The Layman’s exposé on the Internet of Things

There’s a lot of conversation recently about the Internet of Things (or IoT) and its impact on everything from the way we travel and do our shopping to the way manufacturers keep track of inventory.

Despite all the talk, I still wonder what exactly is the “Internet of things” and what impact is it going to have on me, if any?

There are a lot of complexities around the “Internet of things” I did some research and here’s what I came up with, I’ll try to stick to the basics.

Let’s start with understanding a few things.

Broadband Internet has become more widely accessible, the cost of connecting is decreasing, more devices are being created with Wi-Fi capabilities and sensors built into them, technology costs are on the decline, and smartphone penetration is hitting the roof.

All these things are creating a “perfect breeding ground” for the IoT.

What is the Internet of Things?

In a nutshell, the Internet of Things is the concept of connecting any device (so long as it has an on/off switch) to the Internet and other connected devices. This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of.

How does it work?

Devices and objects with in-built sensors are connected to an IoT platform that integrates data from the different devices all over the world and applies analytics to share the most valuable information with applications built to address/tackle specific needs.

These IoT platforms can highlight exactly what information is useful and what information should be ignored. The information gotten from IoT can be used to detect patterns, make recommendations, and detect possible problems even before they occur.

How Does This Impact us?

Eventually, more objects will be added in this category as technology allows things such as toothbrushes, coffee makers, cars, and calendars to be connected. There will be a time when you can wake up to your alarm and all at once your coffee maker will know that you are up and brew you a cup of coffee.

Today, the market is flooded with new appliances and wearables that can interconnect, like a refrigerator that can look inside itself and tell you what food items you are low on and add these food items to a grocery list on your phone. IoT can make our lives easier, more productive and more efficient.

However, the question is, are we ready to live in this kind of world where everything is connected and sharing data? A world where your data can fall into the hands of scrupulous individuals who can hack into your toaster and thereby get access to your entire network. While we are open to growth and innovation, companies must start working on more secure gadgets. Conversations regarding the IoT are (and have been for several years) ongoing all around the world as stakeholders seek to understand how this will impact our lives.

They are also trying to understand and critically analyze what the opportunities and challenges are going to be as more and more devices come on board the IoT. For now, perhaps the best thing that we can do is adequately educate ourselves about the IoT and what the potential impacts (positively and negatively) can influence how we work and live.

Let us know what you think, comment below to share your thoughts!

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