The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming increasingly prevalent in the world around us. We can find IoT devices being worn by our friends and family, used in hospitals and common medical treatments, built into our homes and appliances and embedded in our cars. There are smartphones, smart watches, smart TVs, and even smart chopsticks. But what actually makes a smart device smart?
The answer is sensor technology. Sensors are what distinguish a smart device from a normal electronic device or an object with no embedded electronics. However, in order to connect to the Internet and quickly and conveniently provide us with the information we need, smart devices also rely on the structure of The Internet of Things and its integration with cloud computing systems. In the realm of energy and utility management especially, smart devices are revolutionizing the way we monitor and regulate our energy usage.
What is Sensor Technology?
Computer World noted last year that sensor technology is what makes The Internet of Things human. Through sensor technology, your energy appliances are basically your eyes and ears that can detect problems and provide you with information to help you use energy more wisely.
Sensors are designed much like microprocessors, and they're integrated into something called a microelectromechanical system. This is often abbreviated as MEMS and is usually listed on the smart devices you buy.
When sensors get placed into these devices, they integrate with specific applications so you can monitor the use of specific devices or utilities and have real-time access to the information being picked up by your sensor. When it comes to energy management, this is a major part of what makes smart devices so important to the evolution of technology. Sensors alert you when something is amiss, such as a gas leak, allowing you to quickly address the issue before it becomes a more serious threat.
Through your smartphone, you can get alerted to these dangers and take action immediately. You also get alerted to other issues that may simply need repairs, such as a leaky faucet, so you can handle the problem before it affects your energy bill.
The Structure of Smart Devices
Smart devices are lauded for their ability to connect us with data that can reveal previously unattainable insights into our everyday lives. Where the sensors in smart devices are what actually picks up on energy usage and potential problems, it is the structure of the smart devices and their IoT applications that allow them to provide thorough and comprehensive reporting.
With smart devices, the inefficiency and frustration of reading old, analog energy meters or depending on monthly readings from your energy companies can be avoided altogether. Smart devices give you easy-to-understand data right at your fingertips, helping you to closely monitor how much energy you're using and adjust your energy usage accordingly. Some smart systems can even let you control when your heating and cooling goes on and off in your building throughout the day.
The Role of the Cloud
There’s no denying that the cloud is one of the 21st century's most innovative and versatile technologies. It works in tandem with so many things, including The Internet of Things. As long as you're connected online, you can access your energy data, wherever you are in the world.
If you travel frequently for your job or manage many facilities spread across a region, access to information stored in a cloud makes managing your energy usage far more feasible. You don't have to worry about problems going unnoticed when you are away and you can keep a much closer eye on all of your facilities, even if you’re not always there.
To learn more about what makes a smart device smart and how the Internet of Things can help improve your energy management contact us today.