You are on your way to the office and you are late, your car would have access to your calendar and would tell you when your meeting is and accordingly show you the shortest path to the office or send a text to your colleagues informing that you will be late. Imagine your coffee maker, making coffee without your intervention, as soon as you switch off your morning alarm. Well, all this might have been impossible few years ago, but not now. With the Internet of Things coming in, all this is just a step away or may be even closer.
What is Internet Of Things (IoT)?
Internet Of Things (IoT) is a network of inter-connected machines that are able to interact with each other and work accordingly. It does so by collecting and exchanging data through embedded sensors, processors and communication hardware. An ecosystem of wireless connectivity, which can be monitored, controlled and linked over the internet via a mobile application.
How IoT works?
IoT works by sending data to cloud through sensors/devices. The mode of connectivity of sensors/devices to the cloud may be either of cellular, satellite, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, low power wide area (LPWAN) or it may simply be connected via ethernet.
Once data is sent to cloud, it is processed over there and then as per requirement, it can perform an action, such as sending an alert or automatically adjusting the sensors/devices without the need for the user. In case the user wants to provide some input, a user interface such as mobile phone or tablet is used. Any action that user takes is then sent back to the cloud and from cloud to the respective sensors/devices.
Platforms for IoT
The following are some of the top IoT platforms on the market today:
- Amazon Web Services
- Microsoft Azure
- ThingWorx IoT Platform
- IBM’s Watson
- Cisco IoT Cloud Connect
- Salesforce IoT Cloud
- Oracle Integrated Cloud
- GE Predix
Pros of IoT
Individuals, societies, business all will benefit from IoT. In the field of medicine, a chip embedded with sensors can be inserted into the human body, to track the spreading of various diseases or to monitor the health of the patient. Security systems using IoT can be installed in homes for personal safety. IoT-enabled devices in cars can automatically call emergency service in case of an accident. Slowly and gradually, the interaction of humans with various electrical items will become easy. It would serve as the bridge between the device sensors and the data networks.
Businesses will benefit from IoT as it would lower operating cost and increase productivity. It will also help in asset tracking, supply chain management. The government can also rope in the concept of IoT for improving transportation networks, alert systems in case of natural calamity, tracking of illegal activities on street etc. All this would lead us towards a better society.
Cons of IoT
With the huge amount of data getting circulated through IoT, it is also vulnerable to cyber attacks. Hackers can simply hack into your toaster and get access to your network. Privacy remains the main concern. A huge amount of users will be having their data in the cloud, so a higher level of encryption needs to be applied.
And the research is still on…..
Lots of research is being carried out, to make Internet of Things a reality. To improve its compatibility with already available devices in the market and simplify things as well as improve the security aspect. It is still in its nascent stage, gearing up to take the next generation of digitization by a wave.