what is the internet of things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an interconnected network of physical devices which range from simple sensors to complex smartphones; These smart objects are able to collect and share information via the internet with other smart objects or cloud-based applications.
The Internet of Things has penetrated in every aspect of human life recently; the home, the office, city streets and beyond. Specialists expect the number of active smart objects around the world will be reaching 25 to 50 billion devices by the year 2020.
Using the internet of things could add a level of digital understanding to devices that would be otherwise dumb, allowing them to communicate real-time data without human intervention, effectively merging the computer and physical worlds.
Examples of smart objects
IoT involves extending internet connectivity beyond standard devices, such as desktops, laptops, and smartphones; Therefore these devices are able to communicate and interact across the internet, and they can be easily monitored and controlled.
As we talked above, IoT devices can perform different tasks either inside or outside your home. Regarding this, the products can be categorized into three main groups:
Consumer connected devices include smart TVs, speakers, wearable devices and smart appliances.
smart meter (it calculates energy, water or gas consumption of a building) and smart city technologies -traffic monitoring and weather forecasting devices.
Smart air conditioning, smart thermostats, smart lighting are some examples of industrial usage of IoT devices.
IoT is becoming more and more prominent and many giant companies (in particular Amazon, Google, and Apple) are presenting their services and devices every year. Let’s have a look at some areas that IoT could have impressive benefits.
IoT and smart homes
The smart home is the most popular topic among people and lots of big tech companies are competing hard in this area. Imagine you are on your way to the home and when you arrive, the car communicates with the garage to open the door. When you enter the door, the thermostat is already adjusted to your favorite temperature. Meanwhile, lightning is set for making you more relaxed after a very stressful day.
IoT and healthcare
In the enterprise category, healthcare is growing faster rather than other industries. The ability to monitor patients from long distance is perhaps the best advantage of IoT in healthcare. In some cases, patients are too unstable to travel or transferring them to a hospital may be dangerous. In these extreme cases, doctors can consult with their patients via the internet and IoT devices using video call and audio streaming services from anywhere.
IoT and smart cities
Managing metropolises is one of the challenges that every government is trying to deal with it. Furthermore, the exponential population increase in big cities makes controlling and crisis management even more difficult. As a result, smart cities will become the norm in the major metropolitan areas of the world.
By spreading an enormous number of sensors all over a town, planners can collect data to improve infrastructure, public facilities and also reduce costs.
Amsterdam, for example, has been trying to become a smart city by offering home energy storage units and solar panels for households. These panels are connected to the city’s smart grid and allow residents to store energy during off-peak hours.
What about security?
Security is one of the biggest problems with the Internet of Things. In the majority of cases, sensors are collecting intensely sensitive data. For example, they can record what you say and do in your own home. Keeping sensors secure could be really vital to consumer trust; However, the IoT security track record has been very weak so far. Too many IoT companies still do not implement the basics of security -like data encryption- on their devices.
In terms of software, IoT devices lack the capability to be patched; So it may concern customers that they are permanently under threat.
Hackers are continuously targeting IoT devices such as routers and webcams because their intrinsic lack of security makes them easy to penetrate.
In enterprise and industrial section, the scenario could be worst. Industrial espionage or a destructive attack on critical infrastructure can affect lots of people’s life. So we are going to declare some solutions for solving this problem:
- Force users to install updated software/OS version
- Help users to set complicated passwords
- Presenting a strict access control policy for APIs.
- Using encryption methods while transferring data
conclusion: where is IoT going in the future?
As the price of sensors and devices has dropped recently, it becomes cost-effective for ordinary people to use even if it has little benefits for them. So we can expect IoT to make an attack on traditional businesses. As a result, companies will manufacture innovative smart products to provide feasible solutions to real-world challenges.
With the degree of investment in this area by big companies, we can expect to see smarter cities all around the globe. Additionally, city managers and politicians will try to get the right side of things by building better and smarter infrastructure and deploying better communication technology in their cities.
Due to advancements being made in the industry, we can expect to see more secure and better-protected products in comparison with old IoT devices.
Overall, The usage of IoT based devices will increase rapidly. It will impact people in the future. So next time you get a call, it might be your refrigerator asks you to buy some milk and vegetables.