What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
A full overview.
What is Internet of Things? Why is it so popular? What is “the thing” in IoT? Let’s answer these questions and put some trendy examples for more clarity.
If you ask Google “What is the Internet of Things?”, the answer will be “a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction”. Therefore, IoT enables us to connect with our devices using different types of applications and thus controlling them much easier. The thing, in Internet of Things, could be anything that can be assigned with an IP address – from TVs, cars, refrigerators, to a person with a heart rate monitor implant or a farm animal with a biochip transporter.
So far, Internet of Things is mainly associated with machine-to-machine communication, which helps people do their job better and improves their lives. It has been in development for decades. The first internet appliance was a Coke machine which was manufactured in the early 1980s. The programmers could check the status of the machine through Internet and determine whether or not there would be a refreshing drink awaiting them.
Let’s take a look at some examples of today’s smart things:
1. Smart phones
One of the first applications of IoT and definitely the most widespread is the smart phone. From an ordinary phone that could only call and text, it became one of the most used devices, having internet connection and all types of functionalities. Mobile apps, which can be found in mobile stores, can satisfy almost every need of the consumer. Smartphones can also be used as remote controls for other devices and even as joysticks for those who love playing on big screens.
2. Smart watches
Another great example of what IoT can do for the future is the the smart watch. Connected to internet and hooked up to your phone, smart watches are also the perfect accessory for your hand. Gathering all kinds of data for your body, they can help you during training or measure your current blood alcohol content. Smart watches are extremely useful and will continue to surprise us with new features and great design.
3. Smart cars
The next step in the development of IoT is putting some smartness in cars. The new generation of cars can collect, process and send data to and from other devices. They will awake you if you are falling asleep while driving and warn you if you stray from the road. But don’t worry if you don’t have a driver’s license, self-driving cars are on their way! Recently some companies even want to enable smart cars and smart homes to communicate with one another. Thus, customers will be able to control their homes from their vehicles and vice versa. This will take security systems to a whole new level and make customers feel much safer.
4. Smart parking
Another feature of IoT is smart parking. This application reduces the time drivers spend looking for a parking space by finding a free parking spot wherever they want. Infrared sensors detect if a car is parked on the spot and therefore the app shows if the place is vacant. Such kind of mobile apps are already available in some countries. Thanks to this new technology, the struggle to find available parking spaces in city centers may be over!
5. Smart roads
Talking about smart parking leads us to the next upcoming smart thing – smart roads and highways. The main use of them is monitoring the conditions of the road. All kinds of sensors have information about diversions, accidents or traffic jams and other unexpected events, thus warning drivers which are on the road. This technology is very useful because it can prevent many car accidents. Similar intelligent road technologies are already implemented on Virginia Smart Road, USA. Another future application may appear in the form of motion-sensor lights. They will light up only that section of the road, which is approached by vehicles. Pretty interesting, huh?
We mentioned a lot of “things”, but there are many more still to come.
The Internet of Things is such an overarching theme that is constantly expanding and reinventing itself. So let’s leave it at that and wait for the future to reveal itself. The smart world is coming soon!