Technology is all around us, and there’s no getting away from it. Digital technologies and smart devices have become an essential part of our existence. Consequently, our lifestyles have changed radically, and inventions that seemed to be part of science fiction are now regular, everyday objects. The Internet of Things is one of the latest additions to our online life.
Even though the term of Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming more and more common to hear, there seems to be some confusion still. Besides, there are many questions that rise from the popularity of IoT. This is why we came up with this simple overview of the Internet of Things. We will talk about what exactly the IoT is, go over some examples of IoT, and discuss some of the benefits it brings.
The Internet of Things refers to the connection of everyday objects and appliances to the Internet network. However, it usually refers to devices that were not able to connect to the internet, but they are now. So, devices like computers and smartphones are not part of the IoT. The Internet of Things encompasses smart appliances, cars, medical devices, and any other tool that has an internet connection.
The research company Gartner estimates that there are 11 billion IoT devices in the world. They also estimate that by the year 2020, this number will go to 20.4 billion devices. This represents an increase of almost 100% in the number of devices.
Like we mentioned before, the Internet of Things encompasses any object that is able to connect to the internet or with other smart devices. Smart home appliances like lightbulbs and thermostats that we can control with specific apps are examples of IoT devices. Other examples include smart TVs, ovens, and fridges.
In addition, bigger scale IoT devices include autonomous cars and trucks that are already changing the way we think of transportation. As if it was not enough, there are projects of smart cities full of sensors that aim at environmental understanding. Most of these projects are still works in progress, though.
Every piece of technology has been developed with the sole purpose of making our lives easier. The Internet of Things is not different. There are several benefits of having a constant communication with and among our devices. Companies for once, benefit from the data they are able to gather. This data allows them to better understand the way their products work after the customer purchases them.
The real benefit, however, is how IoT devices can optimize and improve both our personal and our professional life. Smart cities, for example, aim at lowering the amount of energy and resources that “analog” cities consume.
The Internet of Things might be the solution to most of our modern-life problems. Even when (with artificial intelligence in the equation) some fear that machines will take over the planet, the benefits prevail. The truth is, the Internet of Things is already changing our lives, and so far, IoT has indeed simplified many aspects. We just hope it will follow the same path in 10 or 20 years from now.