What is Internet of Things (IoT)?

Spread the love

What is Internet of Things (IoT)?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network.

The IoT allows objects to be sensed or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit in addition to reduced human intervention. When IoT is augmented with sensors and actuators, the technology becomes an instance of the more general class of cyber-physical systems, which also encompasses technologies such as smart grids, virtual power plants, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart cities. Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure. Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of about 30 billion objects by 2020.

The “Internet of things” (IoT) is becoming an increasingly growing topic of conversation both in the workplace and outside of it. It’s a concept that not only has the potential to impact how we live but also how we work. But what exactly is the “Internet of things” and what impact is it going to have on you, if any? There are a lot of complexities around the “Internet of things” but I want to stick to the basics. Lots of technical and policy-related conversations are being had but many people are still just trying to grasp the foundation of what the heck these conversations are about.

Typically, IoT is expected to offer advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and covers a variety of protocols, domains, and applications. The interconnection of these embedded devices (including smart objects), is expected to usher in automation in nearly all fields, while also enabling advanced applications like a smart grid, and expanding to areas such as smart cities.

Broadband Internet is become more widely available, the cost of connecting is decreasing, more devices are being created with Wi-Fi capabilities and sensors built into them, technology costs are going down, and smartphone penetration is sky-rocketing.  All of these things are creating a “perfect storm” for the IoT.

The Internet of Things, at its simplest level, is smart devices – from refrigerators that warn you when you’re out of milk to industrial sensors – that are connected to the Internet so they can share data, but IoT is far from a simple challenge for IT departments.

For many companies, it represents a vast influx of new devices, many of which are difficult to secure and manage. It’s comparable to the advent of BYOD, except the new gizmos are potentially more difficult to secure, aren’t all running one of three or four basic operating systems, and there are already more of them.

A lot more, in fact – IDC research says that there are around 13 billion connected devices in use worldwide already, and that that number could expand to 30 billion within the next three years.

The IoT refers to the connection of devices (other than typical fare such as computers and smartphones) to the Internet. Cars, kitchen appliances, and even heart monitors can all be connected through the IoT. And as the Internet of Things grows in the next few years, more devices will join that list.

Internet of Things (IoT) is an ecosystem of connected physical objects that are accessible through the internet. The ‘thing’ in IoT could be a person with a heart monitor or an automobile with built-in-sensors, i.e. objects that have been assigned an IP address and have the ability to collect and transfer data over a network without manual assistance or intervention. The embedded technology in the objects helps them to interact with internal states or the external environment, which in turn affects the decisions taken.

The internet of things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes the idea of everyday physical objects being connected to the internet and being able to identify themselves to other devices. The term is closely identified with RFID as the method of communication, although it also may include other sensor technologies, wireless technologies or QR codes.

The IoT is significant because an object that can represent itself digitally becomes something greater than the object by itself. No longer does the object relate just to its user, but it is now connected to surrounding objects and database data. When many objects act in unison, they are known as having “ambient intelligence.”

Simply put, this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig. As I mentioned, if it has an on and off switch then chances are it can be a part of the IoT. The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices… That’s a lot of connections (some even estimate this number to be much higher, over 100 billion). The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people). The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.

Why IoT?

An article by Ashton published in the RFID Journal in 1999 said, “If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things – using data they gathered without any help from us – we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best. We need to empower computers with their own means of gathering information, so they can see, hear and smell the world for themselves, in all its random glory.” This is precisely what IoT platforms does for us. It enables devices/objects to observe, identify and understand a situation or the surroundings without being dependent on human help.

What is the scope of IoT?

Internet of Things can connect devices embedded in various systems to the internet. When devices/objects can represent themselves digitally, they can be controlled from anywhere. The connectivity then helps us capture more data from more places, ensuring more ways of increasing efficiency and improving safety and IoT security.

IoT is a transformational force that can help companies improve performance through IoT analytics and IoT Security to deliver better results. Businesses in the utilities, oil & gas, insurance, manufacturing, transportation, infrastructure and retail sectors can reap the benefits of IoT by making more informed decisions, aided by the torrent of interactional and transactional data at their disposal.

Simply put, this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig. As I mentioned, if it has an on and off switch then chances are it can be a part of the IoT. The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices… That’s a lot of connections (some even estimate this number to be much higher, over 100 billion). The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people). The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.

IoT platforms can help organizations reduce cost through improved process efficiency, asset utilization and productivity. With improved tracking of devices/objects using sensors and connectivity, they can benefit from real-time insights and analytics, which would help them make smarter decisions. The growth and convergence of data, processes and things on the internet would make such connections more relevant and important, creating more opportunities for people, businesses and industries.

You may want to visit IoT Discussion Forum.

Image Credit to: Halcyon Lighting

MeenaG Staff

Internet of Things Enthusiast

Leave a Reply