Introduction to the Internet of Things

Biola Emmanuel - Sat, 11th May, 2019 @ 20:59: PM

Internet of Things (IoT):

Our world at the moment is a global village and all thanks to the internet. For now, just consider the internet to be a public network where anyone from any part of the world can connect to (through a computer or phone or some other devices). For instance, you are able to read this article on this academic blog because you have a device that is connected to a network (probably your service provider or some wireless network). Your service provider connects you to every information located on the web through the internet. In short, your device is connected to the web server where this article is being stored (through the internet). You may click HERE to read our article on the evolution of the internet.

Now, with the emergence of internet of things, anything (be it a cup, towel, book, fan, window, bulb, headphones, clothes and even humans) will become connected to the internet. This is the direction to which our world is moving towards. Every connected thing will be considered to be smart (but at present, we have smart phones, smart cars, smart watches and some few other smart devices).

By definition, Internet of things refers to the billions of physical devices (things) around our world that will be connected to the internet.

These things will constantly collect and share data, giving rise to a term called the big data and Data Analytics.

Note: The internet of things is considered as the fourth industrial revolution since it will give rise to technologies like “smart home”, “smart roads”, “smart windows”, “smart coffee maker” and so on.

Let me give you an instance of what the internet of things (IoT) era would look like using a smart road and a smart car as instances. Imagine that we have a smart bridge that is in heavy use by smart vehicles (the bridge and the vehicle are considered smart because they are connected to the internet). Whenever a great traffic is present on this smart bridge; smart cars moving towards the direction of the smart bridge will get information or notifications from the smart bridge concerning the heavy traffic. This communication occurs through internet because both the bridge and cars are smart (connected to the internet). Now, Let imagine that the information sent by the smart bridge states;

“Hey smart car, please don’t make your way through me because I’m chocked up right now. You may use other alternative routes to your destination since they have very little or no traffic. The alternative routes are "bridge A, bridge B, bridge Y and bridge Z”.

...from the smart bridge.

The drivers of these smart cars would get the notifications through their smart car thus allowing them to likely avoid the traffic.

But another question is; "what if the drivers disregard the notifications from the smart cars and decide that they must pass through the smart bridge no matter the amount of traffic"? Well, as far as they keep driving towards the smart bridge, more notifications will be sent to the smart car; from the smart bridge. A point will be reached when the smart car will automatically stop by itself, while also sending a notification to the driver that may read something like:

“Hey, you were warned about the impending traffic on the bridge but you would not listen, well at this point I will no longer move unless you reverse and take the alternate route with less traffic”.

At this point, the driver will need to take the alternate route until the traffic on the smart bridge subsides.

Let’s consider another quick example; Imagine that the heart and blood of a diabetic patient had been connected to the internet. As soon as the blood pressure of this patient rises, his doctor will immediately get the notification on his phone or any other computer device; and that’s very good for medicine. On the part of the patient, he may not even be aware that he just had a rise in his blood pressure at that time.

Internet of things will also result to innovations like "self driving cars, self coffee making jar, self opening and closing of windows depending on the temperature of the room and so on". With internet of things, a smart thermostat can help us heat our homes before we arrive back on a cold day. Also, a smart phone can be used to switch off a home bulb right from the office (because the home bulb and your phone are both connected to the internet). In the era of internet of things, we will have smart cities, smart education, smart offices, smart grids for electricity, smart televisions, smart speakers and so on.


How will things be connected to the internet in IoT?

To summarize the answer to this question, things that will be considered smart will be composed of tiny chips called SENSORS. The sensors will be attached to these potentially smart things so that they can sense or receive information around the environment. A connection will be made to connect these smart things to the internet; so that they can share whatever information that is being received.

Presently, there are more things connected than the number of people living on earth. According to reports, around 8.4 billion IoT devices were in use in 2017. China, North America and Western Europe account for two third of these smart connected things.

Note: The reality of internet of things had been made possible as a result of a very large pool of IP addresses through the IPv6 protocol.


Two Challanges of IoT

  • The biggest issue/concern on the Internet of Things technology is security. For instance, hacking into the sensors controlling a traffic grid can become catastrophic when driverless cars are involved.

  • Another arising issue is the increasing amount of toxic waste that may be emitted from the numerous IoT devices.

Amazing facts in ICT

The big five tech companies are GOOGLE, AMAZON, FACEBOOK, APPLE and MICROSOFT

Please read on Notable dates on internet evolution here.


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