So what is the Internet of Things? Is it something to do with internet and technology or is it a debate about whether the internet has become tangible?
Well don’t sweat it, we’re here to explain exactly what the Internet of Things is.
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept of connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet, letting them talk to us and each other via applications. It’s a concept that not only has the potential to impact how we live but also how we work.
The IoT is about devices that can sense aspects of the real world. This includes everything from mobile phones, wearable devices, lights, coffee makers, security cameras and so much more. This also applies to components of machines, for example, the jet engine of an aeroplane or the drill of an oil rig. If it has an on and off switch, chances are it can be a part of the IoT.
But the IoT isn’t a new concept. Tech companies have been discussing the idea for decades, in fact the first internet-connected toaster was unveiled at a conference in 1989.
What are some Internet of Things devices?
- Smart fridges: What if your fridge could tell you it was out of milk by texting you? To do so, it uses internal cameras to see how much milk is left. It can even check whether your eggs are expired!
- Heating systems: In Britain, the most common IoT devices are heating systems. They have smart functions that let you turn on heating remotely or you can set them to automatically adjust the temperature based on the weather. If it’s a sunny day, they’ll turn down the temperature or even turn off if there’s no-one home.
Those are just two examples of IoT devices, the IoT is much more than just smart homes and connected appliances. Think smart cities – connected traffic signals that monitor utility use, smart energy and even waste management with smart bins that signal when they need to be emptied.
The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people). The relationship is between people-people, people-things and things-things.
The future of the Internet of Things
BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, expects there will be more than 24 billion IoT devices on Earth by 2020. That’s approximately four devices for every person on the planet.
And as we approach that point, $6 billion will flow into IoT solutions including application development, device hardware, system integration, data storage, security and connectivity. But that will be money well spent as those investments are expected to generate $13 trillion by 2025.