There is no doubt about how internet and wireless connectivity has changed our lives. It has provided us with a virtual platform where people and machines from all over the globe and across are connected. If you thought that’s the limit of what internet can do, then you couldn’t be more wrong. A new term that recently emerged is Internet of Things or also know as IoT technologies, and as a user and consumer you need to know about it.
What are IoT Technologies?
Internet of Things, usually abbreviated as IoT, means connecting various devices through the internet in such a way that they can communicate and transfer information among each other. Any device, such as smartphone, smartwatch, TV, smart switch, refrigerator, speakers, cars, robots, machines, etc, that can be connected to the internet comes under IoT.
How Does IoT Technology work?
IoT technology is like a circuit with various parts. First, the data is collected through a sensor or device. This data could be the temperature of the room, presence of potentially harmful gases or the uncooked food in a microwave oven. Second, this data is sent to the cloud through some wireless connection such as internet, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, etc.
Third, the data is processed in the cloud. This is where the computer or smart software decides what to do with it. For example, compare temperature change, send alert about gas leakage or decide how long to cook the food. Finally, the user interface comes in, which we are all familiar with. We get notifications and alerts about which machine took which action for what purpose.
Applications of IoT Technologies
Internet of Things already has numerous applications in our daily life although, it is not yet a perfect technology. Here are some of its uses you might be familiar with.
Fully IoT integrated Smart Homes
The term smart home is no longer strange, though it may sound very futuristic. A house that can run on its own. Smart houses include the integration of multiple smart devices and appliances to make home management even easier. Appliances such as microwave oven, blenders, coffee makers, thermostats, light bulbs, security cameras, etc, that use IoT technology can make your house more functional while conserving energy.
In factories and heavy industries, IoT is used to operate machines, sensors, and control systems. It ensures full collaboration among these devices to increase manufacturing rate and as a result boost business. In factories, IoT technologies allow real time response to supply demands, make more products in short time as well as optimize supply chain network.
IoT technologies in Agriculture and Environment
Similar to industries, agriculture and environment also require automation of IoT in order to improve. We can use IoT technologies to monitor weather, humidity, rainfall, salinity, minerals in the soil, etc. This enables farmers to deduce which soil is best for which crop.
Make Transportation even Easier with IoT Technologies
It is no news how unsafe the roads can be. Every year there are hundreds of road accidents which can now be prevented with the help of IoT. Smart cars, vehicles, traffic signals and road management can fairly reduce the chances of accidents by monitoring the surroundings on behalf of the driver. This is especially useful in case of airplanes and ships as they rely heavily on weather conditions for smooth operation.
IoT Technologies for Smart Cities
Smart cities are being built all over the globe that are completely automated and connected via Internet of Things. In these ideal cities, IoT technology ensures maximum productivity and minimum waste. The prime example of smart city is Songdo in South Korea, which is one of the first smart cities to emerge on the horizon. Another example is Santander in Spain, where IoT is leading businesses to optimize their products according to the public trends. The data is collected through its Smart city app, which runs on smartphones and help citizens make the most of their time.
IoT for Healthcare and Telemedicine
Smart healthcare uses all the medical resources and services at hand and automates them in such a way to allow maximum communication of data. Multiple devices can be connected via IoT that monitor the heart rate, blood pressure, sleeping patterns and condition of recuperating patients. It is also used to monitor complex surgeries, implants and suggest the best treatment plan. In homes for senior citizens, IoT integrated devices help authorities to keep a close eye on the inhabitants and be readily available when they require assistance.
How will IoT Technologies Impact our Future?
No one can deny the massive impact IoT technologies have on human lives and how much will our lives change in the near future. It should be noted that IoT, like other scientific technologies, is progressing rapidly and the day isn’t far when it controls most aspects of our life. But is it all beneficial? Does IoT not pose any threat or has side-effects? It does. Here is what you need to keep in mind.
The advantages of IoT technology are numerous and obvious. No one can deny them neither can anyone stop IoT technology from developing as it seems like the next natural step. There are multiple positive effects of IoT, such as conservation of energy, increased productivity, reduced waste. It isn’t limited to natural resources but also extends to human capabilities as well.
The negative effects, however, are just as obvious. They pose legal as well as social problems. Since all those automated sensors and monitors will be keeping eyes on us 24/7, it will give rise to the so-called Big Brother. Soon their use will increase so much that instead of serving surveillance purposes for our safety, they will hinder our freedom and movement.
Furthermore, the massive amount of data collected by smart apps and devices, who does it belong to? The consumer or the manufacturer? The legal consequences of fully integrated IoT life are manifold and there will surely be a great change in our laws to accommodate them.
The biggest threat, however, is not the technology or the machines. It is human beings. Because IoT devices are connected to each other and contain data regarding every aspect of a person’s life. They pose security risks. So far, IoT security is non-existent. It has been demonstrated how easy it is to hack into a smart system and steal a user’s information.
Similarly, it is equally easy to hack a smart car and cause accident. There is no end to the havoc that can result due to inadequate IoT security.
In conclusion, the development of IoT technologies is inevitable, so is its involvement in our lives. But the creators will have to pay extra attention to make it safe, otherwise it is an easy recipe for disaster.