The Internet of Things, or IoT, has become a hot topic, both inside the places we work and outside these. It is an idea that does not only impact how we go about our daily tasks, but also how we get these done. What exactly does the phrase mean, and will it have an impact on you?
There are many complexities surrounding this concept, but this article will stick to the basics. There are loads of policy-related and technical conversations around, but a number of us are still just grappling with the basic foundations of what these talks are centred around, and that is who this article is aimed at.
A Few Basic Ideas to Get Started
Broadband internet connections are far more widely available these days, and the cost of the connections we make is lessening. More devices are being made with Wi-Fi capabilities and sensors already built in, and the cost of tech in general is going down. Smartphone penetration is at an all-time high, and these factors are what are creating a perfect storm for the IoT.
At its most basic, the IoT is the idea of connecting any device that has an on/off switch to other devices and the internet. This list includes anything: cellphones, washing machines, wearable devices and more. Almost anything that springs to mind, including the components of machines, like an aeroplane’s jet engine. This has made our lives so much more convenient e.g. Connecting your mobile or other devices to the internet allows instant access to platforms such as Gaming Club NZ, social media, online banking and much more.
The Gartner analyst firm has stated that by the year 2020 more than 26 billion devices will be connected, and other estimates increase this to more than 100 billion. Essentially, the IoT is an enormous network of connections, including people and things, and these relationships can be thought of as:
How Does This Affect You?
The new rule is going to stand as anything that can be connected will be linked, and the value of this is obvious. Say, for example, you are en route to a meeting. Your vehicle would be able to access your calendar, and could have the quickest route already available for you as you get into the car. Your alarm clock will not simply wake you up in time to start your day, but will have communicated with your coffee machine in order to make sure a fresh cup is ready and waiting as you haul yourself out of dreamland. Your office equipment could be notified when supplies were running low, and could instigate the reordering process without your having to be involved –these are just a few examples of the many ways that the IoT has a positive effect on people’s lives, and how much easier many minor tasks are going to become in the very near future.
On a broader scale, the Internet of Things can also be applied to transportation networks, for example, which could aid in the reduction of waste and the improvement of energy use by helping us to understand how we work and live and make better choices as a result of being able to spot areas that could stand some extra development.