Have you ever heard someone or maybe even you say “I took 10,000 steps today”? If you are conversant with wearable fitness devices, you know the person got that information from the device wrapped around theirwrist while going about their day’s activities. These days, if you are a sports lover and watch soccer, goal-line technology is put in place so there are fewer disputes about whether the ball crossed the line for a goal. There is a sensor in a soccer ball that communicates to the referee’s watch via the internet whether the ball has crossed the line or not. This utilizes not one but different technologies and it is widely used in other sports like cricket, tennis, and snooker.
The above scenarios use what is referred to as the Internet of Things technology by using different technologies, devices, and objects all connected via the internet to achieve whatever aim is needed.
Basically, the Internet of things, often called IoT, is the concept or system of connecting any physical device to the internet and to other connected devices. Objects like home appliances, vehicles, machines, etc. use sensors and application programming interfaces called APIs to connect, collect, share and exchange data over the internet about the way these devices are used. It depends on technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, big data management tools, cloud computing, predictive analysis, automation, embedded systems, data science and radio frequency identification (RFID) and so on to work. You can read more about it here.
How It Works
An IoT system integrates four different components and different types of technologies at the same time. The components include devices/sensors, internet connectivity, data processing, and a user interface. The devices and sensors communicate and send data via internet connectivity to the cloud. Software process the data recorded and based on that performs the action needed. If the user needs input or feedback, the user interface comes into play. As in the case of the wearable device above, the user interface is the fitness device while for the referee, it is his watch.
How IoT Applies to You
You may be wondering how the internet of things affect or applies to you. One way or the other, you would have used or come across IoT technologies as you go about life, except of course, you live on the backside of the desert which is not likely to be true given that you are reading this article. While you can check https://www.simplilearn.com/iot-applications-article to see how IoT is used in the real world, we will briefly discuss a few ways here.
Wherever you can get internet, IoT is available there. The simplest and most common example of IoT is your smartphone which is an important device in today’s scheme of things. You have software connected to the internet and to other devices on it.
IoT is broadly used in everyday life applications in the home; smart homes, smart TVs, smart garages, smart speakers, security systems, thermostats, etc. Virtually all devices can be connected to the internet these days. In fact, any object or system with the prefix “smart” as in smart TV utilizes IoT. In the office, your computers, printers, security systems, photocopiers all utilize IoT. IoT is also useful in sectors of the economy like agriculture, finance, sports, transportation, etc.
To illustrate the above, imagine you are driving down to a meeting and while on your way, your car check engine light comes on. You are running late and cannot head straight to a garage and at the same time, you are worried if it is something serious that can make the car stall on the road or might affect something else and needs to be fixed immediately and wondering what to do. If your car is smart and has IoT technology, the engine light sensor will communicate with other sensors and devices in the car and then send the relevant information to your car manufacturer. The manufacture, in turn, can work on this information and communicate back via systems in your car on what you need to do.
There are many ways we use the internet of things in our lives daily. Despite being around for a couple of years now, it is still in its early days and in the next few years, it is expected to boom. Aside from making our lives easier, it will create many opportunities not only for manufacturers and consumers but also users as it drives efficiency, higher productivity and provide enhanced customer experiences.