Even if you’re just a casual internet user, you will have heard the term ‘The Internet of Things’. It’s been the buzz of the tech world for some time now but you still may not realise what it means.
You may be even less aware that we are already living in the Internet of Things. We have been for some time, and in a few short years, the whole world will be.
The Internet of Things is, in short, the future.
The Internet of Things is the ever growing network of interconnected smart devices which have begun to play vital roles in our day to day lives. Connected through mobile and desktop apps, these devices are making our lives faster, cleaner and easier than we ever could have imagined.
Smart watches and smart glasses didn’t have the explosive launch enjoyed by their smartphone predecessors and it seemed like they might not be the Next Big Thing after all.
Now, of course, anyone who goes to a gym more than once a week probably has a wrist band that monitors their heart and blood pressure, how many calories they burn, even how many hours of restful sleep they get in a night. Wearable tech found its place and it’s here to stay.
In time, Smart meters will likely be the most well recognised example of the Internet of Things. The internet enabled meters let you monitor and manage your utilities usage in a way never before conceived of. You can pay bills, adjust the temperature of your house and even check where and how your utilities are being used in your home, so you can adjust usage and save you money.
You may have a smart TV which automatically connects to the internet so you can watch your favourite online streaming services without a third party accessory.
Or smart lightbulbs that allow you to change the tone of the light in every room of your house. Smart kettles can be programmed to start boiling before you get out of bed, or arrive home from a long day of work.
Smart fridges will be able to monitor our food and tell us if it’s nearing its use by date then re-order our groceries for us without is ever realising we were running low.
Security systems can now be connected to both your phone and larger networks so you can check the security of your house wirelessly, even tapping into CCTV cameras.
Live bus and train tracker apps can now tell travellers exactly how long they have to wait for their next ride.
Or perhaps you use a live parking app that uses sensors in city centre car parks to tell you if there are any empty spaces – or allows you to preserve a parking space for when you finally arrive.
Further traffic monitoring technology will be able to control the flow of vehicles through a city and reduce delays.
Scientists and officials can use smart tech to monitor environmental or water conditions, to remotely monitor for approaching natural disasters and alert nearby people to evacuate or find safety.
In time, intelligent shopping systems will enable our favourite stores to detect our approach and may even utilise our internet browsing data to direct us to the parts of the store we want to visit first.
In hospitals, smart medical technology is being applied to make the lives of medical staff and their patients as easy as possible. The technology can enable more accurate and more remote patient monitoring, can be used to administer medicines or perform medical tests using a device that can be plugged into a smartphone.
The Internet of Things is our now and our future. The smart devices and innovations already mentioned are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the spread and reach of the Internet of Things. Through apps on our devices we are shaping and controlling the world and making it a better place to live. The impacts are already apparent – we use smart technology every day in far more ways than we realise. As time goes on, the hope is that The Internet of Things will have rolling positive effect in every industry that uses it.
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