According to Wikipedia, the Internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and connectivity which enables these objects to connect and exchange data. Each item is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to inter-operate within the existing Internet infrastructure.
This may sound a bit complicated to people who are not tech savvy so a simple way to explain this will be through this article where we are seeking to elucidate more on what IoT is and its impact on your day to day life as well as business.
Here are a couple of things you should now about the IoT.
#1 The IoT is making your home smart
The core offering of the IoT is connectivity between different devices. If you pay attention, you will realize that devices in your home are getting more and more interconnected for instance your smartphone, TV, wearable devices, washing machine, thermostat, microwave, and many more. This is what IoT is all about. Your continued ability control all these devices from a single point has turned your home into a smart home.
#2 Improvements in the production process
Just like its application in the home, the IoT has also greatly improved the production process in industries because of the ability of different devices to be interconnected. Production time has drastically been cut and made more efficient as improved machine to machine communication eliminates unnecessary tasks within the production as well as supply chains.
#3 Smart cities are soon going to be a reality
The application of the IoT is limitless with many governments turning to it to make service delivery more efficient and cost effective. The IoT can be applied to all aspects of the public sector such as law enforcement, healthcare, energy, transportation and waste management. This is already a reality in a city like Barcelona, where service delivery has been interlinked through a citywide wifi which has enabled the interconnection of bus stops, trash services, and parking stops, with the city working towards expanding this interconnectivity.
#4 The IoT exposes us to more risks
The main risk associated with the IoT is the exposer to cyber-attacks. Interconnecting devices to enhance efficiency in service delivery and reduce costs may be a really cool and step in the right direction, but it exposes us to the risk of the entire system getting paralyzed by a cyber-attack and throwing everything into disarray. For IoT to work, a very significant investment will be needed in cyber security.
#5 Tech in IoT is outpacing regulation
The tech industry is one of the toughest to regulate because technology is hitting the market faster than policy makers can develop rules to regulate its use. This is proving to be a concern especially the more IoT becomes a reality in our day to day living. We are definitely not heading in the right direction if we’ll have technology available for mass consumption yet absent of proper regulation to safeguard consumers.
All in all, the IoT is essentially bridging the gap between the physical and the digital worlds and it may be a little bit too early to tell whether this is a good or a bad thing. Proponents of the IoT are confident this is a positive step forward for humankind whereas opponents are predicting a doomsday event when machines will take over the world. All we can say is that these are truly exciting times.