What is the “Internet of Things”?

With technology ever developing we are forever seeing new words and phrases, often not really knowing or understanding what they actually mean. From Cloud to DaaS and IaaS, these words and abbreviations are thrown about in expectance that we already comprehend them.

One of the latest of such words is the “Internet of Things” or “IoT” – an increasingly popular topic of conversation.

This concept has the potential to create a big impact on our lives and the expansion of technology, but the complexities surrounding it often create confusion around its true meaning.

What is IoT?

To put it simply, IoT or the Internet of Things essentially consists of connecting everyday items to the internet. In theory anything with an on/off switch can be connected to the internet and be able to communicate with other devices. From items in the household, to within big corporations and built in to the landscape surrounding us – the possibilities the Intenet of Things creates is exponential.

IoT in practice

An example of how IoT could work within the household would be to have your coffee machine connected to your alarm clock. You could schedule your alarm clock to wake you up at 7am for work and have it notify your coffee machine to start brewing when your alarm goes off. Alternatively perhaps your car will know the time and location of your meeting, taking you the quickest route and notify your client if you are running late.

But not all uses of IoT are so trivial; it can also be used to help our environment. From providing data on the amount of traffic to assist in altering signal timings and their locations, to monitoring underground pipes and reporting on leaks or decay. IoT could provide knowledge that we do not necessarily have access to currently, but with its implementation such communication and reporting will be as standard.

Security concerns

Of course connecting something through the public internet always comes with its problems, primarily with regards to security. Naturally there is the concern of somebody hacking in to your home network and being able to access your connected components – this could cause big issues and privacy concerns. For large corporations this is a particular worry and is something that will need to be looked in to and resolved before the implementation of connected devices across the board.

What’s next?

Discussions surrounding IoT have been ongoing for years, and these will continue for the foreseeable future. With concerns surrounding security, as previously discussed, and also the need to create a way for users to store and analyse the data which will be made available, it will be sometime before your alarm clock is talking to your coffee pot – but it will be reality eventually.

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