IoT: What Exactly is the Internet of Things?
IoT is everywhere lately, but what exactly is the Internet of Things?
Have you seen or heard the phrase, the Internet of Things – or IoT for short – lately? If you’re like many people, you have no clue with IoT means, let alone how it has probably already impacted your life and how it will impact your future. But, what exactly does the term mean, and how does it affect you? The Internet of Things collectively refers to Internet-connected smart devices. Right now, the IoT space is growing at a rapid pace. According to Gartner, it will grow to 26 billion devices by 2020 – and this doesn’t include things like laptops, 2-in-1’s, mobile phones and tablets. This is a 30-fold increase from 2009. IoT is a big industry, and it’s only getting bigger. Let’s find out exactly what IoT is and some of the ways it can improve your life.
Explanation of Internet of Things
The Internet of Things focuses on connectivity between everyday “smart” or “connected” items and the internet, by the way of embedded electronics. These “items” can be anything really. Certain models of vehicles, washing machines, lights, wearable devices and even pet products can connect to the internet – and to other devices – right now. In the future, it will be common for many appliances and even things like buildings to be completely smart. But, what does that really mean, and why do you want your devices talking to each other? Here’s a scenario to help you understand the benefit of IoT: Your alarm wakes you up at 7:30 and your coffee maker starts percolating. You get in your car, and suddenly you are in gridlock traffic. Your car notifies your employer that you are running late, while figuring out an alternate route to get you to work faster. At work, you notice the printer ink running low. No problem, the printer has already ordered more ink – and it’s learned your typical workload, so you won’t run out before more ink arrives. Since you arrived late to work, you’ll be staying a bit late today. Fifteen minutes before you arrive home later than usual, the thermostat kicks in and warms your house. And while you were gone? Your pet feeder knew it was time for Fido to eat, so it automatically feeds a hungry Fido. So, as you see, the IoT can have a significant impact on your life and work. And most will agree, it’s a very good one! Here are some astounding facts about the IoT:
- By 2020, 250,000 vehicles will be connected to the Internet.
- The global wearable device, like the Fitbit for example, has grown 223% in 2015.
- Large companies like Google and Samsung are investing in IoT. Google bought Nest Labs, which makes smart thermostats and Samsung, bought a home automation company, SmartThings.
What This Means for You
One of the great advantages to the IoT is how it can transform your home into a connected smart home. When designing a smart home, we like to start with an easy-to-use, central command center that’s accessible from your smartphone. Our SURE Universal Remote app fits the bill and you can use it to control many of your smart devices and appliances from a single interface, rather than having to use and learn each manufacturer’s app. And, we’re working tirelessly adding new devices as they become available. Next, you can consider adding a Smart TV and other smart appliances like:
- A smart outlet like the WeMo Insight. It can monitor and log power usage, you can control it with your smartphone, and you can also set up a timer schedule. For example, if your child is sick, you can plug in a humidifier and before you go to bed, you can use your phone to turn it off, rather than sneaking in and disturbing your little one.
- Amazon Echo or Google Home – These are hands-free voice-controlled devices that become the center of your smart home. Think of them as your personal assistants. For example, they can play music, answer questions and control your lighting and thermostats – but can also order you a pizza or call an Uber to your doorstep.
- Phillips Hue wireless lighting – Use your SURE Universal remote to control these wireless lights. These colorful lights can set the mood to a movie, to music or just for setting an ambient atmosphere with a loved one.
The Internet of Things isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. If you haven’t adopted to this new way of life, now is the time to start. And with some innovative devices that are becoming part of the IoT, you’ll be one step ahead of your neighbor. Over to you – how do you use the Internet of Things in your life?