What is Internet of Things (IoT)?

Internet of Things (IoT)is becoming a popular topic of conversation.  You probably must have heard it even if IT is not your field. This concept has the potential to impact our lives and the way we work.  If you are here to understand what it means, you need to stick to the basics because it is surrounded by a lot of complexities.

So what is Internet Of Things?

It is a system of unified computing devices, people, digital machines, objects and even animals that are provided with unique identifiers. It is also the ability to transmit data over a network without any human to human as well as human to computer interaction.

In other words, Internet of Things is a network of physical internet-connected devices that collect and share data across a network. You can also say that it is a term used for describing objects connected to the internet. It includes everything starting from your smartphone, washing machine, lamps, coffee maker, headphones and almost anything you can think of.

According to Gartner, by the year 2020, we will have 26 billion connected devices.  Now the question is, why would we want so many connected devices talking to each other?  Let’s suppose that you are heading to an important meeting and your car has access to your calendar. It will hence know which route to take to make you reach your destination in time. If there is traffic out there, your car will notify the other party via text message that you might be late. There could be so many more possibilities.

Internet of things can be put into 3 categories:

  • Things that collect information and send it
  • Things that receive information and act upon it
  • Things that perform both functions mentioned above

How do IoT devices work?

When it comes to IoT, smartphones play a big role. You can control a majority of the IoT devices through an app installed on your device. You can even use your smartphone to control the thermostat and change the temperature of your heating or cooling system at home.

IoT devices usually contain sensors and minicomputer processes which act on the data gathered by the sensors through machine learning.  These devices are like mini computers that are connected to the internet and they could be vulnerable to hacking and malware.  Through machine learning, computers learn what actions they are supposed to perform. They collect data from their surroundings for this purpose. With the help of this data, they learn your preferences and adjust themselves accordingly. Machine learning is similar to Artificial Intelligence. It helps computer learn without entering a code or program.

What are the benefits of IoT?

  • IoT has been designed to make our digital lives easier. For example, you can use smart voice assistants for placing your takeout order and have fresh food delivered at your doorsteps.
  • With the help of IoT, you can measure and manage hazardous environments without putting people at risk. You can put the monotonous tasks on autopilot and let machines take care of them. This would produce higher yield and reduce the downtime. As a result, you will have more time for productive work.
  • With the help of empirical data, you can analyze large trends and make smart decisions. You will have data backed visibility to manage every aspect of your business. The testing cycles will reduce, and the cost to optimize the process will reduce too. You will become better at decision making than ever before.
  • IoT will improve efficiency of your business and help in more revenue generation. It will only be a matter of time before IoT data analysis will let you realize new business functions. You could land onto new opportunities of revenue generation. It can give your organization a strategic advantage.

Could anything go wrong?

Remember that no matter what type of technology it is, it has the potential for good and bad. IoT can make our lives convenient but this connected technology opens doors of opportunities for cyber attacks. There is a possibility that someone could hack your IoT security camera and watch your every move. A cybercriminal can activate your smoke alarm or even open your front door lock. With connectedness come vulnerabilities.

As IoT continues to grow, it will open more opportunities for cyber crimes and online threats. One best way of protecting your network devices is to make sure the router in use is secure. As you protect the Wi-Fi network, you will be protecting the devices that are connected to it.

News Reporter

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