Also known as IoT, the internet of things is “the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data”. Too technical?
Okay, let’s simplify it a little. The Internet of Things is the concept of connecting any device containing and on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). Basically, if it has an on and off switch, there is a good chance that it can be a part of the IoT.
How is the IoT possible?
Broadband Internet is now commonly available and the cost of connecting is (supposedly) decreasing. In addition, more and more devices are being created with sensors built into them with the capability to access the internet via WiFi. Technology costs are going down and smartphone penetration is booming. All of these things are creating the perfect foundation for the Internet of Things.
What ‘things’ can be part of the IoT?
Everything from mobile phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else that can be made to work electronically. Bathroom scales, door locks, fridges, cars, toys, and even toothbrushes can include internet capabilities.
Also included are components of machines, for example, the jet engine of a plane, the drill of an oil rig or the motors that power a field of satellite dishes.
How does this impact me?
Like it or not, the Internet of Things will be a large part of the future for us all. It has been said that “Anything that can be connected, will be connected.” In your home, the IoT will aim to make your life more productive and simpler, and on a broad scale, the IoT can be used in “smart cities” to improve things such as transportation networks, waste refuse collection, energy usage, essential services, etc.
Should I be worried?
With billions of devices being connected, what can people do to make sure that their information stays secure? Will someone be able to hack into your toaster and get access to your bank account? Will my daily movements find their way into the hands of criminals? With Facebook, we have already seen how sharing too much information can make you a target for thieves. We also have the issue of privacy and data sharing to consider and act upon.
This is a hot topic and in the future companies need to figure out a way to store, track, analyze and (most of all) secure the vast amounts of data that will be generated.
What are your thoughts on the IoT? Are you looking forward to a future where all things are connected? Does it excite and amaze you, or do you feel that we are moving towards a worrying era of privacy and security concerns.
Thanks for reading!
This ‘Technology’ article was written for an expat magazine in Spain. The readers of this magazine are often middle to old aged and not very technology minded so we have designed the articles with these people in mind, however they can be enjoyed by everyone, and perhaps even the most up-to-date techie may find them of interest too!