The Internet of Things (IoT) is a phrase that describes several emerging technologies that will enable devices to interact and work more like a network. It can refer to anything from cars that communicate with one another to watches that keep time with the activity of other watches. The term is very new, but already has been the focus of several important technology advances. Here are some of those advances:
Digital charging: This is a technology that allows electronic devices to be charged while they are out of batteries. This can allow devices such as cameras to charge while they are not in use. Another example involves using Bluetooth technology in conjunction with micro-buses to extend the range of wireless connections. RFID tags can be used in place of bar codes for purposes such as product tracking and inventory. These are just a few of the applications that are being discovered every day. As new technologies become available, the marketplace will open up even more.
Interactivity: Various forms of electronic data exchange have already taken place between devices. This has happened through Bluetooth, which has allowed devices to communicate wirelessly. Video and audio can be exchanged wirelessly as well. These types of technologies are referred to as “wearable technologies.” Other forms of IOT technology allow devices to communicate directly with one another or access information stored on remote servers.
Storage of data: Companies now routinely collect massive amounts of data, much of it from customers who are continuously accessing the company’s services. In some cases, the company simply serves the data to the customer, but in other cases the customer accesses the data by logging onto the company’s website and sending requests for information. In any case, this huge amount of data storage needs to be replaced by something more efficient and smaller. One way to replace this data storage is to store it on devices that are themselves computers.
Automation: As the internet of things becomes more prevalent, many tasks will be automatically handled by machines. For instance, automated cash registers may soon be a standard feature in many supermarkets. The invention of software like Amazon’s Kindle actually made book reading more enjoyable, as the book could be read while doing other things, like cooking, cleaning, or watching television. There are many other applications that have yet to be imagined.
Connectivity: The internet of things has brought about many changes in communication. For instance, many devices now can send email and browse the web wirelessly. These changes have opened up the door to handheld devices that can communicate and work with printers, televisions, computers, cell phones, PDAs, laptops, and various other computer peripherals. In fact, many devices can function as if they were standalone computers.
Energy: Many things in our modern lives are powered by electricity. This is why the internet is considered to be a form of energy. The invention of things like solar panels and wind turbines has made powering our homes and businesses much more affordable and reliable. As things become more energy independent, the internet will become even more widely connected.
The internet of things promises to usher in a new age in technology and civilization. However, we should all be very careful about what we let enter into our lives. We should always try to keep things that can bring us harm very small, such as the size of a bug or virus. Anything larger than that should be left alone. While the internet of things will make things more manageable for all of us, it also poses great danger.