The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to all physical devices in different parts of the globe that are now connected to the internet, all sharing and collecting data. These devices wouldn’t usually be generally expected to have an internet connection. The arrival of super-cheap computer chips and the presence of wireless networks everywhere make billions of physical devices around the world to be connected to the internet.
It’s now possible to turn anything as small as a pill or as big as an airplane into a part of the IoT. Devices get an additional level of digital intelligence when they are connected and added with sensors, allowing them to communicate real-time data without human intervention. The merging of digital and physical universes is made possible with the Internet of Things.
Understanding the Internet of Things
All physical objects can be transformed into an IoT device, provided that it can be connected to the internet to communicate information or to be controlled. A lightbulb can be transformed into an IoT device when it can be switched on using a smartphone app. The same thing with a smart thermostat, a motion sensor in your office, or a connected streetlight.
An IoT device could be as simple as your child’s toy or as complicated as a driverless monster truck. Some large objects may themselves consist of thousands of smaller IoT components. A modern jet engine is filled with thousands of smaller IoT components, including sensors collecting and transmitting data back to ensure it is operating smoothly. At an even larger scale, smart cities projects are deploying sensors all over regions to help us understand and control the environment.
PCs and smartphones are not generally considered IoT devices since the term IoT only applies for devices that generally not expected to connect to the internet and can communicate with the network without involving a human being. However, smartwatches and fitness bands and other wearable devices might be counted as an IoT device.
How big is the IoT?
IoT is prominent as the number of connected things already exceeded the number of connected people in the world. And the Internet of Things is expected to get bigger every year. IDC, a tech analyst company, predicts that there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices or things in total by 2025. The company also suggests automotive and industrial equipment represent the most significant opportunity for connected things. It also sees the robust adoption of wearable devices and smart homes in the near term.
Gartner, another tech analyst, expects 5.8 billion devices in the enterprise and automotive sectors in 2020, up nearly a quarter of 2019. The highest user of IoT will be utilities, owing to the continuing rise of smart meters. The second most top user of IoT devices will be security devices, in the form of web cameras and intruder detection. The fastest-growing sector will be building automation, such as connected lighting. The second fastest will be automotive for connected cars and healthcare for monitoring of chronic diseases.