By: Kevin Williams
Categories: Money Savings
McKinsey estimates that the market size of the Internet of Things (IoT) will grow to $3.7 billion by 2020 and IHS predicts that there will be 75.4 billion IoT-enabled devices installed by 2025. In addition, General Electric forecasts that the investment in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which is the use of IoT technology in manufacturing industries, will grow to $60 trillion by 2020.
Those are a lot of big numbers to throw around about the IoT, but what do they mean for the average consumer in terms of saving money and enhancing their economic buying power? In addition, how do they relate to the ever-present need for companies to reduce costs and grow revenues?
The answer is that there are many ways that individuals and businesses can benefit from the energy-saving and thus money-saving properties of Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Here are several examples:
Building and facility systems – IoT technology can use sensors to monitor factors such as air temperature and quality, energy usage, water consumption, and many others to identify opportunities for enhanced efficiencies. It also enables homeowners, building owners, and facility managers to program and control these systems to save money. This can include automating processes to adjust building temperatures based on weather; to turn off lights in rooms that aren’t being used; and to turn off water heaters when demand for hot water is low.
For example, an apartment complex in Sweden is using IoT technology to monitor hot water usage by each tenant and then billing them according to how much hot water they use instead of splitting the cost amongst all the renters. The result is a projected $42 million savings across 10 years.
In addition, IoT technology can monitor building systems and immediately alert maintenance technicians when there are problems. These issues can include water leaks, broken windows, damaged or malfunctioning HVAC systems, and other disruptions that can lead to a decrease in energy efficiencies and necessitate insurance claims. This lowers costs and prevents unnecessary downtime that can create problems for homeowners or hinder business operations.
Industrial inventory management – IoT technology can help businesses track inventory throughout multiple locations anywhere in the world by utilizing inventory sensors. As a result, they always know exactly how many inventory items they have and where they are, leading to greater efficiencies that save money in inventory management.
Smart homes and home automation – The U.S. Dept. of Energy encourages consumers to use smart appliances that are designed to conserve energy as they run because they save money and produce less waste. Many smart devices can also be programmed to function at times when energy is less expensive. These include:
Smart thermostats that can be programmed to raise and lower temperature based on factors such as area occupation, time of day, and weather as well as smart electrical systems that direct power to lights, appliances, and other household electronics. The result is optimized comfort control that lowers electricity bills.
Intelligent energy storage systems driven by the IoT that allow energy distribution to be managed in real time based on immediate data. When combined with smart meters, they allow energy services and payment tariffs that can reduce a home or business’ energy costs.
Integration with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power that allow you to create a home microgrid and generate your own electricity. You can also combine this with energy storage technology to minimize your home’s reliance on the grid for power, thus saving money on electrical bills.
The IoT will continue developing at an exponential rate for the foreseeable future. As this happens, the potential for money savings for individuals as well as enhanced revenues for businesses will increase as well.