What Is IoT? — A Simple Explanation of the Internet of Things
We all know that IoT is changing industries across the board. But what is IoT, exactly?
The Internet of Things(IoT) can be defined as a network of physical. Objects or people called “things” that are embedded with electronics, and sensors which allows these objects to exchange data.
The goal of IoT is to extend to internet connectivity from standard devices like computer, mobile, tablet to relatively dumb devices like a toaster. IoT makes virtually everything “smart,” by improving aspects of our life with the power of data collection, AI, and networks.
How does the Internet of Things actually work?
Remember, the Internet of Things consists of ordinary devices that can connect to the internet and communicate with each other over the cloud. Generally, that means adding special sensors to ordinary items like washing machines, heating systems, refrigerators, watches, or almost anything else.
Some devices use these sensors to collect information and report it back. The first-ever IoT device mentioned above, a vending machine, used sensors to monitor its inventory and make that information available to the owner.
Other devices can receive information and then perform an action. For example, smart door locks receive a signal that you want them to open and then follow through by doing so.
The most sophisticated — and generally, most useful — IoT devices can do both. In industrial IoT, this could be a factory monitoring machinery components for possible malfunctions and then raising the alarm when a problem is detected. Home-based IoT, this could be your smart thermostat. Which collects information about your temperature preferences and habits. Acts accordingly to heat or cool your home to the desired temperature depending on the time of day.
In general, smart technology helps things work better — more efficiently and with more synchronicity.
Most home IoT gadgets use your router to connect to a larger smart home, allowing you to use voice-activated commands or your smartphone to control many functions of your home to save time, energy, or both.
Commercially, IoT tech helps companies monitor and manage their factories, supply chains, and more. Sensors can also be added to a given part of some large-scale machinery, such as the drill of an oil rig, which can help improve production and safety.
Why IoT Matters
When something is connected to the internet, that means that it can send information or receive information, or both. This ability to send and/or receive information makes things smart, and smart is good.
Let’s use smartphones (smartphones) again as an example. Right now you can listen to just about any song in the world, but it’s not because your phone actually has every song in the world stored on it. It’s because every song in the world is stored somewhere else. Your phone can send information (asking for that song) and then receive information (streaming that song on your phone).
How do IoT devices connect to each other?
IoT allows web-enabled devices to connect to each other and act on data that are sent between them. Although, Devices use the cloud to communicate, connecting over the internet using Wi-Fi, a cellular connection (3G or 4G).
Soon, 5G will engender even more futuristic possibilities, like driverless cars, fully interconnected cities, and more advances that currently sound like a sci-fi movie.
The benefits of IoT
Why do we need the Internet of Things? Well, aside from the cool factor of having smart and shiny devices. IoT brings a host of benefits to both home and commercial settings.
Firstly, having smart sensors in your devices can improve convenience and efficiency. For example, smart lights or a smart thermostat can automatically turn off when you’re not at home to cut down on consumption and thus costs. When you have all of your devices linked together in a smart home. You’ll collect data on your habits and usage. Sometimes even just seeing statistics about your consumption can be eye-opening and shed light on what changes you can make to save time and/or money.
Looking ahead, we’ll soon see even larger-scale applications of IoT tech with smart cities. As mentioned, 5G will really kick it up a notch — mainly due to its monstrously increased speed and vastly better connectivity.
IoT could also be hugely beneficial in monitoring and reacting to environmental conditions. We could vastly improve things like forest fire detection, crop growing . And controlling emissions to help with air pollution.
Conversations about the IoT are taking place all over the world as we seek to understand how this will impact our lives. We are also trying to understand what the many opportunities and challenges are going to be as more and more devices start to join the IoT. For now, the best thing that we can do is educate ourselves about what the IoT is and the potential impacts that can be seen on how we work and live.