We are living in the era of internet and technology. Without the internet, the world as we know would come to a stand-still. It is, therefore, no surprise that now we have devices which can ‘talk’. Such devices that can talk are known as Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
The term Internet of Things is said to be first coined by British technology pioneer Kevin Ashton. Ashton co-founded the Auto-ID centre at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The term IoT describes a system where different devices interact with each other and share data with each other to perform different tasks. With technology and data becoming cheaper with each passing day, it is now possible to turn most devices into an IoT device. From your mobile phones, music speakers, refrigerators to cars and aeroplanes, everything can be turned into an IoT device with the help of a few chips, software, and internet.
Because of these changes, we now have started adding the word ‘smart’ with most things that we use. Smart homes, smart bulbs, smart TVs, smart toasters, smart air conditioners are some of the examples. In all these devices, you can control the device through the internet. For example, we can control the temperature of our ACs with the help of our smartphones. This is possible because the devices are connected through Wifi and share data with each other to achieve the objective. Amazon’s Alexa is one of the most popular IoT devices in use.
One scenario that could be possible because of IoT is this: Your alarm clock wakes you up at 7 am, which notifies your tea maker to start making your tea and gets ready by the time you are up.
Experts believe that these new technological changes will help in bringing different networks together creating a connected world which will help in exploring new possibilities. Experts also believe these new technological advances will help in ushering fourth industrial revolution. It is believed that IoT can help in the sectors of health, education, manufacturing, transportations among others.
IoT is made possible with the convergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), embedded systems, machine learning, wireless sensor networks, commodity sensors, real-time analytics, and automation among other things.
However, as is usual with everything that deals with the internet, there are grave privacy concerns regarding IoT. Critics believe that IoT can lead to greater surveillance as it gives access to almost everything around us. The devices can also be hacked which can lead to leaking of your bank details or sensitive and private details.
Different stakeholders such as government, tech experts, and industry experts are debating these issues and are trying to come up with standards to address these privacy concerns.