With the rise of Nano Technology, our day to day used electronics decreased in size and increased in functionality allowing manufacturers to replace simple boards operating purely on electrical circuits to mini computers and advanced micro-controllers such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi with processing capabilities allowing it to take decisions based on pre-programmed scenarios and this is where the innovation and the race to smarter, connected, internet aware devices began moving at light speeds where it reached to a point where these devices started communicating with each other with minimal human interference, hence the Internet of Things “IoT”.
So what does the Internet of Things “IoT” actually mean? In order for us to understand this huge concept we must start with a simple answer and move upward.
Internet of Things is a concept of Machine to Machine communications “M2M”, “Things” like devices, appliances and even objects that are equipped with micro computers and sensors that can connect and communicate their internal data and external state via the internet to cloud servers or other similar “Things”.
Techopedia defines it as “The Internet of Things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes a future where everyday physical objects will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices. The term is closely identified with RFID as the method of communication, although it also may include other sensor technologies, wireless technologies or QR codes.”
The concept by itself as a vision is not new to mankind, it is a concept that was thought of by many renowned scientists throughout the history like Nikola Tesla talking about a dream of a wireless covered world back in the 1926 in an interview with him in Colliers magazine. The first IoS device in history was made by John Romkey, a bread toaster that was able to turn on and off based on a network signal sent to it.
To best realise how IoT is changing our day to day lives, we should mention the different real life applications and industries that is currently leveraging from it.
Interconnected electronics and devices that automate and control temperature, lighting, entertainment systems, security and even plants irrigation systems that are connected to cloud based control web and mobile applications, something that was once a luxury available to those who can afford to spare a six digit number, now achievable using DIY kits “Do It Yourself” that costs no more than a few hundred dollars.
Personal wearables that measure your heart rate, blood pressure and sleep cycle. Being a personal wearable device that is internet connected, it will be able to personalise your daily life habits and even get you on a specific diet to your needs.
Next, we will hopefully be able to excel remote patient diagnosis and even preemptive health hazard fighting using internet connected sensors.
By gathering data from various types of deployed sensors and devices that are connected back to massive analytical systems and databases, cities will be able to measure traffic, energy and water usage, even waste management.
One of the live examples of an IoT enabled cities are the electronic road signs that warns drivers of bad weather conditions, congested roads and warning messages of unexpected events that are ahead.
Optimising operations, boosting productivity and saving in resources and costs is an industry’s biggest challenge. Retailers will be able to perform live A/B testing based on their customer’s behaviour and reaction to their store layout using facial expression recognition to measure engagement. Movement tracking of items, automobiles and employees provide businesses with more visibility and a level of security.
The Internet of Things & Big Data
As the amount of deployed sensors that send data back to the cloud increase, it will provide a massive amount of data “Big Data” for the usage of analysis.
Imagine the amount of curated data that companies will have coming all across from several devices, appliances and sensors, we are talking about an expected 44 Zeta Bytes by 2020 which is 44 trillion Gigabytes, a analysis shared by EMC in 2014.
With access to such amounts of data, companies will be able to optimise services and products based on the consumer behaviour. Countries will be able to build far better future cities.
Some look at IoT and especially Big Data as an invoke on privacy and a misuse of information, others extend their concern into how secure these connected devices and appliance are and what will be the effect of a malicious person taking control or gaining access over these “Things”.
I believe that like any other emerging technology, it will have its flows until we learn how to optimise and securely deploy it in our day to day lives.