Explaining the Internet of Things: What You Need to Know About the 'IoT'
Today, many people are connected to one another via the Internet.
11:23 17 July 2021
This vast network of mystery covers the globe like a web, where it once was as unheard of or unfathomable as a flying car.
In fact, this is exactly why the moniker, World Wide Web exists. No, not because we’re all caught in it, or so we might think.
The fact is, the Internet is much more than a computer network. Today, nearly every device has the ability to access it. And, more and more businesses are utilizing the Internet and all of its tools to help scale their businesses through smart technology.
This is what brings us to the Internet of Things, or the IoT.
Before the official birthday of the Internet on January 1st, 1983, computer users didn’t have a standardized way to communicate from computer to computer. But, this was already possible via a different computerized communication system.
Usenet was the forerunner to the Internet, and for the entire length of the 1980s, was the primary method of communication for computer-savvy individuals. This might inspire you to think of some of the old 80’s movies like Revenge of the Nerds. That’s because Usenet was predominantly associated with what was largely considered a “nerd” subculture.
On Usenet, a user can communicate with other users across a communication network that still exists today known as News Network Protocol Transfer (NNPT). This eventually transformed into the chat rooms that sprouted up in the ’80s and early ’90s.
Thanks to Usenet, the Internet had a foundation from which to be built, and to follow would be what is now known as the Internet of Things.
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things or IoT, is basically all of the millions of devices, gadgets, and software that are connected to the Internet today. Predominantly, this term refers to any device or program that is capable of receiving and sending data over the Internet.
This doesn’t just refer to your smartphone, or to the WiFi that you connect to at home. An Internet of Things device can be as small as a biological receiver or transponder, the kind that many pet owners use to find their beloved pets when they become lost.
The Internet of Things basically refers to the technology that turns an otherwise “dumb” device into “smart” technology by enabling it to send and receive information.
Examples of IoT Devices
At its core, an Internet of Things device is really any object that can be transformed into a device that can be accessed or manipulated by smart technology.
For example, an interior lighting system that would otherwise have to be operated manually is made into an IoT device once it is connected to an application such as an app on your smartphone or Amazon’s Alexa.
The following is s shortlist of common IoT devices:
- RFID Chips
- Smart Thermostats
- Remote Doorbell Cameras
- Remote Video Surveillance Systems
- Remote Operated Vehicles
- Wireless Printers
- WiFi Systems
As you can see, the Internet of Things combines nearly all of the technology that we’re used to seeing and can apply it to any physical object that can be modified to be manipulated via a remote device accessed on the Internet, even a child’s toy.
The Future of IoT
When it comes to the future of the Internet of Things, the sky isn’t even a limit. Today, spacecraft and satellites utilize wireless technology, so truly, the end of the universe (if such a thing exists) might be the limit, but it all truly depends on the imagination and ingenuity of the human race as a whole.
Plans for full-scale automation of industries aren’t an impossibility any longer with the Internet of Things at our side. At the end of the day, applications with everything from finding your keys or your phone through app technology are being made possible.
One day, even we humans might become individually modified, and considered part of the Internet of Things as well.