Turning off a hair straightener from your cinema seat; a refrigerator that writes your weekly shopping list; a voice-activated virtual personal assistant you connect with via speakers – the benefits of smart homes connected by the Internet of Things (IoT) are already being advertised. Beyond everyday household tasks, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is set to transform manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and energy grids. But while the consumer IoT can function using existing wireless and fixed networks, industry and critical infrastructure IIoT applications need high standards of reliability, latency and security.
What will these ultra-reliable low latency networks mean for us as the customer?
Imagine a city-based surgeon operating via robotic tools on a patient in a remote location. The networks connecting the surgeon to the robot will be able to process very high volumes of data without discernable delay (latency) so that the surgeon senses the response of the tissue.
Governments will be able to avoid large-scale power outages in the energy grids by automatically identifying faults and their location in the grid before they spread over large distances.
Automated cars will be able to talk to other vehicles, roadside infrastructure, transport management systems (like traffic signals) and personal mobile devices to keep the driver safe, and alert them of traffic changes. Trucks and self-driving cars would be able to platoon – automatically setting and maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles while decreasing traffic congestion.
The IIoT is currently in its infancy but to date Professor Vucetic’s team has been involved in exciting pilot projects and research test-beds for trialing new technologies in multiple sectors.
See how we're redefining possible in other areas of research.