The Internet of Things, or IoT, is an old concept that is currently revolutionizing the way we live, yet so many people still do not know it exists or what it is. The Internet of Things, also known as IoT for short, is a network of “Smart” devices known as “Objects” or “Things”. These devices can communicate with each other through wireless and the internet, with or without human interaction, to provide automated services or carry out tasks at home or the office, in the car, even inside your body! In 2006 there was around 2 billion Things throughout the world, mostly in businesses, factories and the health care sector, in 2015 an expected 15 billion, and by 2020 an estimated 200 billion connected devices automating the world we live in.
If you grew up between 1962 and 1988 you should remember a TV show called “The Jetsons”, a cartoon based on a futuristic family where they had robotics and appliances to carry out their daily chores. If you have seen the show, the picture you have in your mind is a life connected via the Internet of Things, we even have the flying cars!
IoT devices typically use sensors such as motion/thermal/proximity/sound sensors for security related devices, heart beat/breath sensors for medical and fitness devices and enviromental sensors for devices that help monitor the enviroment. These devices collect data and send them to the cloud which provides the data to monitoring or controlling applications.
In 2014 there was a lot of attention about Smart Watches and Wearables, amongst other features these watches use the internet or Bluetooth to send data from sensors to the cloud and connected devices/applications. Another IoT craze in 2014 was Google Glass which, amongst many other uses, was used successfully in operating rooms in hospitals. These two devices seemed to become popular quickly then interest faded with time, but I have no doubt that in the not so distant future these two types of devices will become a major part of peoples day to day lives.
A closer to home example of the Internet of Things is a project that I am currently building called the LinGalieo Security System. This system is built on an Intel Galileo development board and uses thermal/sound/light and proximity sensors to monitor the enviroment and send the data to the TechBubble GUI via an API. Once the data has been recorded it can be monitored via the control panel and the system automatically notifies via email and voice alerts if the sensors have detected motion/light or sound.
The endless possibilities that the Internet of Things provides is, and will continue to, change the way that we live our lives forever. Towns and cities are quickly adopting the IoT and creating connected zones where IoT devices can communicate with each other, over the next year the technologies will be coming more into the public eye and way of life so make sure you keep up to date with news about the IoT.