Although the "Internet of Things" is not a new concept, there is still confusion about what it is and how it can impact our lives. Because of the complexity and vast opportunities the IoT can bring, we will only skim the surface in our discussion today to provide a general understanding of this "thing" people are so curious about.
What is the Internet of Things?
IoT is a general concept for the ability of everyday objects or network devices to sense, collect and share data. When people use the term "things" when discussing the IoT, they are simply referring to devices. Imagine the IoT as a giant network connecting people with "things", people with people, and things with things.
Almost anything you can think of can be apart of the IoT: watches, coffee makers, vehicles, and even coke machines. Carnegie Melon University introduced the first internet appliance in the early 1980s. Programmers could connect to the soda machine via internet, check the status of the machine and know if their favorite drink was still in stock before making the trek to the vending machine down the hall.
Gartner predicts by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices. The importance of understanding how the IoT can affect your life is crucial given the increasing number of smart devices and opportunities technology is providing.
How can IoT help you?
The value and efficiencies from connected devices are hard to deny when you think about the improvements it could bring to our lives. For example, your car knows there is awful traffic on the road you usually take to get to work. Instead of being late for your morning meeting, your car warns you of the traffic delay and reroutes your path. Don't have time to wait for coffee? Your phone is connected to your coffee maker and knows to start brewing your coffee as soon as your alarm rings. Do you worry about the safety of an older family member? Using wearable alarm buttons and discrete sensors placed around the home you can track your loved one's daily routine and can be alerted for serious disruptions detected. The possibilities are endless when you think of all the different "things" in our everyday lives which can be connected to make our lives easier.
While the IoT offers countless opportunities it also brings uncertainty. With billions of connected devices how can we be sure our data is secure? If we have smart coffee makers and washing machines, will a security breach in one of these devices compromise all of our data? Companies are faced with the issue of security threats and how much data is actually being generated in the network. Security will continue to be a hot topic of discussion as more devices enter the IoT and inter-connectivity drives how we live our lives.
Stay connected with us as we discuss next week how the IoT is used for marketing and sales departments.