The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly changing the world we live in, and how we go about our everyday lives.
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- The Internet of Things (IoT) is Changing Everything
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While the technology that powers IoT is still fairly new, it has already had a profound impact on things like transportation, how we purchase goods, and how we monitor our health.
In this article, you’ll learn what The Internet of Things is, how it works, the benefits and disadvantages that come with IoT, and what the future of IoT looks like.
What is The Internet of Things (IoT)?
Simply put, IoT is an interconnected system of various devices, machines, and even people that are equipped with unique identifiers (UIDs). This gives them the ability to transmit data through a connected network without any person-to-person or person-to-computer interaction.
The true power of IoT comes from this lack of a need for a human to directly interact with another person, or even a device. This automation frees up bandwidth for people to focus on other higher priority efforts.
Due to the fact that IoT is a fairly new concept, many people today are struggling with understanding it fully. However, it’s more than likely that these people are already leveraging the benefits of IoT on a daily basis.
Think of someone with a medical device such as a heart monitor implant, or a train that has built-in sensors to alert the conductor when a component of machinery is not operating appropriately. More practically, think of in-home, voice-activated devices like Alexa, or any device that can be assigned an IP address and can transfer data using a network. All of these are examples of devices that utilize IoT.
But individuals aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits of IoT, as enterprises across industries are quickly adopting new technologies to enable them to operate more efficiently from an organizational perspective, understand their customers better and improve experiences, and facilitate decision-making to boost bottom lines.
As more and more enterprises, as well as individuals, continue to leverage IoT to streamline processes and make life easier, there’s no question that this technology will be a foundational element of our future.
How Does IoT Work?
The ecosystem in which IoT operates is comprised of web-enabled smart devices that rely on embedded processors, sensors, and communication hardware to collect, send, and take action on data they acquire from other environments.
Like Alexa, the voice-controlled virtual assistant from Amazon, IoT works by collecting sensor data from an IoT portal or other similarly equipped device and sharing it. The data is then analyzed locally or moved to the cloud for further analysis.
The amazing thing is that these devices are able to communicate with other related devices, and can even act on the information they receive from one another without any human intervention whatsoever.
The Benefits of IoT
IoT provides many benefits to both individuals and organizations alike.
While it makes the lives of civilians easier by automating everyday tasks, and as a result freeing up time, IoT also benefits organizations of all sizes and industries by enabling them to:
- Examine and monitor overall organizational processes
- Improve customer experiences
- Allocate resources such as time and money more effectively
- Boost the productivity of employees
- Integrate and adapt business models
- Make more informed business decisions overall
- Generate more revenue
IoT frees up the bandwidth necessary for companies to re-strategize their approach to various industries and markets and allows them to constantly improve organizational strategies.
The Disadvantages of IoT
IoT security and IoT privacy are viewed as top concerns due to the fact that IoT connects billions of devices to the internet and involves the use of billions of data points, all of which must be secured.
Because IoT devices are closely connected, all a hacker needs to do to cause a serious problem is exploit a single vulnerability and manipulate all of the data to render it unusable. In order to prevent this, it is absolutely essential that manufacturers update their devices regularly.
Further, IoT devices commonly ask people using them for personal information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and passwords. This information is all fair game for a talented hacker.
But privacy is just as large of a concern as security. For example, businesses that manufacture and distribute consumer IoT devices could then turn around and use those devices to obtain and sell the personal data of users.
What Does the Future of IoT Look Like?
With the ever-expanding use of IoT, there are some jaw-dropping IoT market estimations being made by various credited outlets.
Below are just a few of these IoT market estimations:
- According to Bain & Company, they predict over $450 billion in annual IoT revenue of related hardware and software by the year 2020.
- The number of IoT-connected devices is expected to have a 12% annual growth through 2030, with an estimated 125 billion devices by that time, as per HIS Markit.
- IoT is thought to reach an $11.1 trillion worth by 2025, a study by McKinsey & Company states.
- A report by Gartner estimates that, by 2020, there will be 20.8 billion IoT-connected devices.
IoT is a fascinating and exciting new wave of technology that promises loads of benefits to both individuals and enterprises alike. However, the technology is not flawless, and it comes with disadvantages in matters of privacy and security.