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The Internet of Things – Demystified

21 May, 16 | illumisoftadmin

The Internet of Things – Demystified

There’s a lot of buzz about The Internet of Things these days and that’s because everyone wants to know when the “next big thing” is going to happen. It certainly looks like The Internet of Things is the default “next big thing”. But what exactly is The Internet of Things? Most of us have a vague idea of what it is, but since it hasn’t yet happened, there are still some gray areas. Let’s first explore what it is.

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is the network of physical objects like cars, devices, buildings and other things which are embedded with electronics, sensors and connectivity that collect data and exchange information with each other. It’s basically the trend to make everything a smart object in our environment. The IoT is predicted to give rise to smart cars, smart homes, intelligent transportation, smart cities and smart grids. Each object will be able to exchange data with other objects and will also be connected to the internet. IoT got its start inside a Coke machine in 1982 which was the first internet-connected appliance. The machine was able to report its inventory and whether newly loaded drinks were cold or not. The convergence of all kinds of different fields, from medical to artificial intelligence, created the basic framework for The Internet of Things.

Let’s take the example of an icy bridge in the future. The bridge has been outfitted with sensors that are able to detect the presence of black ice. After the black ice is detected by the sensors, this information is sent to the internet where it’s stored in a cloud database. Let’s say you’re driving in a smart car that constantly receives information about its surroundings via the cloud. The smart car receives the information about the presence of black ice on the bridge way in advance of actually reaching it. After you have taken notice of this information, you can alter your course to avoid the black ice altogether. This is a simple example of the Internet of Things at work.

If you’re thinking the lines between the physical and virtual are going to get really, really blurry, you’d be correct. According to experts, it’s estimated that the IoT will consist of almost 50 billion objects by 2020. The interconnectedness of these smart objects is predicted to usher in automation in nearly all fields. In the future, automation will just be a part of life and will not be questioned as it is today. This type of advanced scenario is called a cyber-physical system. 

The single most essential aspect of this future scenario is cloud computing. The Internet of Things couldn’t really exist without it. Sure, machines could talk to each other, but the enormous amount of data collected needs to be analyzed, processed and organized. There needs to be tremendous computing power to make sense of all that data. Also, sensors pick up data in real-time and need a place to store it. The sensors need the cloud on a constant basis.

This is just a basic overview of The Internet of Things. There are many other interesting and futuristic concepts contained within IoT. No one is quite sure what the IoT will look like exactly, but pretty much everyone knows it’s just a matter of time before we’re all living inside one giant, world-wide, interconnected computer.