Internet of Things – is the breakthrough happening now?

The “Internet of Things” is experiencing huge hype at this year’s Cebit. “Once again”, you could say, because the topic is not new. The prerequisite for the Internet of Things is transponders or RFID chips that are able to exchange information via radio signals. RFID technology has been around for over 50 years. If you combine the properties of transponders with the possibilities of the Internet, many visions for applications can be developed. The best-known example is the refrigerator with an Internet connection, which automatically recognizes when supplies are running low and reorders them via the Internet.

So why hasn’t this been around for a long time? The answer is sobering: what sounds so great and simple cannot be implemented without complications in practice. This is because the transponder signals are swallowed up by large quantities of liquid or metal in the environment and cannot be reliably received. The refrigerator, which is essentially made of metal, is usually filled with many drinks and other liquids and therefore has its problems with signal detection.

The application in logistics also struggles with the same problems. Tests at a parcel delivery company have shown that read rates of 96% are possible. This would be a disaster, imagine four out of every hundred parcels being lost! So what is causing this hype at Cebit? Promising applications were presented that make it possible to close the media gap between objects and IT systems. The use of the technologies was impressively demonstrated in so-called “smart factories”. Workpieces exchange important information with their processing machines, e.g. geometry data from the last measuring process, and enable quasi-individual treatment in the production process. Robots recognize the workpiece and know how to grip it and what the next work process is. Protagonists are predicting a similar development for the smart factory as we have seen with smartphones over the last six years.

Even if we still have to manage our fridge manually, we can look forward to seeing what’s in store for us soon!

Yours sincerely from the Internet

Bernd Reineke

Picture of Dr. Bernd Reineke

Dr. Bernd Reineke

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