How tangled are we within the ‘Internet of Things’?
With Internet of Things (IoT) gaining ground, the application it offers is boundless. Also known as Internet of Everything, it simply means connecting objects and appliances we use in our day to day life with the Internet. Today, the Internet has been incorporated in everything: from television sets to refrigerators.
The concept of IoT has been around for a long time. If you’re not aware of the term, you are most likely to know its principle. In case you haven’t heard about it yet, either you are too busy living your life to the limit, or you are unplugged from the world, and I truly envy your peace of mind.
IoT was first coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, co-founder of Auto-ID Center at MIT, in a presentation he delivered then, and the term has stuck ever since. As a matter of fact, IoT has been an integral part of our lives since 1974. How? The ATM (Automatic Teller Machine)! It is considered to be one of the first IoT objects, followed by a Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, US, that used to keep a track of how many Coke bottles were remaining in it and whether the Coke in the machine was cold or not.
What makes IoT such a hot favourite topic and persuades researchers to spend millions of dollars every year for its advancement? Well, to answer this, let’s look at some of the domains in which IoT has already left its mark: transportation, healthcare, home systems, security, machine monitoring, cities, etc. Simply put, IoT has emerged in all possible areas of human existence and is reshaping our lives constantly. Imagine yourself waking up in the morning and as soon as the alarm shuts off, your coffee machine starts brewing the perfect blend you like, or you are leaving home for work and your umbrella changes the color to notify you about the possible rainfall you might encounter as per the Weather Forecast. You can name endless possibilities in which IoT can simplify your life even without you being aware of it. IoT basically is a network of physical objects that are connected to internet, allowing them to send, receive and exchange data without the need of human intervention.
According to Forbes, already about 5 million things are connected to the internet enabling IoT in the market. More so, there is an estimation that the market for IoT will increase up to 1000 times in the next 5 years. Putting it in numbers, 50 billion things would be integrated with internet by 2020!
Purpose of IoT
IoT is used for a variety of different reasons and the most important ones being:
- Monitoring things: Recently, IoT is being used predominately as wearable devices. Fitbit bands are a leading example along with number of different wearable devices that fall under this category. Devices like Fitbit utilize IoT to monitor and analyse different physical activities related to you and to act according to the purpose. There are even wearable devices that can serve as a life-saver. For instance, if a person has cardiac arrhythmia or increased heart rate while sleeping, and their blood pressure reduces, their device sends a notification to the nearest hospital to send an ambulance for them. This is merely in the realm of healthcare. IoT can even work wonders for IT and various other fields.
- Managing things: Lately, Google Nest has been a hot buzz in the market. For those who do not know about it, Google Nest is a digital learning thermostat which controls the temperature of your home without you needing to program it every time. Initially, it needs some scheduling and learning, but eventually, it calculates the amount of time you are at home and the temperature you are comfortable with and adjusts it accordingly, without your help. IoT has made this possible. There are devices that automatically sense the illumination required by you at a particular time of the day and adjust the brightness according to your needs. Smart homes have certainly become a trend now. Moreover, they reduce your expenses by 20% or more every year.
- Controlling things: IoT has gained its most interest among people around the globe for this purpose. For example, you are about 5 miles away from your home and you have programmed your air-conditioner to be activated as soon as you reach the vicinity, or perhaps use a mobile-phone app to control your television sets and air-conditioners. These are all very common examples where IoT has already set its foot.
Hate it or love it, one thing is for sure; IoT is no fiction, it is here! ‘Barcelona’, a declared smart city for past 10 years, has many offices and buildings having IoT deeply embedded into its infrastructure. ‘The Edge’, an office of Deloitte in Amsterdam, is named as the smartest building ever constructed on the planet with smart lights and devices completely meshed with your smart phones and wearables. IoT will continue to mature and permeate every aspect of our daily life.