IoT refers to the billions of physical devices around the world that are connected to the Internet, all collecting and sharing data. Because of the advent of super cheap computer chips and the proliferation of wireless networks, anything from a single microcontroller to an airplane has the potential to become part of the IoT. Connecting these disparate objects and adding sensors to them can add a degree of digital intelligence to otherwise silly devices, enabling them to communicate real-time data without involving humans. The IoT makes the world around us smarter and more responsive, combining the digital world with the physical world wireless module.
What is an example of an IoT device?
Almost any physical object can be transformed into an IoT device, as long as it can connect to the Internet, control or transmit information.
A light bulb that a smartphone app can turn on is an IoT device, just like a motion sensor in your office, a smart thermostat or a connected streetlight. IoT devices can be as soft as a child's toy or as serious as a driverless truck. Some large objects may be packed with many small IoT components, like a jet engine, now packed with thousands of sensors collecting and transmitting data to ensure its efficient operation. On a larger scale, smart city projects are populating entire areas with sensors that help us understand and control our environment.
The term Internet of Things is used primarily for devices that are not normally networked, but can communicate independently of human behavior and networks. Thus, personal computers are not typically considered IoT devices, and smartphones are not considered IoT devices - even though the latter are filled with sensors. However, a smartwatch, fitness bracelet or other wearable device can be considered an IoT device.
What is the history of the IoT?
The idea of adding sensors and intelligence to basic objects was discussed throughout the 1980s and 1990s (and arguably there were earlier ideas), but aside from some early projects - including networked vending machines - progress was slow because the technology was immature. The chips are too big and heavy for objects to communicate effectively.
Before it eventually becomes cost-effective and can connect billions of devices, people need processors that are cheap, power-efficient and almost disposable. Radio frequency identification tags - a low-power chip that can communicate wirelessly - solve this problem to some extent. At the same time, the availability of broadband Internet, cellular networks and wireless networks is increasing. the use of IPv6 is also a necessary step for the Internet of Things to scale. More than anything else, IPv6 should be able to provide enough IP addresses for every device the world (or even the entire galaxy) may need.
The IoT combines the interconnectedness of human culture - our 'things' - with the interconnectedness of our digital information systems - the -the 'Internet' combined. This is the Internet of Things.
Adding RFID tags to expensive devices to help track their location was one of the earliest applications of the IoT. Since then, however, the cost of adding sensors and network connections to objects has been declining. Experts predict that one day the cost of this basic feature could be reduced to 10 cents, which would allow almost anything to be connected to the Internet.
The Internet of Things initially attracted the attention of business and manufacturing with applications sometimes called machine-to-machine (M2M), but now the focus is on filling our homes and offices with smart devices, turning it into something that almost everyone has a relationship with. Early suggestions for Internet-connected devices included blogging objects (objects that blog and record their own data on the Internet), ubiquitous computing (or ubicomp), stealth computing, and pervasive computing. However, the Internet of Things and the Internet of Things have always been in use.
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