What is the internet of things?
• 4 min read, Photo by Dominik Scythe on Unsplash
There are hundreds of tech expressions flying around these days, and it can be hard to keep up. If you want to stay on top, you need to make sure you know your Blockchain from your augmented reality.
One of the expressions you will hear is the ‘Internet of Things’ or IoT. It seems to be just casually dropped into conversations or thrown into articles, but for those of you who don’t spend your lives on Google… what exactly does it mean and how does it affect your lives?
What is it?
The Internet of Things is simply the technology to connect your electronic devices. If you want to use your Bluetooth headphones you first have to connect them to your phone. This is the IoT!
The phrase was first coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, to describe the process of connecting items in your home to the internet. He saw the massive potential of the internet, that we would no longer have to sit down and program or instruct every action, we would be able to set parameters and have objects carry out complex tasks. Working themselves seamlessly into our lives, and boy was he right! A mere 20 years later and the Internet of Things is in absolute full swing.
Why should you care?
Unless you plan on going full mountain-man and living off-grid you will be plugged into the IoT. Even if it isn’t your choice. Transportation, communication, entertainment, child-caring, education, the list goes on, all of these areas are becoming connected.
And, while there may be concerns about safety, security and privacy, the benefits to our lives are incredible. For starters, you can automate the simple things in your life, from alarm clocks to the temperature of your apartment. To the more meaningful things like ensuring that when your children are with the nanny you can keep and extra eye on them from the office; or wirelessly monitor your blood pressure or sugar levels from your phone. Then there are the fun applications; launching a miniature photo drone from your wrist watch, or throwing your own fully-automated party with music and custom lighting.
Even if you are the biggest technophobe there has to be a tiny part of you that can see the massive potential, and also a bit intrigued about what the future holds.
The Internet of Things is growing at an increasingly rapid rate, with huge leaps in tech happening in a matter of years, science-fiction becoming science facts. Take GPS, until a couple of years ago you couldn’t imagine this technology could get any better, well maybe a little more accurate, but this is a matter of software. However, on December 31st 2016 Google introduced us to Waymo, the world’s first, proper self-drive car. This cute little mouse of a car suddenly opened up a transport avenue that had always seemed far-fetched. Now Dubai is actively discussing introducing self-drive cars onto the roads, and soon!
The world is filled with amazing inventors and innovators and they are steadily broadening the Internet of Things beyond our wildest dreams. The next decade is going to be truly fascinating.
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