If you opened up this article to read, that means you have heard about the term ‘internet of things’. Like most other people, you must also be wondering what the internet of things is. What does IoT mean? How does the internet of things work?
In this post, we will answer these questions to have a better understanding of IoT.
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things refers to the billions of physical devices across the globe that are connected to the global internet network. The devices are constantly involved in collecting and sharing data. Now that there are cheap computer chips available and wireless networks, it is possible for anything to become a part of IoT.
When all the different objects are connected, and sensors are added to them, the devices get a new level of digital intelligence, which allows them to communicate and transfer data in real-time without the intervention of a human being.
The Internet of Things makes the fabric of the digital world a lot smarter and more responsive. This enables us to merge the digital world with the physical universe we live in.
An Example of the Internet of Things Device
Actually, any physical object or device can be converted into an IoT device as long as it is connected to the internet and used to control or communicate information.
Let’s take the example of a lightbulb. If a lightbulb can be switched on with a smartphone app, it will be considered an IoT device. Smart thermostats that you might be using in your office or connected street lights are another example of an IoT device.
Some IoT devices are fluffy, like children's toys, while others are rough, like a driverless truck. Sometimes there is a large IoT object, and it comprises smaller IoT components. Take the example of a jet engine, which is an IoT object and is filled with so many sensors that are busy collecting data and transmitting it back to ensure the jet can function and operate efficiently. At a larger scale, there are projects on smart cities that fill up entire regions with small sensors. These sensors enable us to comprehend and control the environment.
The term ‘Internet of Things’ is commonly used for devices or objects that would generally not be expected to be connected to the internet. But when they are, they can communicate with an entire network, independent of any human intervention. This is why a desktop computer is generally not considered an IoT device. Smartphones are also not included in the list of IoT devices. But objects like a fitness band or a smartwatch are always counted as IoT objects.
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Brief History of the Internet of Things
The concept of adding intelligence through sensors to basic items and devices was under discussion in the 1980s and 1990s. However, except for a few early projects, progress in this field was slow because the technology available at the time was not ready for it. The chips used to be very bulky and big, and objects could not communicate with each other effectively.
Processors were very power-frugal enough, and it was not cost-effective to use them for this purpose. When RFID tags came in, this resolved part of the issue. These were low-power chips and could communicate wirelessly. When broadband internet and wireless networking became readily available, things started making progress in this field. Then we had the adoption of IPv6, which provided IP addresses for every single device. This was a major milestone in the development of IoT meaning ‘Internet of Things’.
The term IoT meaning ‘Internet of Things’ was first coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999. But it took a whole another decade for this technology to catch up with its vision. According to Kevin Ashton, the IoT is integrated with the networking and interconnectedness of the physical universe.
Among the first few IoT applications was the addition of RFID tags to expensive tools or equipment, which was used to track the equipment’s location. Because of this technology, the cost of internet connection and adding sensors to objects started to fall. Tech-savvy experts say that the basic functionality of IoT objects could end up costing as low as 10 cents, which will make it possible to practically connect anything to the internet.
This IoT technology was originally of interest to business and manufacturing. Its application to this field was referred to as machine-to-machine or M2M. Nowadays, the emphasis of IoT applications is more on using smart devices everywhere in our personal and professional lives. This transforms the Internet of Things into something that is relevant to everybody. We all use smart devices in our homes as well as offices.
Some other names that have been devised for the Internet of Things include ‘invisible computing’, ‘ubiquitous computing’, ‘pervasive computing’, or ‘blogjects’. But the final term as agreed upon by the experts is IoT meaning ‘Internet of Things’.
How Big is the Internet of Things?
This technology is huge, and it keeps getting bigger and bigger. In the world we live in today, more objects are connected to the internet than the total number of human beings living on the planet.
Benefits of IoT For Businesses
The Internet of Things technology has numerous benefits for businesses. It depends on how different organizations use the opportunities presented to them due to the availability of IoT.
Many companies have already started capitalizing on IoT’s immense value for their efficiency and growth. Some of the benefits they have been cashing on are as follows.
- Companies derive data-driven insights with the help of IoT data, which helps them manage their business operations more efficiently.
- IoT increases the productivity of the manufacturing and industrial sector.
- Some companies create business models using the Internet of Things.
- Businesses operating in the high technology sectors can seamlessly connect their physical operations with the digital world, which gives them a great competitive edge over others as they can derive more value from their time.
The IoT applications for businesses are software-as-a-service applications, also known as SaaS. These can easily compile, analyze and present IoT data to businesses through their dashboards.
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These applications use learning algorithms to analyze huge amounts of sensor data that are available in the cloud and connected to the internet. With the help of these IoT dashboards that update in real-time, businesses can get visibility into the key performance indicators of their operations. They also use this data to access statistics that help them calculate the mean time between failures.
Applications of the Internet of Things often use machine learning-based algorithms, sending alerts to the users and identifying anomalies. The cloud-based IoT applications help businesses enhance their existing procedures for customer service, supply chains, financial services, and human resources. Businesses do not feel the need to recreate complete processes anymore for updating themselves. They simply have to adapt to the IoT technology.
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Benefits of IoT For Customers
The Internet of Things makes our lives and our environment a lot smarter and more measurable. For example, smart speakers enable us to play music, get information, and set timers, all from the same device. Home security systems help us monitor what’s happening inside and outside the house at all times. They also enable us to talk to our visitors before opening the door. Smart thermostats help us keep our homes warm while we are out. Smart light bulbs make it look like people are in a house, even when everyone has gone out.
IoT also has its applications outside our homes. Sensors make us understand how polluted or noisy our environment sometimes is. Smart cities and self-driving vehicles change the way infrastructure and public spaces are built, which impacts our mindset.
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However, one drawback of the Internet of Things for our personal lives is that these innovations at times intrude on our privacy.
With the emergence of the Internet of Things and its numerous applications, we need to make the best business decisions in line with the advancement and adoption of this technology. At Strikingly, we like to keep our operations, services, and features updated at all times so that we can cope with the fast pace of technological developments. We enable our users to build websites all on their own, without hiring a web developer. This saves them time, effort, money, and most importantly, the headache of dealing with hard-core coding to make even the smallest changes to their websites.
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