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What is the Internet of Things

FEATURE

When speculating about the future of the Internet, one of the most prominent visions is the Internet of Things.

The concept of the Internet of Things is just as the name suggests: everyday objects or “things” connected to the internet and thus to each other. The term is sometimes used more broadly to describe simply connecting things so they are able to communicate to one another, with or without an actual internet connection. Sensors will also be important to creating smarter, more connected objects.

In the future with the Internet of Things it won’t just be your laptop or smartphone with a connection or sensor, but your car, your clothes and even your bed! And it doesn’t stop with objects in the home. The Internet of Things is expected to create smarter cities by giving traffic lights, waste systems and power grids a connection. Homes, businesses and even whole cities will be transformed into technological ecosystems able to interact with their surroundings.

So what are the benefits of connecting devices and allowing them to communicate with one another? Picture this: your alarm goes off in the morning and sends a message to your coffee machine telling it you’re awake and it’s time for coffee. Sensors in your thermostat detect movement and also that the temperature is kind of chilly, so it turns itself on to warm up the house for you. It’d be a lot easier to drag yourself out of bed with the promise of a toasty warm house and a freshly made coffee waiting for you.

The Internet of things won’t just affect your life at home, it will also influence the way we work. The world with the Internet of Things is one that is data driven. Masses of data are created from every intelligent device meaning businesses and decision makers will have a lot more information to work with. They can use the data to become smarter, more targeted, more efficient and more adaptive.

Though the future with the Internet of Things looks bright, sadly, anything that goes digital opens itself up to the potential danger of being hacked. A virus can be a nuisance to get on your computer, let alone on every device in your home! Security and privacy will be massive challenges for the Internet of Things: as more data is produced, more data will need to be protected. And who will own that data? And where will it all be stored? These are just a few of the many issues that will need to be considered in a future with the Internet of Things.

As an employee of an ISP that initiates and embraces positive change, and a tech addict in general, I welcome the advancements the Internet of Things could bring. Especially if it comes with robot maids that can sense when the dishwasher needs emptying, the laundry basket is full and the floors need mopping.

If you’d like to take an even deeper dive to learn more about the Internet of Things, check out this TED talk, which is available along with many other TED talks on the iiNet Freezone.

What things would you like to see connected with the Internet of Things? Let us know in the comments below.

8 comments

  1. John Thompson says:

    As a 78 year old that is not afraid of technology (I retired 15 years ago as a main frame system administrator, among other things)
    It concerns me that we are fast losing the ability to do and communicate human activity without tech. stuff.
    I love making and repairing things with my hands!

  2. Dave Allen says:

    Scary, I can see issues with malicious code disrupting locking people out of homes, work, cars etc. or even random attacks for “fun”. Humans will eventually lose control and autonomous machines will likely cause havoc for life as we now it.
    Hopefully I won’t see it in my lifetime.

  3. Andrew says:

    Yes the connected home is great and i have several systems running. Smartthings links most of them together but is a bit clunky. It will be better when US style of things are more compatable with Australia

  4. Lola says:

    What was that movie where computer falls in love with owner and tries to kill the girlfriend. (Lol). No I’ like to be in control and hands on. Love living in a high tech world but think it wld make you vulnerable,in many directions if everything goes Internet.

  5. iDuncan says:

    Number 5 is alive…. Need more input Stephanie….

    80’s movie where the robot comes alive. Imagine your fridge talking and saying things like – “do you really need that donut?”

  6. Giff says:

    Similar plot in the old 1977 movie Demon Seed..The computer that runs the house wants to take over and even make love with the owner of the home.

  7. S A SMITH says:

    With failing eysight andpoor hearing I revel in my bluetooth hearing aids and my ability to get Siri to send textmessages for me. I have to admit the day my iPad woke up and asked my computer to repeat what it said waS a bit unnerving but I enjoy Sri’s smartarse remarks when I ask her the time early in the morning.
    My smart TV doesn’t alsays do as I ask but I am working on it
    Electricity is jolly dangerous stuff but we cope with it.

  8. Steve says:

    It worries me the number of people who take up innovation because it is there then play with it. People, like me, who question this practice often come under quite vicious attack as not being progressive; to some degree there is some truth in that. The problem can often be seen in software where the purpose (it is a tool box) is lost when the owner of the tools spends their time seeing where the spanners and screw drivers are kept in this version but never actually use the things. This leaves people like me highly annoyed because I have to re-learn something that has little real change but has been totally re-arranged, names changed and so on. I want to use my time using the tools, not playing with them or trying to find where they all went. I actually have things to do. It is like Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy and inventing the wheel, a big argument over what colour it should be!!! As for connectivity, robotics, computers and so forth, I do wonder when we as humans will become redundant and the dominant life form will be silicon based; if you have lived long enough this stops being science fiction and looks plausible when considering how algorithms are getting into publishing, law, art, music and so on… I also wonder about warfare. Never mind a nuclear attack, we just have to have our water and power hacked and we are stuffed – we have lost the notion as well as the fact concerning redundancy and as we become ever dumber in respect of life skills and problem solving the risk gets worse of not being able to respond. have you ever been in a shop with a pwer failure – no computer, no service, no one has any idea of how to sell something. I know a thriving hardware that has no computers. Staff know where everything is, how much, when to reorder, what the price is and sales are in a day book and receipts are hand written; this business is the cheapest around, has top service and does not have staff turn into statues if the power fails. Modern communications are excellent but full of weak links which often fail outside of optimum conditions. It is not understood by the public just how often amateur radio, technology and skills, comes into play when sophisticated systems fail in a crisis. On another “human” aspect, the pursuit of productivity in a connected world is an ever growing exponential pressure, either business or social – and it is doing massive harm – just ask any psychologist or psychiatrist.

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