What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity, and also the communication that occurs between these objects and other internet-enabled devices and systems. Each ‘thing’, be it a computing device, digital machine, object, animal or person (in the case of medical devices) is provided with a unique identifier with the ability to transfer data over the internet without the need for human intervention.

So, using data collected from connected things, without human intervention or interaction, information can be gathered items tracked and counted leading to waste reduction, fewer losses and cost savings. We will also be in a position to know when things need servicing, repairing, replacing or recalling. Also, in the case of perishable items, we’ll know when best to consume them and then, by sensing changes, when they are past their best.

IoT extends internet connectivity

The Internet of Things extends internet connectivity beyond traditional devices like desktops and laptops , smartphones and tablets to a diverse range of devices and everyday things. Devices that utilise embedded technology to communicate and interact with the external environment, all via the internet.

IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), microservices and the internet. This convergence now means that connectivity between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) can allow unstructured machine generated data to be analysed to help processes and drive improvements.

IoT applications and examples

Some examples of ‘things’ that come under the umbrella of the Internet of Things include connected security systems, thermostats, cars, electronic appliances, lights in household and commercial environments, alarm clocks, speaker systems, vending machines etc.

The application of connectivity has already had a huge impact on the logistics, manufacturing and automotive industries. Each year the possibilities for connectivity are increasing, bringing benefits to both businesses and consumers alike.

Consider the implications for healthcare and medical advancement. A heart monitor implant will transmit information about a patient, allowing early intervention if there is a problem. Drug dosage can be precisely measured and the effects of a particular drug on a patient can be monitored, giving practitioners and patients far more detailed and individual information.

The future of IoT

In terms of the reach of the Internet of Things, there are more than 12 billion devices that can currently connect to the Internet, and researchers at IDC estimate that by 2020 there will be 26 times more connected things than the entire population of the world.

The rate of technological advancement that is taking place with the IoT is staggering. In this area and others, such as robotics, virtual reality and artificial intelligence, progress is increasing exponentially. It is the scale and pace of change these technologies are bringing that has led to this new era often being referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.

iData has delivered many projects involving the connectivity of devices and as such are uniquely positioned to help your organisation plan, roll-out and manage machine to machine (M2M) connectivity. Call us on 0844 847 6766 free, no obligation advice about M2M.

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