The Internet Of Things.

Have you seen that thing on the Internet?

When a conversation has become a bit monotonous ‘things on the internet’ can provide endless topics of discussion to keep things flowing. It can be an article you’ve read, a video you’ve watched or a song you’ve listened to. Things you see on the internet can be beautiful, mind boggling, shocking and sad. It’s a fountain of knowledge that provides infinite information and never ending data. You can get an endless update of information on the internet via Push Notifications

Whilst we rely on the internet on a daily basis for all sorts of things, computers and therefore the Internet are almost wholly dependent on human beings for information. Nearly all of the bits of data available on the Internet were first captured and created by human beings by typing, scanning a bar code, taking a digital picture or pressing a record button. This might not seem like a problem to people like us, the everyday internet user, who can find out pointless stuff at the click of a button. But the problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy – all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world. For example, how long left a light bulb has to go before it needs changing or when something needs repairing or recalling. The little things that are a factor in our everyday lives. If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things – using data they gathered without any help from us – we would be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. So, whilst we have been discussing and enjoying things on the internet the technological wizards of the world have been purring over and developing The Internet of Things (IoT).

No idea what I’m talking about?

The Internet of Things is a massive technological revolution that will influence everything we do. It will open up new doors of possibility that are certain to lead the way in changing the face of technology as we know it. The Internet of Things is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to computer interaction. Basically it cuts old the middle man (or women) so there’s no human involvement in transferring the data/information. It’s the interconnectivity between things using wireless communication technology. So, any natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address that are able to automatically exchange information over a network.

Still with me?

In principal, the Internet of Things means just an environment that gathers information from multiple devices or ‘things’ (computers, vehicles, smartphones and almost anything with a sensor) and applications (anything from a social media app like Twitter to an e-commerce platform). A thing in the Internet of Things can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder or a car that has built in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low. You need a purpose for having all these connected devices and there are thousands of possible purposes out there. That is why the Internet of Things is not a thing but a concept that can be applied to all sorts of things. Basically you need data and a means to access it which is where the ‘Internet’ label comes from but this doesn’t mean you need the Internet itself. You need software that works with that information to analyse it, act on it or just process it.

IoT will have a great impact on our everyday lives in that it will change the way traffic, weather, pollution, and the environment are monitored and how data is collected. You could have a sprinkler system that automatically checks local weather conditions before turning on (not that this would be much use in England). With the power of IoT, every component is “smarter” so the ability to identify the problem, as well as the solution will be lightening quick in comparison. These ‘smart’ devices will give us deeper control of our lives, such as enhancing a door lock so that it contacts you when someone opens it when you’re out or on holiday.

The Internet of Things will also benefit businesses and help them save time and money. For example, the IoT will allow Social Media to become more predictive in the future. Today, 74% of brand marketers report that they see a noticeable increase in web traffic after investing a mere 6 hours a week in social media marketing efforts. The IoT is already optimized for use with social media, allowing automated posts and shares to be regularly generated by the devices themselves. These “smarter” devices will monitor its users and allow the development of social communities, which marketers can target for potential new customers. This will also allow marketers to identify and capitalise on new emerging trends. The Internet of Things will help social media marketers achieve the ultimate goal: smarter, more relevant advertising.

I was trying to explain the Internet of Things to my mate and his wife and as they politely nodded and smiled I could see they had no idea what I was talking about. I felt a bit like Morpheus trying to explain the Matrix. I don’t think until we actually see the Internet of Things in action that we will appreciate the impact it can have on our lives and businesses. The interconnectivity of “smarter” things is the future but for now, we have things on the internet that can be shared and enjoyed all around the world, connecting millions of people.


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