A Simple Explanation of “The Internet Of Things”

The conversation around the Internet of Things (also referred to as “IOT”) is getting louder and more prevalent each day but why all the hype? There are arguments for and against it everywhere right now. Is there really any reason for concern? Whats the big deal?

Conceptually, IOT is huge. It holds the potential to revolutionize the world around us and the ways in which we interact with our technology. How we work, how we play, and how we communicate with each other and our machines is rapidly changing. There is a huge wealth of information that could be discussed in regards to this subject matter, but for today we are going to stick to the very basics.

The Internet

For starters its important to realize that the internet is already everywhere. That isn’t really a big surprise to most of us but the deeper realization needed here is that smart devices and their continuous growth are fully dependent on the expansion of widespread accessibility to high speed internet, smartphone technologies, and dependable wifi. Without the ability to connect to the existing internet, the internet of things has no way to communicate. IOT is the natural next step in an increasingly connected society in which we first only connected our databases, and then grew to connect all of our computers, followed by all of our phones. Today we are increasing the resolution of that interconnectedness once again, as we introduce wearable technology, virtual assistants, smart objects, robotics, home automation, medical devices, and so much more. As our devices get smaller and more personal so do the actions and benefits of the things that we connect to each other in new and innovative ways.

So What Does IOT Really Mean?

Everything, everywhere, connected. The benefits of easily created software and hardware technologies that haven’t even been invented yet are seemingly everywhere. Things we never really dreamed of connecting can collect, utilize and compare data. Our cellphones got smart and the world changed. Imagine a near future in which all of our objects are getting smarter everywhere all of the time. Everyday objects like lamps, security alarms, clothing, or factory machinery will change in similar ways to the rapid evolution of our phones.

Why would you want to connect everything?

What if your desk knew when you needed to order more office supplies and did so automatically? What if your favorite pair of tennis shoes knew exactly how tight you preferred them? What if they adjusted themselves for performance when you were running to catch your next flight at the airport? What if your watch knew that the traffic was better on Main Street on Tuesdays at 3:12 PM and told your taxi to take a different route to pick you up when you were running late to a meeting? What if you could expect your technologies to work for you, operating in the background more intelligently and without hassle? They could assist you in new ways nobody is even dreaming of yet. Our simplest technology will be able to accommodate and react to daily situations and make us more efficient, give us more leisure time, and help us enjoy more of our lives.

The future is bright but there are threats on the horizon.

With such a widespread prevalence of connected tools, there will be room for security threats. New exploits will emerge. New scams, hacks, and uninvited risks are looming in equal measure to these benefits. What kind of future will exist when a hacker can steal personal information through my coffee maker? What if malicious software forces my dish washer into mining crypto-currency? Important debates are happening and as needs change so will our conversations about security. These conversations are everywhere it seems and we haven’t even scratched the surface of what lies ahead.