The internet of things (IoT) refers to the global network of any and every connected device. These include: wearables like smart watches and fitness trackers, Google Home, Alexa Echo, smart displays, smart cars, smart homes, smart refrigerators, smart glasses, smart boards, etc. But that isn’t all there is to it.
It is an ever-growing network of everyday objects that are connected to the internet, recognized by other devices, and exchanging information.
The Internet of things is a huge data farm with millions of gadgets exchanging, processing and using information in real time.
An example of the IoT at work right now is your smartphone is connected to your smart watch, fitness tracker, and laptop. Information about your location, health and other conditions are synced across those devices and used in ways you have preset.
How The Internet of Things (IoT) Can Make Life Better
What are the kind of solutions to expect in the future? There are so many. Especially when coupled with artificial intelligence (AI), the IoT has the potential to make life much easier for us.
As an example, think of connected traffic lights that monitor inner-city traffic in real-time and use the information to adjust their operations to the prevailing traffic at each period of the day. This is a classic case.
If a route suddenly gets clogged because of an accident, sensors along that route pass the info to the city’s traffic lights, which then adjust their timing to ease traffic flow. But it goes more than that.
Every person in that city who regularly uses that route or who is currently headed in that direction at that time, will get an alert warning them of the new traffic situation. They would also be offered alternative routes in order to avoid the area.
All these will happen without human agency: the devices talk to one another and act on available information. This is an example of how the Internet of things will make life easier for us.
The Internet of Things (IoT) and Security
Having everything connected this way poses real security and privacy risks. If you drive a smart car, it means it can be hacked the same way your PC can be hacked. Your personal information can be leaked and exposed. The dangers are real.
But as with any new technology, the way forward is not to kill the idea but to look for ways to safeguard it. There are people working round the clock to build secure systems that we all can use. the IoT will never be 100% secure. Nothing ever is.
The Internet of Things will help us manage our health better, live more comfortably, improve business/work productivity, even improve security, among other benefits. The fear of our personal data being misused or turned against us will always be there, but in all, a connected world is the future and will bring great benefits.