Internet of Things: Do you think it’s the Future?

Internet of Things

Internet of Things or IoT is now a broader term that refers to all the devices around the world connected to the internet and sharing or collecting data. IoT allows us to reach the power of the internet and now we are using a lot of objects and appliances on an everyday basis that is actually the applications of IoT. Basically, IoT can be any physical object embedded with sensors, software, and technologies with the purpose to collect and share data over the internet. 

You may not be familiar with it by name but you know it by its applications such as smart homes that make your life easier and more durable. Not only is it bound to home, but it ranges from a Wi-Fi camera on your shelf to a medical device implanted in your body. So, as long as your device can connect to the internet and has sensors, it will be considered an IoT device. 

How does it work?

Devices are connected with the Internet of Things platforms through sensors that combine the data from different devices and share the most related information with applications that are built to provide some services or to fulfill some needs. The Internet of Things platforms analyzes which information is beneficial or required and which can be ignored. Then this information is used for various purposes such as detecting patterns, future predictions about problems, and making recommendations. 

You can also understand it by an example of an automobile manufacturing business owner who wants to know about the most famous components that people need. With the help of IoT, he will use sensors and detect which areas of the showroom are mostly attracted by customers, then he can narrow it down by knowing the fastest-selling components, and then he will know the popular items which he should make so that the items don’t go out of stock. This information is collected by different devices and allows the automobile manufacturing business owner to make components based on real-time information which grows his business and saves time and money. 

Examples of the Internet of Things

Internet of Things: Technology

Internet of Things
Technology

The Internet of Things is embedded with things like sensors, software, and other technologies inside a physical object to connect and exchange data with devices and systems over the internet. Examples of Internet of things technology can include access to low cost/ low power sensor technology, Connectivity making networks connect to the internet to make it easier to transfer data, cloud computing platforms enabling the businesses and consumers to assess infrastructure needed to scale up without having to manage it, Machine learning and analytics make it easier to access to varied and vast amounts of data stored in the cloud, businesses can gather insights faster and more easily and conversational artificial intelligence processes the neural networks brought having natural-language processing (NLP) to IoT devices.

Internet of Things: Home Automation and Smart Home

Internet of Things for Smart Home
Home Automation

This enables data to be collected and then used for monitoring, controlling, and transferring information through the internet allowing specific actions to occur automatically when certain or specific situations arise. Similarly, smart homes are powered this way. Smart homes allow your actions to be taken automatically instead of walking yourself up to the device and taking action. Mostly, nowadays, IoT home automation devices allow you to work with the help of an app or voice commands to control certain actions. Examples include:

Lightings– now with the advanced technologies, lights are able to respond to the actions you take e.g., if you are making your home into a cinema by watching a movie, the lights can dim on their own if it senses you are watching a horror movie and can switch on and off or change its intensity according to actions you take.

Doors– With the help of IoT, doors have become smart as well. The doors will open and close only if you enter the house. This has been made possible due to smart devices or facial recognition. Connecting both the lights and doors, IoT enables the lights to turn on by themselves upon entering your home. 

Windows– IoT enables the windows to function by themselves according to the situations e.g., when it rains, the windows can close by themselves or if the sun rises in the morning the shutters open up by themselves and close at night when the sunsets. 

Thermostats– These days you can control thermostats easily with the help of apps over the phones. Even better you can easily let the thermostat control itself in different situations. It can sense if you are heading home and easily maintain your required room temperature inside your home e.g., if you are showering or exercising it may decrease or increase the temperatures according to certain conditions. 

IoT applications in Healthcare

Internet of Things in Healthcare
Healthcare

There have been constant innovations in technologies in healthcare sectors throughout the years. The Internet of Things is facilitating medical treatment, preventing illness, and aiding healthcare in today’s world making a lot of tasks be easily performed without manual control. The examples include:

Virtual hospitals or wards

Technologies and medical wearables are connected to make hospitals without walls in which outpatients and long-term care can be delivered by healthcare professionals remotely in their homes and freeing up space at the hospitals for the much-needed patients who require intensive care. Examples of virtual hospitals include:

Pulse oximeter– these are small clipped-like devices usually attached to fingers and measure oxygen saturation levels and heart rates and the armpit patches on these devices measure your body temperature. These data are then transferred to staff at virtual hospitals through patients’ phones. 

Wearable devices– patients are equipped with wearable devices which monitor patients’ vital signs remotely such as pulse and oxygen levels and alter their care team if the patient’s condition becomes worse. 

Virtual hospitals/wards have the potential to change the way that care is delivered in the longer term.

Wearable biosensors

Wearable biosensors technology enables the operations of virtual wards and hospitals and other types of care, preventing diseases and detecting them. These devices are small and lightweight and normally worn on the body to detect vital signs such as temperature, heart rate, and breathing rate providing health care professionals with insights into progression on early stages of any type of illness through the symptoms detected. 

Smart thermometers

These are large-scale infection tracking. Smart thermometers and their apps can help users determine how to treat illnesses by offering advice based on other factors such as age and additional symptoms providing guidance particularly valuable for parents of young children, who can be not sure how serious an illness is or what symptoms they should be watching out for. Smart thermometer apps allow data to be shared with a doctor or family caregiver for assistance.

Internet of Robotic Things 

Robotics
Robotics

These can range from warehouse automation to parking lot management or even care of the elderly. In the parking lot these devices can check what cars are entering, are they authorized or not, and alert if any unauthorized car enters. It also contains personal robot space involved to take real physical action by learning and combining sensor data, which can range from garden maintenance to support of the elderly or cleaning. The warehouse automation fulfillment center uses mobile robots to move bins and pallets and coordinate their movements to avoid any accidents.

Internet of Things Security

Internet of Things Security
Internet of Things Security

IoT security is applied in many cases such as: 

-Smart locks allowing no one to access your data on your phone except you by using biometric fingerprints or strong passwords.

-Automatic antivirus updates upon detecting unusual activities.

– End to end encryptions in messages to protect the travel of information from one point to another.

– thermostats controlling temperature upon situations saving electricity. 

– Door locks allowing locks to open and close upon situations that require action to do so.

-Privacy messages or settings informing you if your account is run on any other devices instead of the one you are using to prevent any future problems with your data protection. 

Importance of Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is very popular and the most talkative term in businesses and technology sectors. IoT is a network of objects embedded with sensors, software, electronics, and internet connectivity for the collection and exchange of information. IoT offers numerous benefits such as:

Access to valuable data at low cost– IoT is designed to collect and process large data without causing any impact on system performance. 

Analyzing big data– it has the ability to deliver real-time data in large amounts giving businesses a picture of how their products and services are performing and if any changes or improvements are required to improve them. 

Understanding customer behavior– IoT enables you to understand the overall demand of customers and their purchasing behaviors. 

Reduction of operating costs– with the variety of products available through IoT, it can control the energy usage automatically and interact with devices to reduce overall costs.  

Remote working options– sharing of information and collaborative work is really easy with the help of IoT. Data can be collected and shared with just one touch to your no matter where they are with the use of the internet. IoT devices make it possible to monitor the performance of the employees along with the improvement of operations at all locations.

Disadvantages of IoT

IoT being famous and a useful thing in our lives, it also comes with several drawbacks. These drawbacks are:

Privacy issue

With the technology advancements and social media, your data is always available and connected with the internet, giving hackers a chance to break into the network and steal information. In other words, it is not very safe to use it freely as your data has a risk to be misused. This is one of the issues even the government could not protect because the information is on the internet and hackers can easily enter as per their convenience. The information given can also be used by companies to exploit the users. 

Technology over-reliance

The generation has become very reliant on the availability of technologies and the internet. Relying on the internet on a daily basis and making decisions by the information that is provided can lead to devastation. The more we entrust and focus on the Internet, if we lose it, there will be more likelihood of a potentially negative scenario.

Unemployment

The more technology advances, the more people will be unemployed. If IoT does all the tasks automatically and efficiently then humans might be no longer needed e.g., people who evaluate inventory will lose their jobs because devices can not only communicate with each other but transmit that information to the owner.  

Internet of Things and Big Data

The Internet of Things acts as the driver of big data because IoT generates a huge amount of data from sensors attached to machines, public places, and smart speakers. It allows companies to get a vast amount of data and analyze it to grow in business. A manufacturing company owner can get benefits from information gathered by sensors and can improve the turnover while information collected from sensors around the city will help traffic police to make plans effectively and efficiently. 

Security issues in IoT

IoT is providing ease in many ways but still, technology is not entirely safe. The entire IoT environment has many flaws and security challenges such as update management, users’ knowledge, and awareness, physical hardening, and manufacturing standards. 

There are many issues and the first among them is security risks among IoT devices from manufacturers. It includes hardware issues, weak or guessable passwords, the unsecured update mechanism, and insecure data transfer and storage. Security risk also increases due to a lack of knowledge among users because IoT is a new technology. Moreover, botnet attacks are also one of the biggest security issues, a hacker creates a large network of bots with malware and brings down the target. It’s also a big issue because IoT devices are vulnerable to malware attacks because they don’t have the security updates that a computer has.

Bottom Line

In short, the Internet of Things is providing ease and comfort to us with entertainment and fun. Not just comfort but also IoT allows us to take businesses to another level with real-time information. In this COVID pandemic, IoT allows us to smoothly work from home and protect ourselves while maintaining SOPs.

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