Why the Internet of Things matters
The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most talked about things in the world of technology today.
A report by Cisco says that from 15 billion devices today, the world will see 50 billion devices connected via the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2020.
This highlights the huge opportunity lurking around the corner, especially in a country like Tunisia with so very much problems to be solved. I believe youth should be encouraged to make use of these favorable circumstances. So, am acting ! I chose to study at a brave school that gives IoT classes, I am learning as much as I can about IoT through the net and I am sharing my knowledge here on this blog.
Now, with all this talk out of the way, let’s look into the basics of IoT.
What is the Internet of Things ?
IoT is the ability for things that contain embedded technologies to sense, communicate, interact, and collaborate with other things, thus creating a network of physical objects. With IoT, the internet is no longer a set of web pages about things but there is real physical presences that we can control. And by things it’s meant litteraly every single thing: the buildings we live in, the machines and cars we use, our animals, plants, clothes and goods; even we ourselves can become part of this Internet of Things ‘thing’ .
But, how will you, as a genius developer, do that ?
How does the IoT work ?
As a technologist you might first ask ” How will we do that? I don’t care whether it’s useful or not I want to know how it works “. Well, the ‘thing’ is that chips and electronic sensors are embedded in the physical objects that surround us, each capturing and transmitting precise data.
The process of putting this data to work starts with the devices themselves, they security communicate with an Internet of Things Platform. This platform integrates the data from many devices and applies analytics to share the most valuable of this data with the applications we use.
But that brings up a good question: how does the actual computation happen?
Embedded-platform microcontroller boards must exist to connect these components (sensors, a plateform and devices). Each of these boards serves a purpose, so you need to select your board based on your end goal. Below are some of these boards for you to consider when starting your IoT project :
- Raspberry Pi
- Intel Galileo
- Intel Edison
- Samsung Artik
So, starting an IoT project is interesting, not complicated and, dare I say it, fun !
(To get you started I made a very basic tutorial about censoring the surrounding temperature and displaying it. Check it here !).
Why IoT matters ?
It’s hard to ignore all the buzz regarding IoT, just as it’s hard to ignore the impact this over-connected reality of devices and sensors will have on our lives. We are entering a stage where everything will be connected and the impact of IoT will be 11.1 trillion dollars a year by 2025. IoT devices will be spread across factories, cities, human identification and interactions, health care, work sites and general safety, officies and vehicles.But, WHY ?
Because of the ultra low cost of this hardware, the high availability of resources ,the low level of difficulty to compile them and put them together and a highly digital and connected universe that is driving us towards not just connecting a digital space but a physical space.
To get a practical overview on IoT, let’s take a look at health trackers: let’s say I have a heart problem, I can wear a wireless cardiac monitor ! those used in hospitals these days, but the next generation will be web linked. So, my smartphone which has a cardiac app can monitor my heart rythm and give me early wornings. The same data that is transmitted can be used in multiple reports and can be tracked in multiple devices like my laptop, my relatives phones, etc.
IoT also helps with managing things: If we know ‘what things are doing’, ‘how things are feeling’ and where they are, we can better manage things. We know that 51% of the world’s population now lives in cities and we need a better way to manage our cities: If we know where vehicles turn and where they want to go, where the citizens of our smart city are, what they are up to and what their health is, then, We can better manage traffic and maybe eliminate congestion. We can have better energy efficiency, make better use of renewables, and look after the individual safety and security of all citizens.
We can also search for things (you will be able to ask google ‘where are my keys?’ or ‘where is my daughter?’), play with things (IoT is impacting and will transform the gaming industry) and connect with things. Will no longer consider them ‘things’ as we live in an increasingly connected IoT-centric world.