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A Quick Guide to the Internet of Things

A Quick Guide to the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next digital revolution. It’s will transform the way we interact with devices and looks set to deliver a range of benefits. Despite this, there’s still some confusion about what IoT actually is and how it works.

In our brief guide, we’ll take a look at the Internet of Things, how it works and what it might potentially deliver.

What is the Internet of Things?

We’re all used to our phones, laptops, TVs and desktop computers being connected to the internet, but the Internet of Things is taking this further. With the IoT, a huge range of everyday objects and products are connected to the internet. 

This can be practically anything, from devices and sensors to heating systems and gadgets. Whenever you see the phrase “IoT-enabled” on a product you’re purchasing it means that it’s capable of being connected to the internet. 

Effectively, this means that it’s capable of communicating data and being controlled remotely. It will also have the ability to streamline processes. We will not only be better able to communicate with items in our homes and workplaces, but they will also be better able to communicate with each other. 

What does this mean in practice?

One increasingly common use of the Internet of Things is central heating systems. Internet-connected central heating can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world where you have internet access. The same applies to your home lighting. 

When you go away or are late getting home from work, you can turn your lights on and off remotely without the need for a separate timing device. Other connected devices might include security systems, fridges, washing machines, vehicles and smart devices. 

What are the components of IoT?

The Silicon Valley tech company Cisco identified three key components that mean a device is part of the Internet of Things.

Firstly, the IoT device should communicate and collect information. For instance, a smart thermostat will communicate data about your home’s temperature. 

Secondly, you should be able to control the device remotely, such as being able to adjust the temperature, timings or shut down a specific piece of equipment as and when required. By using devices such as Amazon Alexa, you could be able to control a range of household appliances and items through a simple command such as “Good Morning, Alexa”.

Thirdly, an IoT device should provide the potential to save money. This might be through the smarter use of energy or time or the tools that help people better understand how they use goods and services. 

A revolutionary moment

The potential of IoT is vast and it’s likely to develop in ways which haven’t even been considered yet. Its presence is beginning to be felt in our homes and increasingly in our workplaces, and like the internet itself, will soon become completely ubiquitous. 

It will change the way we interact with items in our homes, workplaces and local communities, and how those items interact with each other. It has the potential to help solve numerous problems that we currently face, from the climate crisis to ageing populations.

It won’t be long before we are all joining the revolution!

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