The 21st century has brought with it the proliferation of more internet-ready devices, gadgets are manufactured on a regular basis to meet the demands of the growing world population. This is often referred to as the digital revolution. IT analysts predicts that the Internet of Things or simply IoT is expected to generate $1.26 billion in 2016.
What is the Internet of Things?
The internet of things is considered as one of the emerging technologies of the 21st century and this simply means having smart electronic devices connected together and sharing information over the internet. These ‘things’ on the internet basically interact in real time and makes it easier for the owners to track and monitor their devices at any time.
To further explain this technology, let’s consider a scenario where you have your refrigerator connected to the internet, if your phone or tablet is also connected to the internet, you could have it set in a way that your refrigerator would send you a notification when you are out of eggs or milk, the refrigerator in our example is considered a ‘thing’ on the internet. Cars, washing machines, smart houses, smart TVs are just a few things that are on the Internet of Things in 2016.
Applications of Internet of Things
The IoT is now practically involved in almost all aspects of our lives and the opportunities it will bring in 2016 and the years ahead are countless. IoT-enabled devices will be found in almost all computer networks in the near future. Although when the technology is mentioned, people often associate it with having smart electronics that are connected to the internet, it goes way beyond that. The application is enormous, from reducing maintenance cost to conserving energy and enhancing security. IT companies today are creating smart devices aimed at making life easy for us.
The Google Self-Driving Car Project which is one of the success stories shared by Google, has been designed to navigate safely through streets, they basically make use of sensors that can detect objects that are as far as two football fields away in any direction. These sensors detects cyclists, pedestrians, vehicles and even birds that fly within the coverage area of the sensors. With deaths from traffic accidents over 1.2 million worldwide every year, Google is making its self-driving cars even more smarter in 2016 so it can cover more cities, not just in the US but the UK and other countries.
Manufacturers are becoming more informed about the possibilities that comes with this emerging technology, from gas leakage detection to residential e-meters to traffic control, innovative designs are created that offers a more integrated system control.
Protecting your privacy
Protecting your privacy in a world where virtually all devices are on the internet is something you should be looking at in 2016 and beyond, since sensors are used by virtually every smart device to send real time updates, this also implies that your sensitive personal data could be sent by these devices. How then can you protect your privacy? Let me provide you with some tips that can help you with protecting your privacy.
- Since your smart devices often connect to the internet using Wi-Fi, always remember to protect your passwords, a common mistake most people make is to use pet names, birthdays or some other obvious identifiers as passwords. Although protecting your Wi-Fi password is something no one needs to tell you, using devices that are designed to work on the Internet of Things exposes you to hackers that will want to take control of all your devices and steal personal information if possible.
- You should take some time to know what matters, using our previous eggs example, you do not have to put RFID tags on your eggs in order to know you need to buy more eggs, writing a note to yourself is probably a better idea.
- Anytime you realize that internet ads are targeting you in particular, you might want to unplug some of the devices for some time, another good thing you should also consider doing is turning off Cookies on your internet browsers since Cookies stores your browsing history, usernames, passwords and internet habits. Although most websites make their Cookies policy information available, it is your responsibility to go through and make sure you are comfortable with the information that might be gathered on you.
- You have to put in mind that the Internet of Things has been designed as a convenience and not a necessity, so using your mobile phone to turn on the light in your room is rather frivolous and not necessary. Using the same device to monitor the security system in your home and alerting the authorities if there is a breach, is a much better use of the technology.
What the future holds
Hopes are high in the IT industry as regards to what the Internet of Things could help us achieve in the future, Cisco Systems which is a leading company in the computer networking industry refers to the Internet of Things as the Internet of Everything (IoE), Cisco suggests the possibility of living in a world where all objects can communicate with each other without limitations. As expressed by the CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey R Immelt, sees a global connectivity of machines, data and people as what he calls the “Industrial Internet” which can add up to $15 trillion to world GDP over the next 20 years.
The development of industrial internet technology and its applications is expected to get $1 billion from GE, companies are more focused on educating consumers on the possibilities that IoT brings before the proliferation of IoT-based devices become even more than it is today. Business owners in the UK and other developed countries in the world could greatly leverage on the benefits that comes with the Internet of Things, with smart devices that can communicate with people on the internet, you can pull useful usage statistics and better understand customers’ spending pattern and needs.