For many years, Internet of Things A.K.A IoT is making a lot of noise. This technology is not going to slow down anytime soon what with the number of connected devices increasing every year. In 2018, the number of connected devices is expected to surpass 11 billion and this doesn’t even include the computers and smartphones. This will ensure the tech remains a hot topic for many more years. Hearing about all this at the workplace and outside of it has got you wondering what is IoT? How can IoT help?
What is IoT?
IOT is a network of physical objects which are connected to one another and are accessible through the internet. We can simply put it as one giant platform of connected things and people that interact with one another to collect and share data on how they are used and the environment surrounding them.
IoT devices come in all shapes and sizes, be it your smart microwaves that can automatically cook food for the right duration, driver-less cars with in-built complex sensors that detect obstacles in their path or a wearable fitness device that automatically counts the number of steps you take and your heart rate and suggests tailor-made exercise plans for you.
Decrease in the cost of connectivity due to the availability of broadband internet, increase in the of number of devices with Wi-Fi capabilities and inbuilt sensors, increase in the penetration of smartphones and low technology costs have created a perfect platform for the growth of IoT.
How does an IoT system work?
The IoT system is comprised of four unique components – sensors, connectivity, data processing and user interface. A standalone sensor or a device with multiple sensors will collect data from the surrounding environment which can be a simple temperature reading or a complex full video feed. The sensors or the device is connected to the cloud via WiFi, satellites, Bluetooth or can be connected via Ethernet to the Internet. Each option is weighed by its range, bandwidth, and power consumption. Though the purpose of all the options is to get data on to the cloud, choosing the best connectivity option boils down to specific IoT application.
In the cloud, the data gets processed. Data processing can be simple such as finding out whether the temperature reading is within the range or complex such as using Image recognition on video to identify any intruders in your house. The final process is to convey the information to the user in a convenient manner. This could be via an alert such as email, notification, and text or through an interface where the user can check proactively. In some cases, it can even automatically adjust the sensors without the help of the user. But in cases where user input is required, the user can interact via the interface and the info is sent backward from the user interface to the cloud and finally to the sensors to make some adjustments.
How can IOT help?
IoT has the scope to change the world around us. We are already witnessing its impact but are yet see this tech reach its full potential. It is going to change the future of many industries by reducing costs through the improvement of process efficiency, productivity and asset management. It will help them in making smart decisions by providing analytics and insights in real-time.
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