If you’re not sure what IoT is, you’re not alone. IoT, or Internet of Things, is a simple concept that just may change the future of technology and our daily lives. Let’s breakdown IoT, take a look at the future of IoT, and take a look at our potential future living in an IoT world.
What is IoT?
The definition of IoT, stated by Techopedia.com, is “a computing concept that describes a future where everyday physical objects will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices.” The article continues, “The IoT is significant because an object that can represent itself digitally becomes something greater than the object by itself. No longer does the object relate just to you, but is now connected to surrounding objects and database data. When many objects act in unison, they are known as having ‘ambient intelligence.’ ”
Simply put, IoT is a concept in which all your digital devices become connected and talk to each other in order automate different tasks. These devices once connected through the internet or other networks, would be in constant contact and would join forces to provide users a more tech immersive and controlled life. This sounds great, right? Well, yes and maybe.
The IoT Impact
Like it or not IoT, is here to stay and only getting more prevalent. The impact of IoT is still being talked about and hotly debated. There will always be two camps, those that like the idea of more tech and more tech inclusion into their lives, and those that are skeptical and concerned about the ramifications of our devices communicating beyond our direct commands.
One thing is certain in the near future anything that can connect, or be connected to, will be connected. CraveOnline writes, “It's 2015, and you'd be hard-pressed to find anything that isn't able to be linked with your phone, the web, or both.” In other words, it is already happening. If you have Bluetooth, you are using some type of IoT. Think about it, you can be listening to music on your phone while getting into your car, and it can automatically connect to your car stereo and play that same music without lifting a finger. That is IoT working.
The impact of this kind of connectivity won’t stop at your phone and car stereo. If IoT continues to evolve every digital device you have will be in constant contact. Imagine a future where your alarm could wake you up, and send a message to your coffee maker to start a fresh pot of coffee. Then your coffee maker could message your car and connect it to your phone, uploading your daily itinerary and schedule. Your car can get on the web and map out the best route to your destinations while at the same time checking for traffic updates. If there is an unavoidable accident, your car could then message your phone to send an email or text to the office letting them know you’ll be five minutes late. All of this communication happens before you have even left your bed.
IoT: Security & Privacy
Again that all sounds amazing, right? Well maybe. That could pose some serious security and privacy challenges. When we turn our daily lives over to an IoT future, we could be setting ourselves up for security breaches and data theft. Using that same scenario above, your daily movements and locations would be online and in various states of digital transfer, making it vulnerable to attack, theft, and hacking. This makes it possible for some ne’er-do-wells to steal that information for nefarious or unscrupulous things.
Others argue that the IoT future is too intrusive. Many people are not comfortable sharing their daily lives or having their private lives being broadcasted to the internet, or even to their own devices. Privacy is a big topic right now, and with future IoT, perhaps its good to ask some questions before we fully capitulate to an IoT future.
Some Fun IoT Gadgets
No matter what side of the fence you find yourself, IoT is going to happen. But once we tackle the challenges, new IoT devices might be really cool here are some cool IoT gadgets that are already here or will be coming very soon.
- Smart refrigerators. Smart refrigerators are already on the market that can connect to the internet. The future IoT refrigerator might be able to do much more. They might be able to monitor your food levels, compile a list, send that list to your phone and connect to your favorite stores looking for deals and coupons. Having everything ready before you even know your low on milk. It could even purchase the things you need from online groceries stores and have them sent to your house.
- Smart couches. The IoT couch of the future may have automatic heated cushions, which could be alerted to turn on when the temperature is cold and five minutes before you get home from work. While heating it could turn on your T.V. and have it on your favorite channel ready for relaxation.
- Smart watches. Apple is already exploring this space. IoT watches could be extensions of your phone and operate hands free, communicating with your phone or any other devices.
- Smart cars. Cars are already pretty smart but imagine a car that could know when you were ready to leave, where you were, and able to drive to your location ready to pick you up. It might be like having a mind reading chauffeur.