Internet of Things Defined
The Internet of Things (IoT) is defined as a large system of interconnected mechanical and digital machines, computing devices, people, animals, or objects that have distinctive identifiers. IoT refers to the sophisticated network of objects embedded with electronic systems that enable them to connect to the Internet, exchange data, and adapt their activity. In layman terms, IoT is when everyday objects or ‘things’ are connected to the Internet for many different purposes.
These things have the ability to transfer data without requiring human to human or human to computer communication or interaction.
An IoT object or thing can be anyone or anything – a person with a medical device implant or a car with sensors to alert the driver of any dangerous changes in the vehicle… or just about any other thing that can be assigned a specific IP address that helps to generate exchange of data over a network.
The Internet of Things already is defined by light bulbs, weight scales, thermostats, security systems, and an ever-increasing number of other household appliances and things. Aside from smart home technologies, the internet of things can be found in almost every industry such as manufacturing, farming, urban, planning, and countless others.
The Man Behind the Concept
Kevin Ashton, co-founder and executive director of the Auto-ID Center at MIT, first mentioned this unique idea in 1999 to Procter and Gamble.
According to Ashton, computers are entirely dependent on human beings for their functionality. Humans, due to lack of time are not able to capture accurate data about many things in the world.
His major point was to make computers able to capture and record data about every possible thing on their own, without human dependency. This way humans would know what needed repairing, replacement and any other required set of changes.
According to Steve Leibson, the amount of space our information (data) is taking up is extremely alarming. Because of the sheer volume, data privacy problems are inevitable in the future. IoT Security is an extremely important factor within the Internet of Things.
It has been in the developing stage since it was created, growing bigger and better with very passing day.”
The first internet of things appliance was a Coke machine at Carnegie Melon University in the early 1980s.
The programmers working on the project could check the status and condition of the machine over the internet. It became one of the first internet connected appliances.
The main concept was if everything and everyone had a built-in chip or identifier, their status and ongoing functionality could be monitored by computers from anywhere in the world.
Predictions have stated that there will be more than 30 billion devices connected wirelessly to the Internet by the year 2020. In the near future, the IoT will find applications in almost every possible industry.
How Does IoT Work?
Breaking Down What’s Powering the Internet of Things
There are many technologies that help and enable and power IoT. For example:
- WiFi Direct
- Low-energy wireless IP networks.
- Bluetooth low-energy.
- RFID and near field communication
Current IoT Examples
While more and more consumer products are connecting to the internet, sensors and other Internet of Things technologies can be found in almost every industry.
- Security systems
- Car and trucks (think google car)
- Connected roads
- Connected stop lights
- Patient monitoring and tracking devices
- Biometric sensors
- Fitness tracking
- Temperature, humidity, air pressure and machine operating sensors
- Plant efficiency tracking
- Value chain management
- Performance tracking (think FitBit)
- Sensors in shoes
- Sensors in equipment (ex: sensors in golf clubs)
IoT Security Issues
While many WiFi-connected and Internet-connected devices have increased home security as their aim, the Internet of Things presents security challenges of its own. Last month Sanjay Sarma pointed out that there are no universally agreed-upon architectures for building IoT systems. Your TV remote may operate with one level of data security encryption while your thermostat uses another, and wireless protocols often differ: your Withings scales use WiFi but your portable solar-charged speaker connects through Bluetooth. This means that competing or at least different bridges for connecting devices will proliferate, meaning that it’s harder to agree upon security benchmarks. But as long as top minds of the industry like Sarma are debating the issue, the Internet of Things can only be improved, and stands to benefit and simplify your life in coming decades in ways you can’t yet fully imagine.
When it comes to IoT networking appliances, security has been at times overlooked to an extent. Their products usually come with old rooted software and buyers often fail to change the default passwords for the related smart devices. Stronger password regeneration is also hampered due to this.
There are also a huge number of unsecured devices connected to the internet.
Apart from all the minor flaws, IoT promises new and advanced levels of data transfer along with better security and enhanced programming.
Learn Even More About the IoT
Enter your email address below for the latest IoT information from around the world.