Toasters, thermometers, light bulbs, and a whole list of other everyday household items may soon be permanently connected to the Internet. The Internet of Things is a concept that promises total smart home connectivity for people across the globe. But what exactly is the Internet of Things, how does it work and what is the importance of this technology?
What is the Internet of Things?
In the literal sense, the term Internet of Things (IoT) simply refers to absolutely everything that is connected to the Internet. But it also encompasses objects that communicate with one another, meaning that the IoT will ultimately represent a massive network of devices that effectively talk to each other.
These connected devices will also be combined with automated systems in order to create an intelligent system which is able to collate data and analyse it effectively, before proffering solutions to users. Undoubtedly, this will lead to a considerably more interconnected world.
The Future of IoT
While the concept of the IoT may not be part of everyday life for the majority of people as of yet, its infrastructure is still developing rapidly. A recent study from IoT Analytics shows that the number of active IoT devices is expected to grow to 10 billion by 2020 and 22 billion by 2025.
Additionally, as artificial intelligence and machine learning becomes an increasingly prominent part of the overall culture, companies will undoubtedly utilise this in the Internet of Things landscape. Considering the massive interconnectivity and communication that IoT will enable, experts believe that this will lead to the way that machines think and learn developing at an exponential pace.
While there are many positive applications of the Internet of Things, and these potentially intelligent and flexible objects, there are definitely privacy concerns relating to this new system. There is definite potential for devices connected to the Internet of Things to be hacked, meaning that security will need to be ramped up significantly, and also extremely quickly.
Surveillance is another issue, as every product connected to the Internet of Things opens up the potential for the monitoring of consumers. This could then be used by governments, law enforcement, and corporations, which is obviously of concern to privacy campaigners and users of these appliances.
Overall, the most important issue facing the technology community, as the Internet of Things emerges, is developing reliable standards. Compatibility between connected objects will be a clear issue if data transfer is to be achieved, while this will also have an impact on safety and privacy as well. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Standards Association indicates that such standards are currently being developed for a wide variety of potential Internet of Things applications.
It definitely seems that the Internet of Things will be part of the forthcoming technology landscape, and that it will lead to a major development and shift in human culture, once the initial logistical issues are ironed out.