What is the Internet of Things?

How many objects do you own that are connected to the internet?

A few years ago, you may have said one or two. Today, you are likely to have a laptop, tablet, smartphone, video game console, smart speaker, smartwatch, smart TV and possibly even a smart toaster. With this list only expected to increase in the future, it’s worth considering how this all works and its impact on our daily lives.

By 2020, it’s estimated there will be 50 billion objects connected to the internet. World population projections predict there will be 7.7 billion people alive at this time, meaning that there will be 6.5 objects connected to the internet for each person on earth. These endless connections will create a world blanketed by billions of sensors, all collecting and sharing data from real physical objects and uploading it to the internet. This constant changing and merging of digital and physical worlds is what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

How will IoT impact you?

Imagine that your smartphone wakes you up for University at 7am, you normally catch the train but it has been cancelled today, so you will have to drive instead. The only problem is that it takes longer to drive due to traffic, and it’s raining, which means you’ll have to wake up earlier to make it on time.

As your phone is IoT connected, it knows your train was cancelled and therefore has already reset your alarm and planned a new travel route whilst considering traffic and weather conditions, all while you’ve been sleeping.

The environmental sensors outside have also detected that it is cold and have automatically turned on the heating, so you’ll feel nice and warm when you get out of bed and walk to your kitchen. Your fridge will not only list its contents, but also suggest what you can make that is suited to your mood and the kind of day you have planned, thanks to your smartwatch and its access to your calendar and biosensors.

As for how many objects could be connected, any device with an on and off switch to the internet can be part of the IoT – and chances are they will be. The latest version of Internet Protocol (IPV6) creates more potential addresses than there are atoms on the surface of the earth.

Following the fall in sensor and communication prices, virtually endless opportunities will be created in a world already filled with sensors and data, reacting and changing instantly to suit our needs.

We are at the stage of seeking to understand what these opportunities are going to be, how they will impact our lives and how IoT interacts with us. Not just mere technology, this is altering reality as we know it.

There is no doubt that the Internet of Things will change our future. Be prepared for a smart world filled with smarter tech, and stay competitive with an Information Technology Degree from Murdoch University at Kaplan.

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