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The Internet of Things – What is it?

Coursera Learner working on a presentation with Coursera logo and

There are billions, if not trillions of physical devices across the globe. Most of them share and collect data due to their connection with the internet. All of these devices are IOT or, Internet of Things. For those who don’t know, computer chips used to be super expensive initially. Luckily, there has been a significant decline in their prices, making them easily available.

Combine the abundance of wireless networks and computer chips, and you can turn anything as massive as an airplane or as tiny as a pill into a part of the vast IoT directory. Adding sensors and connecting various objects requires a high level of digital intelligence. Doing so could help enable the devices to communicate data in real-time without human involvement. It would be fair to claim that the Internet of Things is transforming the worlds’ fabric, making everything around us more responsive and smarter. It is an excellent tool for merging physical and digital universes.

IoT Examples

Experts can transform almost anything into an Internet of Things device as long as it connects with the internet. You can use a smartphone application to switch on a lightbulb, making it an IoT device. Smart thermostats are also in the IoT gadget category as they contain motion sensors. Something as cute as a child’s toy or as massive as a driverless truck can also be an Internet of Things device.

Some sizeable objects could have several tiny IoT components. In particular, modern jet engines contain hundreds of sensors transmitting and collecting data in real-time, ensuring they operate with maximum efficiency.

Engineers mainly use the terminology “IOT” to refer devices that don’t usually contain an internet connection. However, it must have the ability to communicate without human interference. It is a significant reason why smartphones and personal computers do not come under the IoT’s umbrella. However, wearable devices like fitness bands and smartwatches might count as IOT based gadgets.

A Brief History of IoT

People have been discussing the idea of adding intelligence and sensors to ordinary objects for decades. However, besides some initial projects, progress was painfully slow, and it seemed like IoT would never become a reality. The chips in the 80s and 90s were excessively bulky, and objects couldn’t send and receive data effectively. 

As discussed earlier, processors used to be quite costly in the older days. However, the introduction of RFID tags and IPVv6 started the IoT revolution. It was nowhere close to what we have today, but it was essential for a start. Visionary technologist Kevin Ashton was behind the term “Internet of Things.” While he coined the name in 1999, it took more than a decade for the engineers and technology to catch up with what he and several other like-minded individuals envisioned.

How it all started

Connecting RFID tags to costly devices for location tracking was the first use of IoT. The prices of adding internet connection and sensors to objects continue to fall. Experts believe that the fundamental functionality could cost as little as five to ten cents in the future. Expect engineers to connect IoT to almost everything. 

IoT has been excellent for manufacturing and businesses. The technology’s application in these fields is also known as M2M (machine-to-machine.) However, offices and homes with smart devices are also utilizing the Internet of Things for various reasons. It would be fair to say that modern applications of IoT are relevant for almost everyone.

The Immense Magnitude of IoT

The Internet of Things is a rapidly growing technology. You would be surprised to see that it connects more devices compared to people. IDC, a renowned tech analyst company, states that there could be more than forty million IoT based devices in five to six years. It also predicts automotive and industrial equipment will represent a massive opportunity of connected gadgets or “things.”

Gartner, another IT service management organization, foresees that the automotive and enterprise sectors could account for almost six million devices by 2020. Surprisingly utilities will use IOT the most, thanks to the ever-increasing production of smart meters. Web cameras, intruder detection gadgets, and various other security devices could be the second-biggest Internet of Things users. Building automation, automotive, and healthcare industries will also take maximum advantage of I


IoT for Business – What are the Benefits

IOTs benefits for businesses depend on their specific implementation. Efficiency and agility are arguably the most important considerations. Enterprises yearn to obtain access to as much data as they can regarding their internal systems and products. Why? Because it will improve their ability to implement changes efficiently and on time.

Numerous manufacturers started adding sensors to some of their products recently. They did this to receive performance-related data. It would help them improve future products by analyzing the issues transmitted by the sensors. Businesses can also utilize the data to improve their supply chain’s and system’s efficiency as they will have official statistics about what is precisely happening.

Can the Internet of Things be Beneficial for Consumers

IoT is becoming more and more sophisticated. It promises to improve our vehicles, offices, homes, and environment more measurable, and smarter. For example, smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon’s Echo are excellent for playing music, obtaining relevant information, and setting timers with ease.

You will also find numerous home security systems that allow you to monitor what is happening outside and inside your house. Some of them also enable you to see and speak with visitors. People can now use smart thermostats to heat their homes before getting back.

Smart lightbulbs also contain the Internet of Things technology, making it easy for you to switch on or turn off your lights with your smartphone. If we look beyond the houses, sensors are excellent for understanding the extent of pollution or noise in our environment. Smart cities and self-driving cars could transform how we manage and build our public spaces. With that said, most of these groundbreaking inventions could have significant implications for our privacy.


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