The concept of the Internet of Things is already a reality that is transforming our daily lives, our work and cities around the world. It is a recent event, but it will still surprise a lot in terms of technological advancement and innovation. You’ve probably had contact with some IoT device, but do you know what all this means?
What is the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is a term that refers to millions of devices around the world that are connected to the internet and therefore are able to collect and share data of all kinds through sensors and software.
It is also common for these smart devices to exchange information with each other. That way, for example, your virtual assistant can tell you about unexpected traffic to work, as she connects to your car and maps your route daily.
“IoT integrates the interconnectedness of human culture – our ‘things’ – with the interconnection of our digital information system – ‘the Internet’. This is IoT”.Kevin Ashton, creator of the IoT term for ZDNet.
With this technology, you can connect virtually all devices to the internet, from lamps to cars. The main objective is to make these objects more efficient and useful, in addition to anticipating our needs, such as a refrigerator that warns if the product is in the end, or that it has reached the expiration date, and recommends recipes.
It is worth mentioning that the term Internet of Things is used to refer to everyday objects that usually have no connection to the internet. Therefore, computers and smartphones are not considered examples of IoT, while clocks and smart televisions are great examples of this application.
How it came about
The discussion of adding sensors and intelligence to common objects began, approximately, in 1980. But there was not much progress in this period because the technology was not yet developed enough for such an innovation.
Some facts were essential for the viability of the Internet of Things, such as RFID, automatic identification method for radio signals, internet broadband, mobile phones, and WiFi network. Another important point to scale the IoT was the adaptation of IPv6, which provides sufficient IP addresses for all devices worldwide.
One of the first applications of the Internet of Things was an RFID added to pieces of equipment with the goal of keeping them tracked and thus controlled. Since then, the concept has been widely explored and there are more things connected via IoT than the number of people in the world, being 8.4 billion in 2017 and promising to reach 20.4 billion in 2020.
The idea is not only to make your home a smart environment with the adoption of objects with IoT technology, but also to create smart cities that can make citizens’ day-to-day life simpler and essential services more efficient, such as assessing the level of pollution of the environment and monitoring the health of patients remotely, for example.
Creativity and necessity are great motivators for creating super useful and smart devices. Therefore, we can say that there is still a huge range of possibilities to reach with the Internet of Things.
Case: Internet of Things in practice
An application of IoT and that has optimized processes in companies are the trucks with GPS sensors. By tracking location, companies can know the time it takes drivers to travel, predict problems with cars, suggest new on-going routes, and ensure the driver is performing his or her tasks correctly. In this way, the travel time is optimized and the management of the drivers is facilitated.