What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things

internet of things

Pic credit: cobotsolutions.com

Stepping into a world of technology, we are constantly surrounded by devices all around us. The mobile phone has become a necessity, the laptop is an essential for managing work, the tablet comes in handy and the internet is the ultimate need! As for the internet, the inevitable impact it had on the lives of everyone in a span of a decade was unprecedented. The average time an ordinary person spends on the internet today accounts for a day in a week! With the revolutionary technology and devices in the market today, internet has become its driving force. But with the already existing tech, what is then the internet of things?

The internet of things is the idea of inter-connecting every ‘thing’ to the internet, be it a building, a vehicle, or an appliance. It is one of the current research areas with the concept that aims at connecting every possible thing to the internet so as to enable them to collect and exchange data, and also to monitor them at the same time. These things are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to perform the tasks of collecting and sharing information. The ability to embed devices with limited CPU, memory and power resources will see IoT find its application in every field, from health monitoring devices in medial field to environment alert devices in ecosystems.

The technology becomes an instance of the more general class of cyber-physical systems, which also encompasses technologies such as smart grids, virtual power plants, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart cities. Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of about 30 billion objects by 2020.
Home automation is an example of IoT’s implementation in daily life. It includes tasks such as the control and automation of lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems, and appliances such as washer/dryers, robotic vacuums, ovens or refrigerators that use Wi-Fi for remote monitoring.

Limitations of IoT

If the Internet of Things is such a revolutionary technology, then what limits its development?
Firstly, the technology is complex and as of now, it is not really focused on the requirements that are relevant to people. This has lead in its potential being unrecognized. Many gadgets in the consumer IoT space have appealed to early adopters, yet failed to demonstrate relevance to ordinary people’s lives.

Secondly, bringing a lot of information online poses a threat to privacy of the users. Consumers need to have ultimate control over collected data, including the option to delete it if they choose. Without privacy assurances, wide-scale consumer adoption seems quite impossible, as the consumers today perceive security concerns to outweigh the value propositions of IoT or any other technology.

Thirdly, the existing internet infrastructure needs reforms to incorporate the newer devices and their needs. This is not a great issue, but the traditional governance structures of companies and ISPs makes it worth noting. With the evolution of organizational capabilities and innovative management practices, this seems a rather achievable task.

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