing Solar Panels: The solar panel can be rotated according to the clock so that it can produce electricity efficiently. Embedding of the air pressure sensors can help to show the wind speed and dust along with it. Accordingly, the solar panels can be covered in order to avoid dust deposition on it through the IoT-enabled devices.
  • Microcontrollers: All the micro-controllers in a device can be controlled, instructed, and monitored through IoT.

Application of IoT in Electrical Engineering

Application of IoT in Electrical Engineering:

  • IoT SCADA: SCADA is centralized monitoring and control of remotely located generation and transmission systems. It consists of various parts such as actuators, sensors, controllers, and communication devices. The IoT SCADA is a step beyond the SCADA. The IoT SCADA provides real-time signal acquisition and data logging using the internet and IoT servers. IoT integrates the devices, machines, sensors, and other electrical equipment with the internet.
  • Smart Metering: Traditional electrical equipment like electrical units reading the meter, when integrated with IoT reduces operational costs by managing the meter from the electricity office. It also detects energy theft and losses.
  • Smart Grid: The power generated can be utilized in an optimum manner as per the load demand with intelligent equipment devices installed at each of the sub-station. The IoT can automate these substations and can better address the optimum distribution of power to these sub- stations especially during peak hours.

Application of IoT in Civil Engineering:

The IoT has a huge impact on the field of civil engineering. Few of them are:

  • Preventive Maintenance Programs: IoT can be used for preventing the breakdown. The different sensors can be used along with intelligent devices to anticipate the breakdown and hence putting preventive maintenance in place. These sensors can collect the data in real- time and then report it to the maintenance crew.
  • Real-Time Construction Management Solution: The timely completion of the construction saves a lot of money, and brings efficiency to the system. Many tasks needed to be completed such as tracking and measuring building supplies or tagging field equipment etc. The use of IoT technology can reduce the manual burden of tracking, measuring building supplies, etc by collecting relevant information in real-time and delivering it to the people concerned. It will also help the management and decision-makers to improve or correct the project’s course.
  • Automated documentation: The reports based on filling out the blanks can easily be filled up using the data routed through IoT. Such reports can be used for inspection, insurance, and liability events, etc.
  • Workers’ safety: The construction sites are full of risk as an accident can happen at any time. The supervisors and managers need to be very careful about this. The real-time tracking of the worker can be accomplished using the IoT and ensuring the safety of the workers.
  • Decision Making: IoT can be deployed to extract the insights of the places which are more complex and need a thorough understanding. For example, during the construction of a dam, there is a need to monitor the surrounding area for any stress developing because of such a project. It will help the decision making body for taking further decisions.

Application of IoT in Biomedical Engineering:

IoT in biomedical is one of the current topics of research. According to a recent report, the adoption of IoT brings exceptional changes in operational efficiency. Few of the application are:

  • Wearable devices and IoT: The e-healthcare tracks the e-health status. The various wearables are currently used in e-healthcare. The integration of wearables with the IoT is the emerging area of research in biomedical with IoT. The wearables devices recording blood pressure, heart rate monitoring, glucometer, etc give the patient access to personalized attention. Such devices also remind about the calorie count, exercise check, variation in blood pressure, and appointment with doctors.
  • Superlative Care: The deep use of IoT in the field of biomedical will surely bring better healthcare and timely intervention of the doctors. It will break the boundary of patient-doctor interaction limited to visits. It empowers the physicians to deliver superlative care.
  • Faster Disease Diagnosis: Continuous monitoring of patients using IoT helps in early diagnosis of disease based on symptoms.
  • Lesser stay in hospital: Using IoT to monitor the patient from a remote location helps in reducing the length of staying at the hospital and prevents re-admission. Continuous health monitoring opens the door of proactive care.

Internet of Things is a concept that paves the way for real-world things connected to each other through the virtual world and interacting actively. The IoT has the potential to transform and revolutionize all the engineering fields and hence making the life of people easier. It facilitates monitoring, evaluation, recording, taking informed decisions, and governance to the user. It enhances efficiency, reduces operational and labor costs, and saves time. But there is a need of exploring the field to a new high. Such as in the case of the biomedical field, there is a lot of scope of taking the IoT to a new level. The biomedical field is one of the crucial areas where one needs to introduce the IoT as soon as possible so that effective and timely care be provided to the patients. Integration of devices using the internet will surely improve efficiency, but there will be associated challenges with it such as security of data stored in the cloud or the data moving a to-and-fro infinite number of times across the internet.

Also Read: The Growing Role Of IoT After Covid-19

Delivering Engineering Services Through Remote Work

July 21, 2020

Businesses around the world are having to conform to new modes for running their organization. This coerces companies to adjust themselves to new technologies and services. Adapting to the ever-changing environment is the need of the hour and businesses are rapidly adjusting to service their clients far from home to transform themselves for a successful transition post COVID.

Over the years, remote working has become trendy and popular around the world and globalization has made a rapid stride as businesses are increasingly asking for services from companies around the world. Remote working has become a substitute for onsite working as it improves productivity and saves costs.

Delivering Engineering Services Through Remote Work

Remote working generally refers to the provision of a service by working far from the actual business location using an internet connection and other forms of technology. Though it is not typically limited to location. Earlier, only software and information technology services were used to deliver through remote working but now other engineering services have marshaled themselves to deliver services and have made significant progress. Engineering services like computer aided engineering, design and detailing, product design and development, value engineering and value analysis, data migration, and reverse engineering can be accessed through various companies working remotely. Working remotely can rightly impact the delivery of the service in terms of productivity and efficiency.

The first step while delivering the client’s promise is to know your clients and their needs. Companies delivering engineering services around the world by working remotely face a common set of hurdles as they try to meet increased clients‟ expectations. Yet many case studies show that while the problems may be consistent, yet the ways in which they are being dealt with vary considerably.

The quality of engineering services is accessed by the efficiency of service delivery. Gone are the days when services were measured by revenue and employment generation. Due to the ever-increasing customer expectations, the effectiveness and efficiency of engineering services delivery are seen as important components of a business that is offering services remotely.

Delivering Engineering Services Through Remote Work

While the expectations for the better product designs and services is a common factor among the clients yet rewards and outcomes span these key areas in remote working.

Sensitive: Companies should install smart mechanisms in their business to address any fluctuation in meeting service levels in engineering and to thrust modifications in the service delivery unit.

Alternative: Companies should have different alternatives for a particular engineering product so the client could choose its „product of choice‟ depending on the particular need at a specific time.

Value: The value of a service is generated by client satisfaction, not business processes hence the client needs to believe that the product delivery mechanism is cost-effective.

Consolidation: Company’s product delivery mechanism should be integrated and there should be no wrong door policy for the clients.

Satisfaction: Personalization of the service is important to make sure that clients are satisfied and they are experiencing better services as compared to what they were receiving from companies working onsite.

Participation: Companies working remotely should deliver their services as per the client’s demand. The company’s behavior should be participatory and faithful to the customer’s needs.

Speed: The delivery of the product should be at the shortest possible time for the client with all the checks and analysis.

Maintaining Transparency is also one of the key aspects to deliver engineering services through remote work. Remote companies have encompassed this assertive approach in their business and have successfully delivered unmatched services to their clients. Businesses see it as a bipartisan process as both clients and service providers agree to freely share information and work as an integral unit. Many helpful case studies prove that greater transparency brings better productivity and hence builds trust which has the emulous advantage both within the company and in their dealings with clients.

Delivering Engineering Services Through Remote Work

Delivering engineering products to the clients goes through various phases and care should be taken while working remotely. This starts with the conceptual phase where the idea is shared by the client, then through coordination of design and construction, and ends with the delivery of the product by the company. The management of the product usually follows these steps while working remotely.

  • Product Definition: It involves the principle of the product, its configurations, and the components used in order to meet the requirements of the client. It defines the well- meant use by the client upon the completion of the product.
  • Product Scope: This segment defines the work that must be done. It focuses on the quality, quantity, and labor that must be executed.
  • Product Budgeting: It involves the client‟s permissible budget with which the product must be developed. It also includes various taxes arising from the delivery of the product.
  • Product Planning: This step selects and assigns the project to its staff according to the experience and intellect. It identifies the task with the particular employee in order to perfect the work.
  • Product Scheduling: In order to develop the product as per the schedule, micro- management of the task is done and activities are organized in a logical sequence. The costs and resources are linked to the scheduled activities to keep the product under budget.
  • Product Tracking: measuring, work, time, and costs is an important task to ensure that the product is progressing as planned.
  • Product Delivery: The product is delivered once the client is satisfied after it has gone through various tests and product analysis. Testing and inspection ensure client satisfaction.

Remote working organizations are considered highly effective if they are responsive to the trust and loyalty of their clients. This includes including modern technology in the service delivery process and offering a set guarantee with set and clear performance standards. It is important to develop service-level mechanisms appropriate to each client as per the requirements. Some clients prefer automatic, easy-to-obtain, and accurate responses whereas others demand a personal and relationship-based approach.

One other important tool is to understand customer experience by ensuring regular customer feedback. Feedback from the client and front-line staff can ensure that product improvement strategies are being implemented and will offer valuable differences to clients. It is significant for the companies to develop systems and processes to enable themselves and adapt alongside the changing times. Businesses should ensure a central and accessible system to manage all the product delivery and communications and a keep the client connected with the staff.

Companies who are delivering engineering design services remotely should set their agenda straight and focus on:

  • Companies should strengthen their service delivery so as to provide next-generation client satisfaction.
  • They should continuously build their capacity to offer client-centric-models and mitigate any rising customer risks so as to deliver what was promised.
  • “The customer is the king” and hence service delivery should be as scheduled.
  • Companies should be transparent to their clients and should share periodic reports and analysis. Regular client feedback should be taken.
  • At last, businesses should keep on innovating so as to inculcate best practices to ensure state-of-the-art engineering services.

Earlier, remote working used to be a challenge for organizations to deliver their services to far-off places. But the internet has tremendously closed this gap to nil and enabled businesses to offer their services with perfection both onsite and remote. Engineering service companies should choose the correct model of service delivery by successfully promoting themselves around the realization of the benefits of their clients while working remotely.

Also Read: Engineering Initiatives To Reduce Your Time-To-Market

The Growing Role Of IoT After Covid-19

July 14, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the physical devices that are connected to the internet around the globe, which are simultaneously collecting and sharing the data. These items range from wearable fitness devices that can monitor your health by measuring your blood glucose, heart rate, number of steps you take, stress and oxygen level, to smart microwaves that cook your food for an appropriate time, to smart cars that sense any object in their path. These are few of the applications that show the ubiquity of IoT in our daily life. After collecting the various data, they suggest what is best suitable for us and slowly taking us to set out the next-generation technology experience.

The basic concept of the Internet of Things is to connect all the things in the world to the internet.

The Growing Role Of IoT After Covid-19

With the rapid growth of devices connecting to the internet, many experts are predicting that two-third of the new businesses will be dependent on IoT by the end of 2020. Keeping this in mind, IoT offers the potential for a “fourth industrial revolution”.

An unprecedented situation has arisen due to COVID-19, which has impacted our society as well as the economy. But many companies have turned this adversity into an opportunity as there are indications that the world will be more dependent on digital technologies from now on. Currently, the companies are embracing digital technology as they have to work remotely to serve their clients.

How does IoT Work?

The “Things” in the “Internet of Things” that are connected to the internet have been divided into three categories:

  • First Things: a collection of information and then share it.
  • Second Things: receive information, analyze, and then act on it.
  • Things that do both.

The ecosystem of an IoT consists of smart devices that are web-enabled and use embedded systems such as sensors, processors, and communication hardware that collect the information and then share, analyze the data that they acquire, and then act on it. The data obtained by the sensors of an IoT from the environment is shared by connecting to an IoT gateway which sends the data to the cloud for analysis, or the data is analyzed locally. Many a time, these devices may connect to similar devices and share the information and then act on the data they acquire from one another. No human intervention is required for these devices to work, however people set them up to give instructions or access that data.

There is a wide range of real-world applications of the internet of things, from consumer and enterprise IoT to industrial and manufacturing IoT.

Consumer IoT

Consumer IoT

For consumer IoT, there are smart homes that are equipped with smart appliances such as smart thermostats. These smart homes are connected with lighting, heating, and electronic devices can be remotely controlled through smartphones.

Wearable devices that are equipped with software and sensors can collect and analyze the data of the users and then send information of the users to other technological devices with the aim in order to make the lives of users more comfortable and user-friendly.

Healthcare IoT

In healthcare, IoT has the ability to closely monitor patients by using the analysis of the generated data. IoT systems have been used in hospitals to perform several tasks, i.e. inventory management for medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

Infrastructure IoT

Smart buildings are equipped with sensors that can detect how many occupants are there in a room, which further reduces energy costs. The temperature of the room can be adjusted automatically — for instance, when the room is full, the sensor turns the air conditioner ON. In contrast, the sensor turns the air conditioner OFF when the room is empty.

Similarly, in a smart city, the deployment of IoT sensors may assist smart meters and smart streetlights such that they can help in alleviating the traffic, conserving the energy, and improve sanitation to address the environmental crisis.

Agriculture IoT

In the agriculture sector, smart farming systems based on IoT can help monitor temperature, light, the moisture of the soil, and humidity of the crop field by using connected sensors. It offers the potential for automation of the irrigation system.

Role of IoT in post-COVID-19 era

The IoT is performing a vital role in the fight against COVID-19. It has thrived over the years and the society as a whole is now ready to cherish the services of the advanced devices that are working with “IoT technology”. As this technology is already available in the market for some time now, hence the developers don’t have to design everything from scratch to make it useful for the COVID era. With the ever-increasing need for contactless use of technology and services, IoT is making sure to deliver on the promises and thrive at this crucial moment.

Many IoT Consulting companies are collaborating with NGOs and policymakers to develop innovative technical solutions that will be beneficial in the fight against Covid-19. These solutions may bring relief to society, making sure that businesses will thrust out of this pandemic.

To name a few, these technologies include:

Connected-Thermometers: The most fundamental symptom of COVID is fever. In a post COVID era, you might be watching the scanners everywhere to check temperature whenever you are entering any hospitals, banks, stores, etc. The IoT technology feeds the data of every scanner into a national database through which a real-time map can be generated to see where the spike of the fever might be so that the government can declare that region as a hotspot. This can be one of the valuable pieces of information processed in current scenario which can help the citizens maintain precaution.

Wearable: Many smart wearable electronic items in the market are enabled with sensors. These sensors play a very crucial role in the healthcare system as they can monitor the patient’s heart rate, blood oxygen, temperature, glucose level and send the signal to the doctors if the patient is in the critical condition. Timely monitoring of these symptoms can save a patient’s life.

The smart wrist band can also help track the person’s location. If someone is traveling from one place to another, these wrist bands can track their location and send the signal to the authorities, ensuring the person is following the home quarantine norms or not.

Accounting: In the COVID-19 crisis, businesses have been greatly affected in a way they perform their payments and accounting, particularly when the companies are pushing for a transition to digital collaboration and remote work. IoT implementation in accounting improves the distribution of data as it allows accountants to receive the financial data digitally. This would allow faster evaluation of the problem and analysis of risk. Thus the businesses can respond faster.

Robots: While at the hospital, robots are helping the doctors in caring for the patients. Doctors operate several surgeries via robots with more precision. In the Covid-19 era, robots are often used to deliver medication, food, and liquid to the patients. This reduces human interaction with the COVID affected patient and requires less staff. Less human interaction with the patient ultimately leads to a few cases and will help in slowing the transmission rate.

Drones: Drones are being used to spray the sanitizers or disinfectants in the public places and vehicles that are traveling to hotspot regions. They are also being used in transporting medical and essential supplies, lessening the risk of human contact. Drones are also helping in tracking the places where social distancing norms are not being followed in public.

IoT and embedded systems have already contributed significantly to the fight against Covid-19. As IoT’s footprint is growing exponentially and anticipated to hit 20.4 billion users before the end of this year, we may foresee many further permutations to be carried out while the pandemic lingers.

Also read about: Factors To Consider In IoT Product Design