Concept of Internet of Things (IoT) Simplified

One the most widely used jargon in the digital world today is perhaps Internet of Things. Be it boardroom conferences or living rooms discussions, the concept is much talked about. For a lay person the term Internet of Things can sound like a compilation of unrelated words that don’t seem to convey anything. Though the concept has its share complexities, you don’t have to be a tech-nerd to understand it in totality.

What does Internet of Things (IoT) Mean?

Internet of Things, or IoT, is a broad term that refers to the process of lending unique identifiers to everyday things, ranging from computer devices to people and even animals, to facilitate data transfers over a given network without the involvement of human-computer or human-to-human interactions. It can be defined as a meeting point where Internet, micro-electomechanical systems and wireless technologies converge. The thing in Internet of Things can comprise any conceivable object to which an IP address can be assigned. The Internet of Things examples can be found anywhere today, from animals with biochips to humans living with implants and automobiles with sensors.

Evolution of Internet of Things

The concept of Internet of Things has been in vogue for over a decade-and-a-half now, since the term was first coined in 1999. However, the concept has been around for much longer. Coke became one of the first companies to effectively use this concept way back in the 1980s by successfully connecting one its vending machines at Carnegie Melon University to the internet, enabling consumers to check the availability of the soft drink online. Years later, the Auto-ID Centre, MIT, emerged as one of the first Internet of Things companies worldwide and scores of others followed suit.

IoT Challenges and Opportunities

With an expected outreach to billions of devices over the coming decade, the Internet of Things is like a goldmine in waiting. The concept presents immense opportunities by amalgamating the physical world with its virtual existence like never before. Technological advancements such as cloud technology, big data, omnipresent WiFi networks, coupled with lower cost of bandwidth, sensors and processing, play a crucial role in achieving the highly predictive and personalized connected experience. The networked connections allow for an unprecedented convergence of data, processes and things and present an opportunity of transforming global and local industries like never before. With the right infrastructure, IoT can be used to implement networked connectivity to objects and places once unimaginable.

However, the challenges of security, a heightened need for a unique trust and privacy policy, evolving complex protocols that can be used for mass integration across multiple platforms, legalities related to protocols and turf wars between competitors need to be taken into account and resolved before an all-out inception of Internet of Things can be implemented. Unless these key challenges are resolved, the concept of IoT is likely to be embroiled in social resistance and litigations, thereby slowing down the expansion process.

Internet of Things and You

Most of the noise around Internet of Things is related to the novelty of the concept. Despite having been around for well more than a decade now, the concept of connecting and syncing different unrelated devices to help them work in confluence continues to be an awe-inspiring phenomenon. But how does it impact you on an individual level? It is yet another technological advancement aimed at simplifying human existence. For instance, you could use the IoT system to sync your personal computer with your office boardroom projector and use it to run presentations, or sync the alarm clock in your house with the washing machine and dish washer and have your laundry and dishes done even when in your absence.

On a macro scale, the technology can be effectively used to smoothly run transportation networks, improve waste management and energy efficiency.

A lot has been said and written about how Internet of Things can revolutionize technology and transform human existence as we know it today. The opportunities and challenges posed by Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to evolve and the big picture will emerge only as more and more devices begin to join the IoT cauldron. Considering the full potential of Internet of Things, it is safe to conclude that despite all its applications in the present times, the phenomenon is still in nascent stages.

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