General

What is the Internet of Things?

3 min read
iotbasics

So you have heard the buzz words "Internet of Things" and you have wondered what it means. It is more than just a buzz word. Let's cut to the chase.

What is the Internet of Things?

A "Thing" in the IoT context is any device that is connected to the internet. This device, can of course communicate with other devices that are connected to the internet. So, the huge web of these internet-connected devices communicating with each other forms Internet of Things.

It can be any kind of device like your smartphone, wearables, smart light bulbs. Or any devices that you control using Alexa at your home. Also, the device running Alexa itself.

How does it impact you?

We are not far away from the future where every physical thing that can be connected to the internet, will be connected. This future is almost here. If you have communicated in messenger with other people over the internet, you are already a part of the Internet of Things. In near future, you might have a smart refrigerator, which adds milk to your shopping list when you are out of milk ; or better, orders milk for you. These refrigerators already exist. But, they are just not main stream yet. This is just one example. These kinds of applications are possible for every single physical device you own and use. So, to put it simply, there is no escaping from the Internet of Things, everyone will be impacted by it in one way or the other.

How does it impact the world?

It gets really interesting now. On a broader scale, IoT can be used in Smart Cities where everything in the city including the traffic lights, street lights, and water supply systems is connected to each other. Every system can be connected to various types of sensors and these generate a huge amount of data. The data can be analyzed and the systems calibrate itself to save a considerable amount of energy. It can be also that, a car is connected to all the cars around it and in the future, we might be looking for roads without any accidents at all. IoT can transform the whole healthcare sector and can help save a lot of lives. The possibilities are limitless.

Challenges

Every coin has another side. An exponentially growing number of devices poses many challenges that need to be fixed. Security is one of the important ones. With billions of devices connected to each other, how can the information stay secure? What if some crazy guy hacks into your refrigerator and orders 100 cartons of milk just to mess with you? Yes, it is possible and it is always in discussion how can these be more secure. Every year we are advancing towards making IoT more secure. Being a relatively new and broad topic, it needs some years for everything to be established. Like everyone, I hope this to happen soon.

Conclusion

The Internet of Things offers some pretty interesting applications in making our lives easier. Many industries like in Healthcare, Transportation, and Industries can make use of it. However, various factors like security, privacy, and data storage also need to be considered before adopting it in a very large scale.

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