It started out as a communication network between two laboratories in the 1950s and today has millions of interconnected networks. The Internet, as you know, has changed phenomenally over the years. Think about how you interacted with this worldwide network of interconnected TCPP/IP networks a decade back and you will realize how the Internet has slowly wooed up its importance in your life.
And if you thought this was the end of it…well there’s more!
We will discuss a new concept that is far wider and more exciting than what the Internet has been up until now – and yet, it will take the help of the Internet to be effective. The new decade has ushered in a newer concept – the Internet of Things, more popularly known as IoT. The internet of things helps computers and the Internet play a whole new part in our lives – the role of identifying objects and even human beings. With technologies like Radio Frequency identification, your actions can easily be managed as well as inventoried by computers.
What do you need to know?
Well, you can surely tell that the concept is interesting. Say, you have an identifying tag on you – all your actions can then be monitored. How can this help? Have you ever thought that you could reduce your weight if you knew the exact problem and why even your workout isn’t helping? Ever felt the need to have someone take a look at your life and tell you where you are going wrong? Well, IoT helps you do exactly this!
Devices have already been made that can tell the number of times your child brushes his or her teeth or how much coffee one drinks and in turn offers suggestions to improve your health.
True, you can question the need for such devices or the implications it can bring with it. According to people like Bill Joy, one of those who propound the use of IoT, the technology can help computers know more about people and thus offer ways to reduce costs and wastes. Interestingly, with the development of internet of things still being in its infancy, you wouldn’t find a standard definition of it anywhere.
What does it mean for the future?
Excited about the prospects IoT can bring? Right now, IoT is at a stage where the Internet was in the 1990s – a bit vulnerable. However, rapid strides in technologies like Near Field Communication (NFC’s), QR Codes, and Bar Codes among others ensures that tagging objects is far easier. With the right programs, you will see life in a new way itself.
The question is do we really need IoT to help us know about someone’s life or improve our lives? We can, for instance, know when we are thirsty. To rely on a machine to tell us when to drink water isn’t the right way to go – that will mean being dependent on machines a bit too much, making us forget our basic necessities.
So how can IoT help in better ways?
Imagine IoT helping disabled people gather information they couldn’t gather otherwise. You must have surely seen people with memory issues. What if a device could know the things a person might forget and remind him of them? Sounds interesting, right? What if IoT could help blind people know if there were any obstacles ahead of them that they needed to watch out for? IoT can be put to a number of interesting uses.
What if you look at the business perspective?
From the business perspective too, IoT poses some exciting new possibilities. Let’s look at it this way. As a business you would be spending hours trying to figure out who your target customers would be and the demand for a particular product. IoT can analyze business data and consumers and give you the answer! Say a 50-year-old buys a coffee; the program can analyze the choice of the coffee by the consumer along with the age and sex of the individual to come up with an estimate of the demand. On the other hand, IoT can even help businesses figure out if it will be worthwhile to open a store at a particular place - the possibilities are endless. However, it does mean that a lot of variables need to be put into the computer and for that, you need some good brains and innovative ideas and a little bit of time.
IoT has been making the right noises and we expect things to change soon. For a concept that was introduced in 2009, IoT has progressed a fair amount in these few years. A wide range of researchers are exploring the technologies that make up the Internet of Things from 3 perspectives - scientific theory, engineering designs and experiences of users. We hope this research helps in technological advancement and initiates a new era of web enabled services.