Trending in Tech World: Learn About the Almighty Internet of Things.
The Internet is continuously evolving, with new trends coming up everyday, it's almost impossible to keep up. One minute you're very informed about happenings in the tech world, the next day you're lost when your techie friends start a conversation about the Internet of Things.
Although, the Internet of Things has been around for a while, people and companies are just becoming more aware of it's advantages especially with the challenges posed by the pandemic last year.
The pandemic forced people to work from homes, businesses and companies were forced to adapt and most of them had to turn to technology to perform their operations.
This opened the eyes of a lot of people to the applications of technology to their daily activities. We saw meetings being held on Zoom, companies were able to recieve correspondence from their workers through the internet and so on.
After it was deemed safe for people to return to work, companies had to look for ways to keep their employees safe. And since they've already seen how technology makes life easy, they were open to the idea of the Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things is the connection of normally dumb devices (like a fridge, microwave, etc.) and people to a network that exchange data, through the use of sensors and a wireless network system.
Wikipedia defines IoT as, "a network of physical objects that are imbedded with sensors, software and other technology for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet."
The Internet of Things was first applied in 1982 by a Coca Cola vending machine that reported when the drinks in it were cold and in 1990 when John Romkey created a toaster that could be turned on and off through the internet.
The term "Internet of Things" was coined by Kevin Ashton of Procter & Gamble in 1999.
According to Steves, the internet itself evolved in three stages, the first stage is the current way the internet is where it connect people to other people (P2P).
The next stage which is where the internet is going and where the IoT is firmly seated; the internet connecting machines to people (M2P).
And the final stage, where machines would be able to connect to other machines through the internet and make decisions based on the data recieved. This stage is not so far with the new heights attained in AI, machine learning, Tesla's self driving cars and the 5G network.
Why would anyone want a connection of devices to the internet to collect data? What's wrong with the traditional way of doing things?
I'd tell you. For one, the application of IoT to daily activities and operations would definitely make life easier. With the unstable power supply in Nigeria, you can easily turn off your electrical appliances at home if the current is too high from your mobile phone. Or play music on your living room TV from your phone in the bedroom.
Applications of IoT
1. For Individuals:
There are little health monitors that can be connected to phones and laptops with the internet that report things like heart rate and I saw one of recent that reports your blood sugar readings to your phone.
People also have devices to monitor their vitals when they are exercising and send the computed data to their phones.
The IoT can be used to create a smart home with smart regular home appliances connected via wireless networks like Bluetooth or WiFi.
The healthcare sector use IoT to track patients progress, monitor when patients are under distress, when patients leave their beds, know which beds or rooms are vacant through sensors and cameras connected to the their private network.
Companies in the industrial Sector can use IoT to monitor the performance of their machineries and also their employees using ubiquitous devices like cameras and sensors.
IDC predicts that companies would invest $1.1 trillion in IoT by 2023.
SES, an American water supply company is already using IoT to reduce water leakage. It plans to use sensors attached to its water pipes to monitor water flow and send reports every 15 minutes (that's a lot of data). The sensors would also alert them to points of water leakage so their engineers can work on them.
Vodafone has made a lot of waves in IoT for businesses. It's recent product for businesses in response to Covid-19 would enable companies monitor the health status of their employees through cameras equipped with heat sensors.
The business sector can use IoT to track the progress of employees, observe employees' work ethics, etc.
The possibilities of applying IoT to daily life activities and operations are vast. And it seems we are only scratching the surface.
A lot of concerns have been raised over the implications of having a world where IoT is the norm.
Top of the shelf is Security; a lot of people have expressed concerns over the security of their homes and businesses. What is the guarantee that their homes would not be hacked (for lack of a better term) into if they eventually use an IoT? In 2016, IoT bots made from outadated tech caused the shutdown of major websites around the world, without meaning to.
There is also the possibility of people's data being easily accessed through the net. With IoT it would be a piece of cake to place people under survellience and violate the privacy of unsuspecting individuals.
Finally, if the above concerns can be addressed, IoT would definitely be utilized and welcomed by individuals and companies alike.
Though for most companies, the major constraint is the cost of installing IoT.
IoT is already in use and evolving, who knows, very soon we'd be boiling rice on our home electric cookers from our offices (lol).
That's it on Internet of Things, thank you for reading.