Understanding the Internet of Things
Smart cars, smart homes, smart TV’s, all of these terms have become commonplace recently and in the future, they are going to become even more so. The question on many people’s lips, however, is what makes these things smart and what are they?
In a nutshell, smart devices, cars and systems are all part of what is termed the ‘Internet of Things’, or IoT. At a base level, the Internet of Things refers to the connection between everyday objects, the Internet and one another. The goal of anything connected to the IoT is to provide a more efficient – or a smarter- experience.
Technologically speaking, the IoT is relatively new and for the average consumer it may seem somewhat complex. As debates swirl around privacy, security and standardization an increasing number of companies and big brands are climbing aboard the IoT bandwagon and releasing products for the real world.
To better understand the IoT Synergo have taken a look at how it works, the products it is associated with, and the challenges that are being faced.
An Overview of the IoT
The Internet of Things has been described as a constellation of inanimate objects that are designed to include built-in wireless connectivity so they can be controlled, monitored and linked over the Internet by a mobile app. These inanimate objects span numerous categories, from light bulbs to wearables, to home appliances and even cars. The IoT is also being utilised by other verticals, including the health care and medical industries, and in transportation systems, as it is hugely versatile.
The point of the IoT is to streamline users everyday lives and to make them more efficient, use less energy, potentially save money, or save time. A great example of this is a smart home device that controls a thermostat. If the homeowner leaves and forgets to turn down the heat, they can do so remotely, thus saving a full day’s costs. Additionally, if they want a warm house when they return, they can turn the heat back on an hour in advance.
An Ever- Broadening Scope
As the Internet of Things expands, the applications for this type of technology are almost limitless, and could be applied in all areas of our daily lives. From being able to turn the heat on and off to turning on lights when you are away from home, activating security systems, turning on the oven or locking the car, the IoT has numerous advantages.
The Internet of Things is also being used by cities to keep tabs on things like the number of parking spaces available in specific areas, the air and water quality and the volume of traffic, and there is plenty of opportunity for growth here too.
The Technical Side of the IoT
The Internet of Things may sound complex, but if you have a basic technological knowledge it’s quite easy to comprehend. The underlying technology makes use of various wireless radios that allow devices to connect to the Internet and one another, such as Wi-Fi, RFID, NFC, and Bluetooth.
Then there are the ‘things’, such as motion sensors, light bulbs, locks or TV’s, and in some cases, there is also a central hub that allows devices to connect to one another. Lastly, there are the cloud services that enable the collection of data so that it can be analyzed, and allows for users to act using an app. Essentially the IoT has 3 components, the communication center, the device and the result.
The Shape of Things to Come
At present, there are a huge number of companies working on IoT projects, with many trying to create standardization so that all devices can talk to one another, across the board. LG, Samsung, Apple, Philips and Google are just a few of the big names who are working on connected devices, and Gartner estimates that by the year 2020, 25 billion connected devices will be in use.
The growth potential for the Internet of Things is almost unprecedented. Not since the launch of the first mobile phones has there been so much scope for changing the way we live in a technologically enhanced fashion.