As 2020 draws closer, the prospect of 5G networks is inspiring new ideas, conversations and innovations on the daily. What will 5G Internet mean for the average Joe? How will 5G mobiles change communication? What can we expect from 5G network services? These are just some of the questions that have got everyone talking. And if there’s one topic that’s got everyone especially excited, it’s that of the Internet of Things.

What exactly is the Internet of Things (IoT)? For starters, it’s one of the most potent 5G use cases to look forward to and is at the heart of the discussion on how 5G technology is going to change the world. The IoT concept essentially refers to a network of machines, devices, systems, appliances, homes and vehicles connected to the Internet and working in tandem with one another. The goal is to take all manner of capable physical devices and integrate them into a unified network using sensors, actuators, software programs, electronics and of course, the Internet itself. The aim is to use the IoT to promote productivity and cost-efficient processes in all manner of fields and industries while reducing intensive labor and resource wastage.

How is the Internet of Things going to affect your life?

Think of how smartphones became the new face of mobile phone communications. The IoT is going to take just about all mobile devices, internet devices, electronic gadgets and appliances and all sorts of machines and push them to the next level: a massive, interlinked network where each device has its own identity and is able to communicate with all others within the system. It’s the next phase of telecommunications technology: everything that can be connected and digitally operated will be.

One of the first most obvious applications of the Internet of Things will be the enhanced critical control, operation and monitoring of all manner of remote devices, machines and appliances. Whether it’s appliances in your smart home or farming equipment controlled by sensor networks, you’ll be able to get a lot more done in a lot less time with minimal input on your part. And you don’t actually have to be physically present for any of it!

Drawing from the same, both small and large industries will be able to optimize production processes by reducing costs, time, human labor and occupational hazards. The potential benefits to industries are nearly beyond calculation at this stage but suffice to say, great things are in store.

Remote control of tools, appliances and machines will also help push for a new meaning of universal healthcare such that disparities in access, availability, geography etc. no longer prevent patients from seeking the medical intervention they need.

Sensor networks along roads, railways and airfields are also going to revolutionize transport, travel, industry, communication and city planning. These networks will be able to communicate with each other and the various machines and vehicles operating on them in real time, thus creating a much safer and more efficient system.

Smart transport is another buzzword that is taking the world by storm. The idea that self-driving vehicles, autonomous transport pods and driverless cars are going to be mainstream within a few years is nothing short of a science-fiction fantasy come alive. And yet, smart travel is going to be the defining feature of the smart cities of tomorrow and governments and industries the world over are already investing heavily into the infrastructure needed for the same.