The Internet of Things– and how it can work for you
The Internet of Things (IoT) is probably the most discussed topic in computing today.
However, before discussing the concept of the IoT and how you can use the technology to benefit
Your business, it would perhaps be better to explain what the IoT is – and, more importantly, what
The term “things” actually refers to.
A world of “Things.”
Most people are already familiar with the internet as an interconnected network.
In the last 30 years, it has become woven into the construct of society and has afforded a new age
of instant connections and communication.
In the Internet of Things, the same idea of interconnectivity still exists – just, with the
IoT, the network is between things rather than people.
You may note, the term “things” seems remarkably vague and non-specific – but, it turns out, for
A good reason. In IoT terminology, “things” refers to any device with an IP address and the ability
To gather data – then share that data Without human aid or intervention.
Put simply, “things” really means any device we would consider as being “smart”.
The world has grown accustomed, very quickly, to “smart” devices.
Indeed, you likely own a few yourself already: laptops, tablets, cellphones, fitness
Bands, smartwatches, an increasing number of automobiles, even some home appliances.
In essence, “smart” devices are broken down into three categories:
- Things that collect information, then send it
- Things that receive information, then act on it
- Things that can do both
This is the beauty of that seemingly non-specific term, “things”.
In the Internet of Things, almost anything can be connected to the internet to
Potentially send or receive data.
Interconnected devices working together
To understand the possible gains of connecting smart devices, it’s probably best to consider a real
World example showing the IoT at work – let’s say, in farming.
In traditional agriculture, a farmer might decide to water his crops once a week.
In this model, the plants will sometimes get too much water – sometimes not enough.
They’ll likely survive without issue, but this feast/famine supply of water will result in
Sub-optimal growth levels.
Now imagine if the farmer chose instead to install sensors in the soil
Sensors capable of sending him a notification when the ground was getting dry.
Instead of continuing to water the plants weekly, the farmer would now receive
A notification only when the ground was sufficiently dry.
Already, he’s saving time, money and effort by working intelligently.
Extending that idea, imagine if the sensors could pass this same notification to another
Connected system Maybe an irrigation system, capable of interpreting the signal and deploying
Water to the field. Now the process would become fully automated. The plants would still only get
Watered when the soil was sufficiently dry But in this model, the farmer’s input is eliminated completely.
As impressive as this example is, imagine if the sensors and irrigation system were then
Connected to weather Forecasting software to predict when it might rain in the area.
Instead of needlessly watering the ground, the irrigation
Software would intelligently know there was no need to water as rain was on the way.
Interconnectivity means improved productivity
This interconnectivity of devices capable of gathering, interpreting, and responding to data lies at the heart of the IoT.
Imagine extending the process yet further with individual farms across the world, uploading and sharing their data.
The resulting collective library could then be used to let farmers maximize the growing cycle of their crops.
This shared model of understanding has a massive range of applications.
As devices continue to get smarter – and their use becomes ever more prevalent
The IoT will continue to shape every aspect of our lives.
Indeed, while the concept might seem a little alien and futuristic, IoT models are already employed widely in
Manufacturing, transportation, utilities, healthcare, and general consumer electronics. The ability to merge the real world
With the virtual and study our environment in terms of data is already transforming productivity.
When you consider the vast range of uses and their potential benefits, it’s easy to see why there’s so much hype behind the weird
Yet wonderful – Internet of Things.