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The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding The Internet of Things

Access to broadband Internet has become more widely available in this modern world. The cost of staying connected has decreased, while more devices have Wi-Fi ready capabilities. Nowadays, people actually feel annoyed when there is no Wi-Fi connectivity and its signal is the most in demand thing that people always search for. Staying unplugged has become increasingly harder to do in this digital world. The growing reliance on the Internet has given rise to this new buzzword called the “Internet of Things” (IoT). This has become a major topic of conversation in the work place and outside of work because this IoT has the potential to influence how we live, having the capacity to impact both our personal and work life.

What exactly is the Internet of Things?

Simply put, the IoT refers to the numerous physical devices the can be found around the globe, which is now connected to the Internet. These devices now have the ability to collect and share data amongst each other through cheap processors embedded in their make up that can connect with ease to the ever present wireless network. A level of digital intelligence is added to modern devices that normally should have been dumb. Now, most things have the capability of communicating real time data, without any human influence so the digital and physical worlds have easily merged.

How does IoT work?

Just about any physical thing can be transformed into an IoT device if it is built with the right sensors to connect to the Internet. Through these sensors, the device can be easily manipulated and controlled. Back in the day, pre-Internet, dumb phones were just used for calling, period. But the advent of the IoT has given rise to the smart phone, making it an indispensable part of human existence. Everywhere you go these days, people are hooked on their mobile smart phones.

That being said, the term IoT is a tag mainly used for devices that would generally be expected not to have internet connection. PCs, tablets, and smart phones do not fall under this umbrella term because they are known to really be the first devices to have Wi-Fi connectivity. However, a smartwatch or fitbit that can be connected to the internet is now an IoT device. Other examples include an unassuming light bulb and smart thermostat, which now both can be controlled with your smart phone. From small devices that make our lives easy at home and work to large scale projects that influence smart cities that can help manage waste and improve energy efficiency, the IoT’s prominence and importance cannot be denied.

At the rate things are going, this is only path of the future because of the limitless opportunities and connections that happen. It is not difficult to see and comprehend how and why the IoT has become such a hot issue in this complex world. It opens doors to numerous opportunities that would not have been there at all. However, it also opened up many challenges from security threats, data privacy issues, and data breaches from the massive amounts of data generated on a daily basis. With billions of devices now connected together, the questions that begs to be answered is how secure is everyone’s private information.

IoT Architecture

The IoT technology consists of four main components over which this IoT architecture is framed; and these are the sensors, devices, gateway and cloud. All of these work together to give rise to the IoT. There are four general stages in the process that makes the devices “speak” and connect with each other. These stages are:

Stage 1: Sensors

Sensors collect data from an object and turn it to useful data. Actuators have the capability to intervene and change the physical conditions that are used for date generation. These sensing and actuating stage covers everything about the object and environment.

Stage 2: Devices

This second stage refers to the systems that are close proximity to the sensors and actuators. These sensors and actuators provide data into a data aggregation device which then digitizes that data. A corresponding gateway server or device would now process and aggregate these digitized data, which is then forwarded across the IT realm.

Stage 3: Gateway

Digitized and aggregated data may require further processing before it could even enter the data center. Edge IT systems come into the picture and acts as a gateway by conducting more data analysis. These processing systems may be located in remote locations or other edge settings. Typically, these Edge systems sit in facilities where sensors reside closer to the processors like a wiring closet.

Stage 4: Cloud

After undergoing more data analysis, the data is finally sent to a physical data center or a cloud based system, where more powerful information technology systems can continue analyzing, managing, and securely storing data. At this stage, sensor data can be combined with other sources to create deeper insights. At this stage, processing happens on-site in a cloud or hybrid cloud system.

5 Benefits of The IoT

There are many benefits of IoT that impact daily life and affect different work industries. It has transformed many sectors, making personal and work lives a lot easier. Technology connects so many devices that permits collaboration and offers compelling benefits to all kinds of businesses. Here are five benefits of IoT:

Provides Efficient Processing

IoT allows for more efficient processing because data origination can be tracked, and with that comes useful insights provided at real time. With the access to these data, smarter business decisions can be made. Supply chain management and business operations can be better monitored. As a result, there can be a reduce in energy costs and reduced human error.

Enhances Productivity

Iot technology enhances efficiency, which in turn can increase productivity. People are able to perform their tasks better when aided by smart gadgets. The latter is vital in any business because better productivity means better profit margins. Increasing productivity is an important task of every business organizations.

Provides Connected Computing

Technology paves the way for all IoT devices to stay interconnected. Whether it is the phone, TV, vehicles, or other work machinery, these connected devices can make it easy to track the output of just about anything, even from a remote location.

Offers Cost Benefits

Since IoT can easily spot inefficiencies in the various stages of operations and supply management, these can be addressed easily and nipped in the bud. On top of that, safety measure can be set up to minimize these problems. The amount these saves companies is tremendous.

Track Operations and Assets

Another benefit of IoT is the capability of tracking and monitoring operations and assets. This includes machinery, tools and equipment. In addition, IoT can significantly improve visibility for assets and supply chains that will give you the chance to spot issues and locate problems for preventive maintenance.

What companies are working on IoT?

There are numerous companies working on the IoT but the five most notable ones are:

  • VironIT which produces software for IoT
  • Style Lab which offers IoT solutions
  • Science Solutions which offers IoT consulting and development services
  • HQSoftware which is a software development company
  • Megneto IT solutions which develops IoT solutions

10 Stats Proving The Value Of the IoT?

Here are ten exciting stats about IoT the prove that it is the next biggest thing:

IoT has been Existing for decades

It is only now that people are taking notice, but IoT has actually been there for a long time. The first IoT classic example is when the fist ATM or automated teller machine went live in the early 1970s. This innovation has managed to survive for decades.

Big businesses are already using it

Studies indicated that as early as 2008, there were more objects connected to the Net than the population of people on Earth. It is estimated that by 2020, there would be 75 millions IoT devices that can all connect with each other.

Cumulative investment amounting to trillions

Investment in IoT devices would hit $60 trillion in the next couple of years. This investment is not surprising because a company like GE has been using the concept of IoT fro decades now when they began building their jet engine technology.

Big businesses are ahead of the game

Last year, almost a quarter percent of big global enterprises chose to incorporate more IoT solutions into their companies.

Issues facing IoT

With IoT, security breaches and invasion of privacy are threats. Last year, majority of US based companies that their IoT data was compromised by some sort of hacking.

The market for wearables is growing

By 2020, it is said that the market for wearable technology will grow to $25 billion. Fitbits and smartwatches are now gaining more popularity. Internet-connected clothing is also projected to be seen in the near future.

The smart home market is booming

Smart homes are becoming a reality. With smart home appliances, smart thermostat, smart lights, and other automated home improvements, the smart home market is expected to balloon to $53 billion by year 2022.

Promises positive ROI

Almost all businesses who have adopted some form of IoT have seen a return on their investments.

Smart and driverless cars of the future

It all started with the GPS that told drivers where to go. Now, internet connected smart cars are in the horizon. Automated driving is also expected to be a major force in the forthcoming years. It won’t be a surprise if self-driving cars or driverless cars, which are being developed now, would become mainstream.

Machine to machine connections will continue to grow

From 5 billion M2M connections this year, the figure is expected to balloon to 27 billion by year 2024.

Thanks for reading "The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding The Internet of Things", by the Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.

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