Internet of things (IoT): What is it and How does it work

Internet of Things, commonly known as IoT, is an ever-buzzing term in the technology sphere that promises to change the way humans will lead their lives in the future. So much so that by 2020, the Internet of Things market is expected to grow 35% per year to $1.16 billion, according to Verizon’s State of Market: Internet of Things 2017 report.

Though the idea of connected devices was around since the 1900s, it found momentum in its growth only in 1999 when Kevin Ashton, a co-founder of the Auto-ID Centre at MIT, coined the term “Internet of Things”. IoT is a network of real-world objects, known as ‘things’, connected by the internet. These things use sensors to gather data about the device’s surroundings and pass them over a network.

How Does the Internet of Things Work?

Real-world objects become ‘things’ when sensors are attached to them to sense and collect data from their surroundings. Things can then communicate with each other by sharing this information and acting upon the aggregated information.

The IoT architecture has 4 major components:

1) Sensors

This is the first step where sensors attached to a thing help in collecting a wide range of information. Some devices may have a collection of sensors to sniff complex information from their surroundings. The data gathered may include location, temperature, auditory and visual information among many others.

2) Connectivity

The data gathered by the sensors is sent to the cloud by the use of various methods ranging from Bluetooth to satellite or otherwise by connecting to the internet. The selection of the right method of connectivity is imperative and project-specific.

3) Data Processing

Now that the data has reached the cloud it is analyzed using algorithms specific to the application. Patterns are identified and potential flags are identified even before they occur.

4) User Interface

User Interface helps the users to interact with this independently working system of intelligent objects to perform actions based on the analyzed data. One can receive a notification about the status of one’s ‘things’ or can also remotely monitor the system.

Applications of the Internet of Things

  • Smart Homes
  • Wearables
  • Healthcare
  • Smart Cities
  • Business Services
  • Agriculture

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