Imagine when you wake up you have a bathtub ready with hot water and milk in your refrigerator at the appropriate temperature you prefer and you can do other work after putting your bread in the toaster without having to worry about when to turn it off, your car connected showing you the direct route to your office and your life simplified at each step this way. This is the practical answer to ‘what is IoT?’
Everything today is in a way connected to the internet. There are sensors attached to most of the devices and the cost of these devices is becoming cheaper day by day. The technology is easily accessible and all these things are creating a perfect atmosphere for this latest wave of the internet of things. Let’s start by understanding the basics by starting with the simple question; ‘What is IoT?’
What is IoT?
“The Internet of Things is a network of devices; electric appliances, home appliances, smart gadgets, machines, vehicles, and many more; that use sensors and APIs to connect and exchange data over the internet.”
The concept of IoT is so broadly defined that it often leaves everyone in a dilemma. The basic point to understand ‘what is IoT?’ is to know that the internet is ruling in every field today. For instance, you’re reading this blog on your laptop or your computer or your phone through the internet. Before the invention of smartphones (basically the cell phones with internet), we sure had phones that covered our needs of calling and texting but now that we have the internet, we use our phones to do anything; listen to any song, read a book, watch a movie.
Well, the list does not end there. Today with the help of the internet of things, we are able to do a lot of other things that were never even thought of before. The internet has helped us connect various devices and transform the data through this network. The internet is not only limited to phones, laptops, or computers. Today, anything and everything can be connected to the internet. Yes. Everything. All the devices and machines having the sensors from a pin to an airplane to self-driving motorcars.
Also, it is not just about easing our lives with smart devices like home automation appliances or automatic garages, it’s about automation in various fields. For instance, IoT can be highly useful in the farming industry, it could automate the machines to detect the moisture of the soil and help in irrigation likewise. The list can be never ending which we will further see in detail in “Internet of Things Applications”.
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What is an IoT device?
Any device that is connected to the internet and has sensors and can be controlled and monitored from a remote location through the authority device can be considered as an IoT device. With the advancements in technology, the devices are becoming smaller and therefore the production parts are also small. With such smaller chips, it has become easy to make devices automatic and connective. Hence almost every device can become an IoT device.
In a nutshell, the Internet of Things has the power to expand the usage of the internet beyond smartphones and computers and laptops. It has now extended to a whole new range of machines and devices that are connected through the internet that send information or receive information or do both. In this way, IoT is helping businesses and people to connect to the world around them and automate things for improved results.
History & Facts
- The internet of things started in 1982 with the automatic Coke vending machine at Carnegie Mellon University. It was the first machine that was connected to the internet and would report about the inventory and also keep a track if the loaded drinks are cold or not.
- The term internet of things was brought in light by Kevin Ashton in 1999.
- After many other scientific and technical articles being published on IoT, Cisco Systems estimated that IoT was born between 2008 and 2009.
- RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) played an important role in the formation of the internet of things.
- Then came M2M, the telecommunication wave which brought connectivity and development in newly deployed 3G and 4G networks.
- In a decade, the internet of things has transformed in a huge manner. The transformation has taken place in automating things that were never even expected to have an internet connection at all are now transmitting data and can be automatically handled from smartphones.
- It is also suggested by a research firm that by 2020 there will be more than 26 billion connected devices. (which is a huge amount!)
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Benefits of the Internet of Things
After knowing ‘what is IoT?’, you must be already impressed by how things have started working this way. The technology has worked its way to automate almost everything around us. These devices that now have the ability to connect to the internet and transfer data over the internet and work on commands through the authority device have many advantages that could ease our personal as well as professional life. Below are the top six advantages of this technology.
1. Automation & Control:
With the help of IoT, machines are automatically working with connection to each other. The connected devices are set for automatically performing tasks assigned by humans. Even without human intervention, the gadgets can transfer data with each other based on their programming. In this way, the devices can be controlled without physical contact.
For instance, home automation facilitates operating appliances through a smartphone. A bulb can be turned off without you actually having to turn off the switch by just using your home automation app in your smartphone. This way, IoT helps in automation as well as control.
As we discussed above, the devices can now be connected to the internet, including machines that were thought impossible to have one. The connectivity is not just about the internet connection though, the devices can now be connected to other devices as well like phones. IoT was born out of M2M and it continues to expand the progeny. These connected devices can send and receive data and may as well work on each other’s commands. Hence, multiple things can be connected to and operated from one device.
3. Efficiency along with Convenience:
IoT devices have made life easier and more convenient. You just have to signal your consent and the devices reorder things according to your convenience. Devices like Amazon’s Alexa have made it easier to get more updates and news without turning on your phone or computer. The increased connectivity and artificial intelligence of these devices have processes faster and have even eliminated the need for manually operating devices separately.
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One of the biggest advantages of IoT devices is conservation. This technology can help save the energy and resources otherwise wasted due to untimely operations. These devices can also monitor serious conditions like electricity/water usage/wastage, the atmospheric conditions of a particular area, traffic in a city, the environmental conditions and such other aspects. These devices can also alert in breakdowns and system damages.
Like the first-ever internet connected vending machine provided reports regarding its inventory. This way, with the help of these devices, the energy and resource conservation, is possible which in turn helps us save time and money.
The IoT devices quite well work like their parent technology. Like many websites on the internet gather data through cookies on their website, which are later used to save your preferences and display similar products or links to similar websites and your searches, IoT devices also work the same way. They store your preferences and personalize your data. These smart devices can quickly process your likes and dislikes and offer services in a similar fashion. These personalizations are more preferable as they are more relevant and enjoyable.
6. Monitoring & Information:
As already suggested in the above points, the IoT devices help us monitor over several situations and have precautions for possible damages and can help us save resources. This way, it provides more information that can help in making decisions. Along with information, it monitors over the necessary things. For instance, your refrigerator can monitor if you’re low on milk and could pass on this information to your smartphone while you’re away that could help you save an extra tour to the grocery store.
After looking at these benefits, one could easily make out that this technology is changing the way we live and the way we work. It has brought revolutionary changes in various fields with its automation and monitoring feature. Let us have a look at the fields wherein the internet of things is applied.
Internet of Things Applications
Imagine if your car is connected to your calendar and takes the fastest route to your work on the day of your meeting; if you’re stuck in traffic and your car sends a message to your clients that you will be late without you having to worry about it; what if your alarm wakes you up and notifies your coffee maker to brew coffee for you?
All this might sound a little bit like a sci-fi movie to you but the technology is here and we are all on the verge of changing the way our life functions. The Internet of Things is not just another new technology, it is the Next Big Thing!
Just like smartphones, with the help of the internet of things, it has become possible to add intelligence to other devices as well. The internet helps these devices to transfer data. With this, home appliances now have access to the internet. Automation has become the key to smart devices.
For instance, you could unlock your door if your friends arrive early for a weekend stay when you’re not at home or you can switch off the lights of your room while you’re at work that you forgot to before leaving for work. These simple smart home products are revolutionizing the residential spaces. Companies like Nest, Ecobee, Ring, and August with many others are delivering these experiences to people who believe in the latest technologies.
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After the innovations in home appliances, it has become obvious to look forward to more and more innovations in other fields as well. The automobiles are the next to talk about!
The latest talk in the market has been of smart cars. The internet of things has helped huge automobile companies like Tesla and BMW, with the help of Google and Apple, bring change in the industry. Today there are connected cars available in the market that optimize their maintenance, operations like automatic parking, automated gears, and also the comfort of the passengers. There are many other areas in which automation will be seen in the near future like self-driving cars!
A smart city is just another application in which IoT can be highly utilized. Like connected home appliances, devices across the city can be connected to the internet to have better analytical information regarding energy resources being used by the population. It can also solve problems like pollution, traffic congestion, parking spot facility, and such other pieces of information can be gathered through this.
Smart surveillance, security, energy management systems, water resource management, and many other areas can be covered in this field. This way, IoT can be useful to monitor resources and help automate things to facilitate the government.
With the increased population, the food supply need has also increased and with this, the government is focusing more on advancing the agricultural processes by giving the farmers advanced equipment and techniques for food research and production.
There is automated equipment in the market that could sense the moisture in the soil and control water usage. There are also other types of equipment that could determine fertilizer needs. Stock monitoring and inventory management are also some simple IoT tools that can be used in the farming and agriculture industry.
Other than these, the internet of things can have broader usages in other industries as well. It can be used in retail stores, defense, transportation, logistics, and many others.
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The Future of IoT
It is estimated that by 2025, there will be more than 64 bn IoT devices in the world. It is also expected from minority believers that Blockchain within IoT will populate the marketplaces. The internet of things providers is also focusing on using the 5G networks for lightning speed. The future of the internet of things is much higher and fascinating than this. There will be billions of things connected to each other without human interference. This will bring on huge changes in the world!
Share Your Thoughts With Us!
How well did you like reading our blog “Captivating Observations on the Internet of Things”? Are you aware of any latest news about IoT that we missed out? Let us know in the comment section below.