The internet’s newest phase makes the leap from formless to physical, from accessible to omnipresent. Though still young, it already has a name: the Internet of Things (IoT).
So, exactly what “things” make up this IoT? – Any device, vehicle, household appliance or machine embedded with a sensor, actuator (a machine component that moves or controls a mechanism), electronics or software.
By 2020, it is estimated that there will be 24 billion connected devices across the globe, which equates to about four devices per person.
These things send data in order to interact, exchange and collaborate with other things, forming a network of physical objects connected to the internet.
And it gives a whole new meaning to remote control (once only associated with channel surfing from the comfort of your couch). With IoT we can adjust room temperatures, activate security alarms and even operate telescopes from anywhere using smartphones or tablets.
How else has IoT worked itself into modern life? Let’s take a look:
- Traffic lights receive real-time data from strategically placed road sensors to gauge traffic flow at busy intersections, easing congestion
- Farmers can automate irrigation, reduce waste, optimize water usage and extract invaluable information (soil moisture or light levels, for instance) for monitoring crop fields
- Healthcare providers can access valuable patient data remotely – from reading blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate levels to detecting falls and receiving alerts to potential health issues
- Wearables, especially those that make life easier for patients as well as people with disabilities: connected insoles for navigation, voice-controlled devices, glucose sensors inserted under the skin for diabetes patients, vibrating bands designed to help the visually impaired when they’re out and about
- Homes are starting to run themselves with smart air conditioners, refrigerators, lightbulbs, pet feeders and speakers
IoE refers to the Internet of Everything. Where IoT is a network of interconnected objects (and just the tip of the iceberg), IoE takes connectivity to the next level.
“Everything” encompasses four elements:
People – Connecting people in more relevant and beneficial ways
Data – Transforming data into intelligence
Process – Getting the right information to the right place at the right time
Things – IoT
These four pillars comprise an end-to-end system of intelligent connectivity – intelligence bursting at the seams, coming from absolutely everywhere.
We are embracing and investing in smart cities, smart homes, smart vehicles, smart appliances…a smarter world where only the smartest (devices) will survive.
How have IoT and IoE changed your day-to-day life? Share your stories with us!