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You may have heard the term “Internet of Things,” being used lately, but do you truly understand the meaning behind it? Its a developing area of technology that isn’t always easy to wrap your head around.

Broadly speaking, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of devices that can connect to the web, making normal machines “smart.”

For example, if your coffee maker connects to an app on your smartphone that allows you to begin brewing with a tap on your screen, that coffee maker becomes part of the Internet of Things.

This technology stretches to all sorts of appliances from household objects to industrial ones, with new applications being developed every day. In India, these advances are taking shape very rapidly, with Deloitte projecting that by 2020, there will be 1.9 billion IoT units in the country and that the market value of this sector will hit $9 billion.

So what do we have to look forward to with these developments? First we have to take a look at the current state of IoT in India.

Where are we with IoT?

A couple of big things happening in the IoT space are mobile payments, and the creation and implementation of smart devices.

Despite the existence of over 750 million active, physical, credit and debit cards, mobile payment options are poised to dominate the market in the coming years. You’ll most likely be paying with information stored on your phone or with payment apps like PayPal or Venmo.

To take a deeper look at what is happening with smart devices, we can explore what Airtel did to help power and energy storage company, Luminous.

Luminous, a market leader in inverters manufacturing, wanted to take their customer experience to the next level. Their goal was to offer an inverter that would offer analytics and tracking capabilities, so that users would be able to monitor their use and performance in real time.

Airtel developed an IoT solution for a smart inverter that does just this: Data is collected with this IoT technology and shared via a best-in-class mobile app that customers can access with ease.

With this data, the experience of both the customers and Luminous has improved. Users were able to respond to problems proactively, which made their inverters more reliable and long lasting. Luminous is using the information they receive to improve their product even more.

So, simply by adding the IoT to a product used daily, Airtel made the entire experience around that product better. This is great news, but what’s next?

Glancing at the future

Many theories have been formulated about the development of IoT, particularly in the manufacturing and automotive sectors.

For manufacturing in particular, IoT is expected to provide insights at every stage of production on a unit level. This means that every single product can be controlled throughout the entire creation process.

This increased visibility can help decision-makers monitor progress and hopefully prevent or fix problems before a chain reaction occurs. This kind of quality control has never existed before, and can potentially lead to safer products and better standards. Smart manufacturing like this has been adopted in companies like General Electric, Siemens, Cisco, and even Harley-Davidson.

As for the auto industry, there are many ways the IoT can be an asset. Many cars with GPS capabilities are already part of the network. This tech allows you to navigate your route without the use of a map, and instantly redirects you in case you make a wrong turn or have to make a pit stop.

From things as important as emergency roadside assistance, to luxuries like internet radio and music streaming services, our cars can be as web-enabled as our computers. Some are even projecting that future generations will see cars as “smartphones on wheels,” with text alerts and hands-free calling as well as internet connectivity.

Companies like Google are even working on self-driving cars, which could be on the road by 2020. These cars eliminate the need for a driver and would allow passengers to relax or be more productive while traveling whichever they prefer.

Some of these predictions will come to pass and some won’t, but one thing is for sure our world is about to become much “smarter.”

Watch next: Smart blender lets you get your morning smoothie fix without waking the whole family

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/07/28/internet-of-things-india/