The Internet of Things (IoT) acts as an expanded version of the internet, providing us with the data we need to live our lives more efficiently. It is based on connecting up devices used on a daily basis, such as refrigerators, thermostats and HVAC systems, to a centralized cloud system. The data that comes in from these IoT devices lets us access and control technology through a web-based app – and make sense of the myriad information coming in.
It acts as a network of devices, vehicles, buildings and other items that have the technology embedded in them. This could be in the form of sensors, software, tags and network connectivity that allow us to view how items are being used, and how to improve the way they work.
Using currently in place network systems, smart devices are linked up for users to access and control through their tablet or smartphone devices. This access is possible no matter the user’s distance from the connected devices. All users need is a web-based app downloaded onto their smartphone or tablet and a secure internet connection, to access information. With the information ready at their fingertips, users can make more informed decisions on how to improve the way these devices work and make their lives easier.
Connected devices that form the IoT can range in size, from something as small as a heart monitoring implant, all the way up to vehicles or HVAC systems installed in a tower block. With the information on board, the Internet of Things helps users make more informed decisions that are based on actual, up-to-date data.
This way, we can cut financial, time and energy wastage to a minimum, giving employees and homeowners more time to focus on the important things. For instance, city authorities can take the steps needed to track pollution and traffic levels throughout the day – and take the appropriate steps to reduce pollution-related ill health. Hospitals can prevent the spread of infections and keep their across-the-board inventories accurate. Drivers can also use incoming traffic data to plan their journeys and to know when to expect delays to their journeys – or even to plan alternative routes.
On a smaller level, the IoT’s inclusion in homes has led to the concept of smart home systems. Put another way, home owners can now create a home automation scheme, where connected devices can be controlled by the simple click of a button. Although it has also created a debate on how private our information remains, home owners can keep track of their home devices, all from the comfort of their sofa.
Whether it’s automating light switches to switch off when rooms are empty, to altering thermostat temperatures or switching their coffee machine on in the morning, homeowners can increase the efficiency of their home whilst cutting costs. Smart home security features have also gained an upgrade through the IoT, allowing homeowners to: lock and unlock their doors at the swipe of a button; see visitors at their door; and take snapshots that can be viewed via smart phones.
With this technological network on board, the Internet of Things has eased – and personalized – the way devices form a part of our world.