by Bridgette Mabuto
Modern technology has created so many amazing innovations that have changed our daily lives, and lately, it feels like every new tech innovation is “smart.” From smart phones to smart cars to smart houses, the word keeps popping up. It’s trending on the news, in blogs, and even on commercials. However, many of us are sitting here wondering why these things are smart and what makes them that way.
Smart devices are all part of a new tech category called the Internet of Things, or IoT. While IoT is a complex web of tech and devices, it can be defined by its most basic form: The Internet of Things involves connecting objects to each other and to the internet. In other words, smart watches, smart alarms, and smart cars are all part of the IoT.
The IoT is complex and confusing, and it’s growing every day, so it can be a bit too much to comprehend. However, as technology and society begin to depend on IoT more and more, it’s vital to have at least a basic understanding of how it works. Below is our brief guide on IoT and how it’s beginning to change the world.
1. It’s Everywhere
You might think you’re safe from the invasion of IoT, but you probably have at least one or two things in your life that depend on the network. One of the most popular ways that IoT is being used now days is in wearable technology. Whether they’re watches that count your steps or bracelets that keep track of your heart rate and blood pressure, if these objects are connected to your phone in any way, they’re part of the IoT.
Other prime examples of daily uses of the IoT is in programmable appliances. The coffee maker you love that starts brewing when your alarm goes off is just one way IoT works to make life easier. Nowadays, entire homes are created using the IoT, where everything from the lights to the temperature are controlled via apps.
2. It’s Useful
IoT is extremely useful and can even help users save huge amounts of money. Going back to the example of the smart house, imagine a system that learns how you live. It figures out your schedule and what temperature makes you most comfortable. It knows what you need, even if you forget. This could mean that if you leave a light on when you leave your home, it will turn off automatically when no one is in the house. The thermostat will stop cooling or heating the house when you’re at work, but will turn back on so that when you arrive, your house feels just right. Worried that you forgot to lock your doors? No problem, you can do that from your phone.
However, IoT isn’t just about making life convenient. It also has huge potential for larger applications. For example, the medical industry is using IoT to get information from patients’ medical devices immediately. Doctors can monitor the vitals of high-risk patients from their offices. And using these devices has helped many patients minimize costs. Instead of paying huge amounts of money to come in and be analyzed, the analysis can be done through IoT, without the patient setting foot in the hospital.
3. It’s a Bit Scary
IoT is a huge step into the future for society. It has already proven to make life much easier for consumers and its potential for helping with series issues is overwhelming. However, there is a dark side to IoT. As is the case with anything connected to the internet, there’s a potential that it can be hacked. This could put personal information at risk. In fact, one of the main reasons IoT is developing at a slower pace than might be expected is because companies are working hard to curb any security risks.
The good news is that developers know IoT needs to have several precautions in place to be fully successful. Many companies won’t even consider selling IoT devices if they aren’t heavily encrypted and keep user information safe.
So, yes, IoT is a bit scary, especially in its beginning stages. However, safeguards are put in place to protect those using IoT. And, as the technology continues to grow and advance, those safeguards will become better and better.