Internet of Things: Everything you need to know
Internet of Things (IoT) is a modern wonder, it is the next big thing. Big tech companies are so much obsessed about IoT, that they are investing billions of dollars in this sector.
Before discussing Internet of Things, you must know about the internet. So, let’s learn about internet first.
What is the internet?
The Internet is the network of different computer networks scattered worldwide. Didn’t understand? No problem. Let’s first understand what a computer network is. A computer network is an interconnection of computers and other types of networking devices. The computers in these networks can communicate with each other within the network. Some of these networks are for private use, but others are public. By connecting the public networks together we get the internet.
Now we know about the internet. So, let’s move towards the main topic of this article, IoT itself.
What is the Internet of Things (a.k.a. IoT)?
Just like the internet is a network of computer networks, IoT is a network of things. These things range from vehicles to refrigerators, air conditioners to lighting equipment, temperature sensors to complete electric grids. The common thing about them is that all of them should be connected to the internet. Since all these things are connected, they can be sensed and controlled remotely. This may not sound great, but all these connected things can achieve great things if used properly. A thing to be noted here is that most of the time we are not going to interact with a connected device. Instead, we will be using the end results of analysis of data collected from connected devices or controlling the device itself.
What are the challenges?
The main challenge is connecting and maintaining so many devices. This requires extensive works in different domains including necessary electronics and software. Networking technologies also need to be revamped, as present networks won’t be able to cope with the amount of data generated when everything is connected.
List of issues which needs to be resolved for Internet of Things to become relevant.
- Tuning present networks for IoT: Internet of Things is no the like normal internet. The amount of data generated by IoT devices are phenomenal, so it is necessary to fine tune the present networking equipment to IoT standards. This will make sure that we can continue to add more IoT devices without any bottlenecks.
- Processors: These days most IoT devices are controlled by a simple microcontroller. As we progress processing power needed by IoT devices will increase significantly. So, new processors need to be designed with the requirements of IoT in mind.
- Operating Systems: There are a couple of OS specifically designed for IoT devices already in the market like Contiki, RIOT, and TinyOS. These operating systems are still in development phase and needs improvement.
- IoT Analytics: “Data is the new oil”, you may have heard this line before. And if data is truly the new oil, then IoT is worlds largest oil field, ready to be explored. To use all the data, it needs to be processed, and that is where analytics come into play. If used properly then IoT analytics can be used to solve many current day problems.
- Standardisation: A well-defined standard needs to be developed for IoT. If we have standards, then many new and small players will be able to enter this market.
- Security: IoT devices will handle our personal information, which we don’t want in wrong hands. Since many IoT devices will be communicating with each other, the messages they send needs to be properly encrypted. It should be made sure that only the information required is given and nothing else.
Present and Possible IoT applications:
- You can control your appliances, other electronic items of your home remotely. For ex, before reaching home you turn on your air conditioner, control lighting in your home etc.
- You are shopping at a mall. Now your smartphone asks your refrigerator what needs to be purchased. Your refrigerator senses what is in there and matches with what you typically keep. Then it notifies you if you are missing anything important.
- You smartwatch collects health-related data like blood pressure etc and sends them to your physician regularly.
- You are far from your home, temperature, carbon dioxide and other sensors are sensing your home. If anything goes wrong, then it notifies the required personnel, so that your home remains safe.
- Your car checks itself and notifies you if there are some issues.
- You are driving on a highway, your car communicates with other vehicles to avoid any mishaps.
- The whole electric grid is connected seamlessly and keeps watch on electricity production and consumption. It diverts electricity to where it is needed automatically.
Virtual Reality just like Internet of Things is an emerging field and is one of the technologies to be called as the next big thing. Here is our article on Virtual Reality.
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