Examining the Internet of Things

When the internet came online, it very quickly changed the way that people did things. Today, you could say that it disrupted many routines and created newer, easier and more exciting ways of doing things. Part of the reason that such a change occurred was because of the sudden change in how people were able to communicate with one another. Suddenly, you could send information to somebody from across the world easily and immediately and they could reply in kind. Of course, it then grew to encompass many more purposes and abilities.

What Is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is any collection of physical objects (things) that are embedded with technology like sensors and software so that besides functioning in their normal way, they can connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet. 

The devices that employ IoT technology range from household items to sophisticated industrial tools. There are currently more than 10 billion connected IoT devices and this number is expected to grow to 22 billion by 2025.  

Why Is IoT So Important?

Experts insist that IoT is one of the most important technological advancements of the 21st century. This is due to the fact that this technology enables seamless communication between people, processes and things. Everyday objects that would previously need to be dealt with in person, such as baby monitors, thermostats, kitchen appliances and cars, can now be controlled and manipulated remotely. 

How Was IoT Created?

IoT came to be because it became practical. Practicality is a notion that enables theoretical ideas to become reality. If, for instance, you wanted to grow a tree that grew both apples and oranges, you'd need to develop certain entities, like hybrid seeds, that would allow it. Impediments would come up, like the kind of soil that would be necessary, or the kind of climate that would allow the seeds to grow. If the cost of developing those seeds was measured to be too high, the idea would remain impractical and relegated to the proverbial drawing board.

Because of the technological elements that exist today, like big data, analytics, the cloud, low-cost computing and mobile technologies, physical objects can share and collect data with minimal human effort. In the same way that a user access review periodically audits the existing access rights in your organization, removing unnecessary and outdated permissions, IoT performs tasks in an automated fashion, while you are at work on other things. 

Conversational artificial intelligence, like Siri and Alexa, is appealing, viable and affordable because of advancements in neural networks that have brought about natural language processing technologies. In other words, when you ask Alexa to do something, you're employing a technology that has become efficient and cost-effective because the science behind it made it so. 

Another element that came into being, which allows IoT to flourish, is access to low-power, low-cost sensor technology. Manufacturers suddenly have access to affordable and reliable sensors on a mass scale. A host of network protocols for the internet has made it easier to connect sensors both to the cloud and to other 'things'. This means efficient data transfer across the board. Modifications to cloud computing platforms, as well as machine learning and analytics, also play a part in the accessibility of IoT. 

Effectively, IoT is where the physical world meets the digital world and this scenario comes with loads of benefits. It has come to exist because of how advanced other technologies have become. According to that logic, as myriad technologies continue to improve, IoT will continue to grow into a more fluid and dynamic element of the world.  

What Is SIM?

SIM stands for subscriber identity module. An IoT SIM card, which is also referred to as an M2M SIM card, is used in IoT devices to identify them as they try to connect to any of various networks, including 2G, 3G, 4G-LTE, Cat-M, NB-IoT or the 5G wireless cellular network. IoT SIM cards are designed to roam between multiple networks. If, for instance, the IoT deployment is used to track vehicles, individual devices will automatically connect to the strongest network in a given area. 

How Does IoT Affect the Business World?

IoT has been applied to industrial settings. You might consider this the manifest starting point of a brand's product creation. Instrumentation, control of sensors and devices that engage cloud technology are all aspects of IoT in manufacturing. Indeed, the industrial internet of things (IIoT), is sometimes referred to as the fourth wave of the industrial revolution because of the way that it has disrupted the previous ways of manufacturing. 

With the emergence of cloud and allied technologies, such as machine learning and analytics, industries are able to create a new automation layer and with it create new revenue and business models. Some of the most common uses for IIoT include:

  • Smart digital supply chains

  • Connected logistics

  • Smart cities

  • Smart power grids

  • Connected assets and preventive and predictive maintenance

  • Smart manufacturing

IoT affects businesses in that it brings them new opportunities. As it becomes more widespread in the marketplace, companies are taking advantage of the huge business value that it can offer. Some of the most common benefits to today's businesses include:

  • Easily and seamlessly connecting the physical business world to the business world

  • Creating new business models and revenue streams

  • Increasing productivity and efficiency of business operations

  • Deriving data-driven insights from IoT data to help better support the business

How Does IoT Affect the Home?

IoT has made an impact at home, too. The consumer market relates IoT technology to the concept of smart homes, which includes devices such as cameras, lighting and home security systems. The home becomes its own ecosystem, or a merging of the digital and the physical. Any device in or around a home that uses Bluetooth, for instance, employs the internet to both share and store data in a database to support the ecosystem. 

IoT has made people's lives easier because the things that used to require a degree of effort require less. Today, instead of adjusting the thermostat by standing in front of it and physically manipulating it, or programming it, you can simply use your smartphone, from any location, to set it to the desired settings.

In practical terms, IoT is a safeguard against your memory. If you've gone away for a time in the winter, you may have set your thermostat to a lower temperature, just to keep the pipes from freezing, and forgotten to program the heat to come back on to your customary temperature when you're in your house. Rather than walk into a cold house, you can simply make the adjustment from your smartphone, wherever you are in the world. 

Is the IoT in Your Future?

IoT is beginning to cause the same dramatic changes in the world that the internet did a few decades ago. Whereas the internet enables people to communicate easily and instantaneously, wherever they might be in the world, IoT enables the things that people have created to do the same. It's a big step forward toward automation and efficiency. If IoT takes hold of the world the same way that the internet did, you can expect IoT to be all over your workplace, community and home in the not-too-distant future.

Related: How To Use Advanced Data for Your Business