What is IoT?

January 11, 2017

The internet of things, or IoT, may sound complicated, but it stands for a very simple concept. It involves connecting to the internet mostly things that have an off/on switch and can transfer data in a network. This network of connected things communicating with one another that is referred to as the internet of things (IoT).

An IoT network can include a pacemaker, lawn sprinkler, a coffee maker, computers, and so on. In other words, the IoT is a huge network of connected digital or mechanical machines, animals, objects, or humans. Computers and the internet were dependent on information created by people in the form of the form of photos, scanning, typed work, videos, audio recordings, and so on. IoT eliminates the need for person-to-person or person-to-computer interaction for data transfer to occur in a network.

IoT Applications

You may be wondering why anyone would want to connect everything to the internet, but there are real applications for IoT that can increase efficiency in different areas. Let’s look at three real-world IoT applications:

Precision Agriculture

Crops need the right weather, the right type of soil, and the right amount of water to grow. Farmers constantly check weather reports and satellite images to predict the crop yield they will get or when they should plant certain crops. Weather stations close to farms only offer general data for a whole region and not climate data for a specific farm. Some farmers remedy this by installing technology in their farms to gather data around the particular area where they have planted their crops.

Prospera, an Israeli company, uses low-cost cameras that gather images and measure radiation/light and low-cost sensors that collect humidity and temperature data to monitor crop growth. These devices communicate over 3G mobile data technology or Wi-Fi, which can run on solar power. All the data is gathered and used to make predictions based on observed correlations between crop growth and output.

Smart Home

Sci-fi movies can sometimes leave you with the impression that smart homes are a thing of the future. In reality, smart homes already exist, and they are very popular. A research report published by MarketsandMarkets in 2015 showed that the smart home market will grow to more than $50 billion in 2020.  A smart home integrates your smart devices with other appliances in your home and allows you to control them without having to be in your house. For instance, you can unlock your door for a friend when you are not at home, or turn on the air conditioner before you get home after work just by tapping your smartphone.

Smart homes often offer green solutions like systems that manage energy consumption in a home. They often focus on HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems and appliances.

Smart Cars

Cars that apply IoT in their systems rely on several onboard sensors and connect to the internet. You can seamlessly sync your mobile devices (smart watches or smartphones) with a smart car for things like real-time map updates and personalized streaming music selections. You can even start and stop car’s engine, and open the car doors with your smart device. Smart cars can communicate with your smart home so that your garage door will immediately open when you arrive in your driveway. Tesla cars already have many of these features, but other companies like Apple and Google are also working on the next revolution of smart cars.

Smart retail, smart cities, power grids, healthcare, and more currently use IoT.

IoT Future

The future belongs to anything that can connect to the internet to transfer data. IoT will manage traffic, measure employee output, monitor shopping patterns, as well as prevent disease outbreaks. They may also monitor residential areas that have high levels of insecurity. There are some who are concerned that connecting everything to the internet makes them vulnerable to hackers. Sharing data through networks may also raise concerns about privacy. Despite this, IoT presents many possibilities for companies that want to create great products that make living life more convenient.

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