Ever since the beginning of the internet visionary scientists imagined adding some sort of intelligence to basic objects to make every person's life a little bit easier. The idea began in the early 1980s but it was slow to realize due to lack of technological advances.
To gain an understanding of what is IoT we must go back to the past century. In 1999 at MIT, the internet of things term was first mentioned as an idea to bring attention to Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) senior management. In addition to that, a book called “When Things Start to Think” appeared in the same years and drawn the way there the process of IOT should be heading.
IOT applications have evolved from things like wireless technologies, microservices, microelectromechanical systems and, of course, the internet itself. The convergence of these technologies has helped to break down the operational and information technologies, that enabled devices to receive data and make insights accordingly.
Table of Contents
What is IoT?
From airplanes to self-driving cars and many other smaller devices, the internet of things is a reference to numbers of devices around the world that are connected to the internet. Collecting and sharing data, it enables the devices to work on its’ own and adds a “digital intelligence” to them. The electronic devices can communicate in real-time without any person involved and send generated messages.
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To paint a better view of what is IoT, it helps to imagine that it is an ecosystem of devices, machines, appliances or any other things that can be connected to the internet through the wired or wireless network. The established network between devices allows data integration and exchange between the computer system and physical devices. This new chapter of technological advances is meant to be the step towards even better efficiency and productivity of daily people’s life.
Using the latest cutting-edge technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and machine-to-machine communication, the internet of things extends the capabilities of typical physical devices like smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, and laptops. By expanding the connectivity of the devices that mostly are non-connected to the network, the IOT system bridges everyday devices like washing machines, heating systems, door or garage lock so you can monitor, control and provide other actions on a mobile phone or a tablet.
How Does IOT Work?
Just like any other system or mechanism works, the internet of things also has the main steps that are required for it to work. Trying to understand what is IoT and how it works may get confusing, so it is important to take it piece by piece. An IOT system is made of four main components that work together and create the desired output of the scheme. The components are:
One of the main parts of the IoT engine, since it collects and specifies the data from the surroundings. The data that it collects can be considered as a very simple one - it may be a particular timing, geographical location, supply stock, or even such complex thing as the health state of the patient in a hospital. To notice even the smallest changes in surrounding data, the device can have a bundle of sensors that can be capable of more than data collection. The best example of that could be a mobile phone, that provides a lot of other functions while perfectly managing data.
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After collecting the surrounding data IoT devices need to process it somewhere and this is when connectivity plays the main role. Collected data is sent to the IoT platform with the help of a medium. Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Cellular Network and other network connections are crucial in transferring data to the cloud. Connectivity is what mostly defines what is IoT. Choosing the best connectivity method will decide the tradeoff of medium and power consumption, range of connectivity and bandwidth.
As mentioned slightly above, connectivity enables the transfer of data into a cloud where it is stored, analyzed, and processed. The data is processed using a “Big Data Analytics Engine” that helps the system to make better decisions according to the data. Data processing based decisions allow IoT applications to make a wide range of actions. For starters, it can be as simple as turning on the lights when the homeowner comes back at particular hours, or, with the help of surveillance systems, identifies danger or intruders.
User Interface (UI)
The final step of the internet of things process is to notify the main user. It can be done through numerous actions, as an alert, reminder, text message, notification or email. These actions can depend on the functionality of the system itself. An advanced IoT system can arguably control the whole home environment and even more. The user interface allows the user to perform a wide variety of actions, for example, adjusting lighting, temperature, air conditioning in the environment, etc.
One of the best ways to describe what is IoT or how it works is through daily tasks that will be changed after implementing the system.
- The refrigerator will notify the user when it is out-of-stock of particular groceries.
- Kitchen appliances will start working in hours when you wake up or get ready for making dinner.
- Lights turn off or on when it’s time to sleep or wake up.
- The vehicle sends a notification on gas shortage or delays in the road.
As said before, the goal is to make the day easier, more efficient, productive, and overall better for the consumer. The devices will overtake most of the chores without human intervention.
IoT in Labor Market
It is safe to say that the internet of things can bring many benefits not only to the regular life of casual citizens but also for many business organizations and authority institutions. Enterprises have a lot more access, devices, and appliances, therefore it needs even better and accurate overwatch of devices.
Manufacturers realized what is IoT and what are the benefits of its capabilities so they started adding sensors to collect data on their devices. By adding sensors, companies can transmit data back and forth, and see how their products are performing. IoT applications and devices can be implemented in various industries, can offer industry-specific sensors or real-time location devices. By the year 2021, it is predicted that across the industries there will be the amount of 4.4 billion IoT units and it will hit $3 trillion revenue. Let’s take a look at the industries that already started applying cutting-edge technology.
- Medicine and healthcare. The newest sensors enabled doctors to get real-time access to the patient’s health status, collect and store data about it in the cloud. The IoT technology in medicine has significantly decreased the time of typical procedures, simplified the processes while reducing and mitigating disease risks, and improved the use and availability of hardware.
- Sharing Economy. With the combination of the internet of things and blockchain, the sharing economy has been reshaped into a “Blockchain of Things”. The combo of both technologies has created possibilities for many marketplaces to collect and share data due to the concept of Smart Contracts.
- Education. What is IoT in education doing, is that with the share of access to data, many people across the world can approach information and formal or informal education.
- Retail. Automating as much as possible processes of delivery systems is the key to quick and safe transmissions. Automation makes the process effortless.
- Travel. The migration of the people through the world is one of the most frustrating procedures that require a lot of security attention and information processing. With the implementation of IoT in traveling, agencies are now able to deliver real-time information and automate most of the processes that make traveling a smooth and pleasing experience.
Career Possibilities in IoT Field
There is no question that the growing field of the internet of things will need experts that are willing to improve it. Named as the next “Industrial Revolution”, the IoT field can be a great place to start a new career or shift towards it. What are the demanded skills in such an industry?
- Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). Considered to be one of the vital elements in what is IoT, ITIL is a great addition of stability, networking, and security in the technology.
- The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF). Compared to what HTML did to HTTP for web development, TOGAF is the element that will enable connecting everything instantly. Having a TOGAF certification can be one of the best ways to get into the internet of things field.
- Big Data. As mostly everything on the digital space revolves around data, the IoT will generate even more data to store and process, therefore there will be, or is right now, a huge need of Big Data specialists to handle the amounts of data created by IoT.
- Blockchain. Although the blockchain is not considered as a part of IoT, the secure nature of it can become crucial in the upcoming years.
An Example of Amazon Go
If you are still not sure what is IoT or whether it is a relevant thing in your surroundings, there are many daily examples of it where it is used. We can begin by one of the most known examples that people use in their households - Amazon Go. Being one of its kind, Amazon Go is an app that allows users to shop with no checkout required. By having a certain application on your phone, you walk into the store, collect the groceries you need and leave. No lines, no checkouts. The IoT system behind it collects data using deep learning algorithms, computer vision, and sensor fusion. Just like self-driving cars, Amazon Go is using the same technology.
Overview - What are the Predictions?
The internet of things technology did not come out of anywhere, it is the evolution of the internet throughout the years that lead to it. Otherwise known as WEB 3.0, the process has still a long way to go. It is predicted that in the upcoming years the definition of what is IoT will become even smarter. Many companies and authority institutions will presumably start using this technology to save money and time, therefore increasing the efficiency of people’s work.
Of course, with the great benefits that the internet of things will bring to our society, the growing cyber security danger will also increase. While managing information remotely and automatically, hackers will look for ways to get into the system and disrupt the security and privacy of users with cyber attacks. Many regulations are still yet to come and there is still a lot of work to improve the current technology, but their future of it looks brighter every day. If you want to learn the main skills that are needed in this field, head to BitDegree courses and become an expert in the IoT field.