The Internet of Things Explained

Internet of Things

Some new technological terms rarely get used every day, but others enter the lexicon for good. “Checking your tablet” would have meant something completely different a decade ago, compared to what it means today. In a similar vein, the term the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming more prevalent, but what does it mean and what is it?

The basic idea of the IoT is connectivity over the internet to items which aren’t traditionally seen as computers. The idea isn’t a new one either, with the first internet connected toaster seen at a conference 1989. The idea behind the IoT is to give information from everyday objects which then informs you through your smart phone, tablet, laptop or desktop.

Mobile internet usage on smartphones and tablets has increased our connectivity, which has resulted in the recent flourish of devices connected to the Internet of Things. Although mundane, one of the most accepted and embraced methods of using the IoT is the control of household heating and energy usage. This is linked to the internet to give you control of heating and cooling systems whilst away from your house, or linking to weather forecasts and adjusting accordingly.

There are a range of other devices which are in use which you might not have realised were part of the IoT, such as exercise tracking devices which store track, upload and store your devices which can then be seen later online.

It also extends beyond interpersonal use and on to city wide levels – and in some cases worldwide. Traffic monitoring can adjust traffic flows automatically, bins can let waste management know when they need emptying and a range of other devices can communicate with each other to improve efficiency.

How secure is it?

People are increasingly wary about their private data – even though nearly every aspect of our lives can be logged and recorded. This creates a problem for the IoT as the information gained can give away secondary information which you might not want to share. E.G. energy usage showing when you are at home or not.

At the moment it is seen that the risks to security are fairly low due to the small usage of such devices. It basically isn’t worth the time of a hacker to “take control” of your fridge and possibly turn it off or waste some energy. As uptake increases, security will be increased – so this is an issue, but it will be rectified over time. So in short, it is secure and safe to use.

How will it affect my business?

Depending on your industry, you may already be using it. Manufacturing and farming industries use sensors and monitoring tools to send information to a central point. This can then be used to adjust working conditions, increase output, increase efficiency and generally give information across a wide range of situations.

As all businesses have different priorities and working methods, you will be able to use it in different ways, and the major limitation is the skill and imagination required to implement systems. From tracking workers with greater accuracy and recording jobs automatically to checking if there is enough water in the kettle for a cuppa, the possibilities are huge.

What does the future hold?

Most new technology can succeed or fail with the uptake or lack thereof, but with the IoT, it is already utilised across numerous industries. With this in mind, it is likely that usage will only increase.

The IoT encompasses a wide range of functions which can help businesses, meaning that nearly everyone can benefit. In addition to this, new functions are created continually, and can be customised to suit your needs. For more information about how Unified World can help your business adapt the Internet of Things to your requirements, get in touch with us today.

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