Introduction to the Internet of Things:
A while ago, the Internet revolved around computers and smartphones. These were the only things that could be connected to the Internet. With the recent development of the Internet, however, the range of things that can now be connected to the Internet has increased. The power of the Internet now goes beyond just smartphones and computers; it touches almost every process and device. This technological phenomenon is what entails the ‘Internet of Things (IoT).’
The Internet of Things has had a great impact on our world. It has changed almost every industry in all sectors. Therefore, being a very important aspect of our lives, it is important that every person learn IoT basics.
However, if you Google IoT meaning, you will come across very many answers, most of which are very technical and complicated. So, if you have ever wanted to learn IoT but felt that this was a hard topic for you, you’re not alone. In this article, we have discussed the Introduction to the Internet of Things in a very simple way, that is also very easy for you to understand. So, read along!
In order to Learn IoT meaning, take this example. At this moment, you are reading this post. You could be reading the post on your computer, or laptop, or smartphone, or your tablet. Whichever specific device you are using to read this post, one thing is sure; that device is connected to the Internet.
Having an Internet connection is a very good thing. Before the invention of smartphones, a mobile was just used to call and text. However, we now have smartphones which can be connected to the Internet. These smartphones can be used to watch movies, read novels, listen to music online, and do any other thing on the palm of your hand. The smartphone is just but one example of the benefits we gain from connecting devices and other things to the Internet.
Therefore, the Internet of Things (IoT) can simply be defined as the concept of taking physical things, and then connecting these to the Internet. This process usually requires very minimal human intervention. IoT system consists of billions of physical devices, which collect and share data over the Internet. Simply put, in Introduction to IoT, IoT meaning can be put as what merges the physical universe and the digital universe. The world around us would not be as smart and responsive as it is today, were it not for IoT.
Examples of IoT Devices
As you learn IoT, you will need to relate to what you learn to real life. So, what are some of the real-life examples of IoT? If a physical device can be successfully connected to the Internet and be able to share data, then it can pretty much be transformed to an IoT device.
An example of such a physical device is a lightbulb, which can be switched on and off using an application in a smartphone device. Another example of a device which can be transformed into an IoT device is a motion sensor that is connected to an office or streetlight.
The most common area where IoT is applied, that is also a major lesson in the Introduction to Internet of Things, is in smart homes.
In smart homes, you can find very many IoT devices and appliances, such as sensors that monitor the home temperatures and consumption of electricity. As you continue to learn IoT, the better you will understand IoT meaning, as well as the working of all the examples of IoT devices mentioned.
How Big is IoT?
Another important aspect that you need to learn in your introduction to Internet of Things is the size of the IoT. The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the largest systems in technology.
The number of devices connected even exceed the number of people all over the world. By the start of the year 2020, there were recorded IoT devices exceeding 50 billion. Of all these devices, 5.8 billion were from the automotive and enterprise sectors.
All these devices are expected to generate a total of approximately 4.4 trillion gigabytes of data within 2020. This is a great increase percentage compared to the data that these devices generated in 2013, that is, just 100 gigabytes.
With the increasing size of IoT, a great increase in the amount of money made is also expected. Therefore, when you learn IoT, you will be in a better position to make a successful career in this ever-growing system.
How Does IoT Work?
In order to get a clearer understanding of IoT meaning, you need to know how the working process of this system.
The IoT system is mainly constituted by devices that collect data. Each of these devices has its own IP address, which identifies it across the Internet network. IoT devices that collect data range in complexity; as you will get to know as you learn IoT. The data collected by these devices is usually processed, filtered and then analyzed by either the same IoT devices that collected them or by other different devices.
Therefore, in the Introduction to IoT, we can summarize the working of the Internet of Things (IoT) into 3 main processes;
- IoT devices collect data, then send it over the Internet so that it can be processed.
- The collected data is then analyzed in a cloud or in a data centre.
- The analysis process triggers some instructions, which are then sent back to the IoT devices.
IoT devices usually collect data by transmitting it to a specific gathering point. The collected data is then moved and sent over the Internet, through either a wired or a wireless network. This data is usually sent to a particular cloud, or a data centre, which has enough storage and computing power. Alternatively, the transfer of the data can be staged; a process which is usually done by intermediary devices that first aggregate the data before they can send it over the Internet.
In the data centre or the cloud, the received data is then processed. However, in some critical cases, the option of processing data in the cloud or data centre is not really applicable.
Consider, for example, the shut-off case in an industrial setting. In such a setting, the process of collecting data, sending it over the Internet to a remote data centre, and then processing it, can really take too long. Since this is an urgent case, rather than process data in a remote data centre, edge-computing comes into play. However, in this Introduction to the Internet of Things, you don’t need to stress to much about edge-computing, as you will understand this better as you continue to learn IoT.
See also: IoT architecture and its working
Why IoT Matters
You may be wondering; just why should you learn IoT? After all, you may feel that the Introduction to IoT discussed above is already too technical for you. Consider the following reasons why IoT is very important in our modern life.
IoT is all about connecting physical devices to the Internet. When a device is connected to the Internet, it can then be used for sending and/or receiving information. And, if a device can send and/or receive data, then this makes it a smart device. Smart devices make life even more beneficial and simpler.
Take the same example of smartphones. With a smartphone, you can listen to whichever music you want, even music from different countries. However, you are not able to listen to any song because these songs are stored in your phone. Rather, you are able to listen to the songs because; these songs are stored somewhere else, and your phone has the ability to send data (requesting for that song), and then receive the data (by streaming that particular song on your phone).
Therefore, for a device to be smart, it is not required to have a large storage capacity or a supercomputer installed in it. All that the device is required to do is have the ability to connect to a supercomputer or super storage. This concept constitutes the IoT meaning.
An Introduction to Internet of Things, devices that can be connected to the Internet can be classified into 3 categories, as follows;
- Devices that collect and send data.
- Devices that receive and act on data.
- Devices that do both.
Let’s consider the details of each device category, as well as the benefits that each category offers;
A) Devices That Collect and Send Data
Devices, or things, that function to collect and send information in an IoT system are referred to as sensors. There are different types of sensors, for instance; temperature sensors, light sensors, moisture sensors, motion sensors, among many other types of sensors.
When these sensors are connected to the Internet, they can then collect information and data from the environment. The collection of this data usually occurs automatically, provided the sensors are already connected to the Internet. The information collected by sensors helps us make wiser decisions. How so?
Take for instance, the soil moisture sensor. A soil moisture sensor provides a farmer with information about the moisture content on the soil. With this information, a farmer can then be able to tell when the plants should be irrigated. This soil moisture sensor can help to protect crops from being watered either too much or too little, which could lead to environmental damage and the loss of crops, respectively. The sensors ensures that crops always get the right amounts of water, which means increased yields and more income for farmers.
Therefore, we can confidently say that when we learn IoT, we are in a better position to understand how machines help to make an even more sensible world.
B) Devices That Receive and Act on Data
As you have already learnt in the introduction to IoT above, there are very many IoT devices that receive and act on data. A good example is a printer, which receives a document, then acts on it by printing it. Another example is a car, which receives a signal from the car keys, then acts on the received signal by opening the doors. These IoT devices can even receive signals and data from far away and still, act on them. Such devices, therefore, give IoT meaning in our modern life, as they make life even simpler.
C) Devices That Do Both
As you continue to learn IoT, you will learn about devices that can do both, that is, collect and send data, as well as receive data and act on it. Devices with such ability make the epitome of the Internet of Things. In other words, these devices are what perfectly define the ‘real’ IoT meaning.
In order to understand how these devices work, take the example of a soil moisture sensor, as discussed above. Such soil moisture sensors work to gather data about the moisture content in the soil, information that the farmer can use to tell how much water is needed to irrigate the crops. However,
the farmer is not really needed in this setting. Instead, the soil moisture sensor can send the collected data to the irrigation system, which will automatically turn on dependent on the water needs of the crops.
The irrigation system can even be advanced further. If the system gets data about the weather from the Internet, it can use this information to tell whether it is going to rain or not, on that particular day. In case it is going to rain, the irrigation system can choose not to irrigate the crops, as this will be done by the rain.
The soil moisture sensor is just but one example of the many IoT devices that you will learn about in your introduction to Internet of Things. There are other sensors such as those; light sensors, temperature sensors, light sensors, etc. Such sensors have helped to improve very many sectors, especially the agricultural sector.
Pros of IoT
As you learn IoT, you will be exposed to the major benefits of IoT that give it a lot of popularity in our world. Consider some of its major advantages in this introduction to IoT;
a) Easier Access to Information
Due to the Internet of Things, you have much easier and faster access to information, even information that is very far from your location. This easier access to information is due to the large network of IoT devices, which when connected to the Internet can collect and share information. Therefore, IoT has made it possible for people to access information even when they are not really physically present.
b) Enhanced Communication
As you most probably have learnt in IoT meaning, when devices are connected together over the Internet, better communication is made possible. Also, the interconnectivity of devices over the Internet promotes more transparent and efficient communications. For instance, connected machines that communicate with each other over the Internet produce much better and faster output.
c) Time-saving and Cost-saving
The manual transfer of data usually takes a lot of time, as well as money. However, when data packets are transferred over connected networks, this helps to save on both time and money. IoT devices work to collect and send data over the Internet, hence help to save on both time and costs.
Automation refers to a process where tasks are carried out, and with the least human intervention possible. IoT has led to most services and tasks being automated. Automating tasks helps to improve the quality of products and services being produced. It is now wondered then, that automation is a major topic discussed for those who learn IoT.
Cons of IoT
Although not many, IoT does have some disadvantages. The following are the most common disadvantages of IoT
a) Privacy and Security
As more devices are connected to the Internet, the risk of leaking important data also increases. Confidential and important data shared through the Internet cannot really be described as being safe, as there is a chance that it could be hacked by third parties.
Basically, IoT meaning can simply be put as a diverse network, which consists of different connected devices. Therefore, just a single loophole on this diverse network can have a great negative impact on the entire system.
c) Reduced Job Opportunities
With the development of the Internet of Things, most tasks are now being automated. This means that less and less human labour is being required each passing day. And, when the demand for human labour is reduced drastically, so does the number of job opportunities.
Therefore, when we look ahead to the future of IoT, we anticipate that there will a big decline in employment and the rate of hiring.
This video gives you a clear understanding of the Internet of Things Technology
I trust that this introduction to IoT has given you the basics that you require to understand IoT. IoT meaning is all about connecting devices to the Internet, where these devices either collect and send data, or receive and act on the data, or even do both.
Also, it is very important that you continue to learn IoT. By doing so, you will gain a better insight of things and processes in our modern world.
In summary, we can say that; IoT has indeed connected us to the world.
Let us know what you think about this tutorial about “Introduction to IoT and IoT meaning” in the comment section below.