IoT, The Internet of Things: What is It?

Have you heard of the Internet of Things (also known as IoT)? I admit that I had not. But, it’s a thing – a big thing these days.

 

According to Wikipedia, the Internet of Things is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and the network connectivity which enable these objects to connect and exchange data. The term IoT was coined in 1999.

 

I know – that description may not have helped much. Have you ever used a Google Home, or an Amazon Alexa? If so, you have worked with examples of the Internet of Things at work. The IoT allows objects to be sensed or controlled remotely across existing networks.

 

It’s amazing really that these days we can talk to an electronic device and have it give us all kinds of information. This would have been unthinkable even just a few years ago, and when I was growing up, I’m not sure if even the space-age cartoon “The Jetsons” would have thought this far.

 

And if Alexa seems a little superficial, IoT technology is also used for things with far greater value. Heart-monitoring implants, biochips and cameras tracking animals, car sensors, and devices used by firefighters in search and rescue missions are all examples of IoT technology that have high stakes.  These items are examples of “things” that collect data and use it with help from various technological interfaces.

 

Today, there are a whole group of companies dealing with ad-hoc reporting and self-service reporting  of data that support all the technology that business uses today. We’ve definitely come a long way from the days of pencil, paper, and static printed reports.

Switching On to the Internet

If this is still all a bit confusing, you can think of the Internet of Things as the concept of connecting any device with an on/off switch to the internet. Examples could be cell phones (for instance, I can use internet on my phone if I’m at a place that offers wi-fi), coffee makers, washing machines, etc. Your washing machine doesn’t connect to the internet? Give it time! It has been estimated that by 2020, over 26 billion-with-a-B devices will be connected to the internet.

 

How does all this affect you? Well, in many ways. For instance, your phone could notify you of upcoming events you have on your phone’s calendar. Friends could be sent a text if your phone saw that traffic was heavy along your route to their house. I know – this all sounds very space-age, but it’s the times we’re living in.

 

Can you think of some examples of how the Internet of Things affects your daily life?

5 thoughts on “IoT, The Internet of Things: What is It?

  1. Like most office workers today, I could not function without calendar reminders, voicemail accessible on multiple platforms, wi-fi and searching on my phone. Now, if I understood what an Amazon Echo dot would do for me…. lol

  2. Even though I still work in an office, much of this technology is still way over my head. However, I’ve learned of the usefulness of it. For example, we have a woman in our church who is nearly blind. She uses Alexa to help her with cooking and various other things in the house. What a blessing that must be.

  3. I know so little about this conversation that I hate to expose my ignorance on said topic. I am sure a member of my family owns the item pictured at the beginning of this blog post. I listened to coworkers talk during our lunch one day this week. I thought they were saying that devices like that listen in on what is being said and they found that face disturbing. My take on that conversation may or may not be accurate.

  4. Others might already know about this but it was new to us. We were given an exclusive security system as an incentive to buy the house we now live in. This was 3 years ago but it’s so sophisticated, I feel it should be installed in a mansion out on one of the islands on the west coast of Florida instead of in our little cottage. I can control it from inside the house or from my smartphone, i.e., locking the doors after I get into the car, or unlocking the doors before I get home. I can turn the security system on or off, and control the lights. It’s nice to come home in the dark and have a light on in the house. We can go outside the house and don’t need a key or smartphone to get back in. There is a keypad and we can just punch the code and the door will open! This is a morbid thought but if we should be held hostage and are told to turn off the security system, we have a special code to punch in which notifies our monitoring company to call the police because we are being held hostage. The crook can’t tell the difference because the security system will just go off like it normally does. We’ve had security systems before in other houses but they were nothing like this one!

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing your thoughts.