What is the Internet of Things?

Internet of Things

What is the Internet of Things?
We’re entering a new era of computing technology and catchphrase of innovation that many are calling the Internet of Things. A revolutionary new concept that should be on the minds of every individual out there, but isn’t. It is commonly abbreviated as the IoT. Stated briefly, it corresponds to the summit of infrastructural development in the IT sector, wherein objects in the artificial or natural environment will be connected to a worldwide internetwork of things.
This construct is sort of like the internet of computers and “smart” devices that we are familiar with today; however, the vastness and the possible ways of application of the Internet of Things will be greater quantitatively and qualitatively, even more so than the internet is today.
A conventional estimate says that by 2020 the number of devices connected to the Internet will reach the 50 billion mark, so that there will be 6 connected devices per living person on the earth. This number, though seemingly large, seems conservatively small upon further analysis. In the very recent past, we’ve seen a horde of “smart” appliances coming up for the human user to utilize – right from the now common place Smartphone and tablet computer, to cameras, watches, TVs and even wearable apparel and accessories.
Every new release is being conjoined with the prefix “smart, despite probably the only distinction being that the “smart”- er one is capable of being connected to the World Wide Web, and therefore allows access to a range of innovative applications that conventional appliances don’t.
This is nothing but the beginning of the Internet of Things. With the introduction of these smart devices, a tremendous amount of data is being generated and put to use so as to develop even smarter devices that recognize and adapt better to external conditions.
This development will be never-ending, and with every new device joining the Internet of Things, so will the generated data. The potential of this novel technology is seemingly endless as well, and its effective implementation will undoubtedly pave the path to the future.
This implementation is therefore key, and needs to undergo thorough forethought and analysis before being carried out. That very analysis has been attempted in this paper, while underlining the optimal way to bring the concept of Internet of Things from a vision of technocrats to a commonly applied technology.
This is an amazing new paradigm shift and something that all of us must really know. There is a huge future potential for earning money from it. We would have never anticipated all these developments back in the age of dot com boom, web pages and the evolution of the internet.
This new wave is already installing itself everywhere on the globe. This is a transcendental transformation and the ways to earn are getting increased day by day. The Internet of Things is one of these paradigm shifts. It will have lots of money in the coming times. The basic concept is that the entire world will be able to connect itself in an internet like fashion with the help of devices that don’t look like computers but are much smarter than them.

Important building block for the Internet of Things (IoT)
Nike Fitbit is a little device you put in your shoes and it effectively tracks how far you have run. It records that information and sends it across to your iPad or iPhone. The iPhone then looks at the data and figures out how many calories you have burned. RFID tags are the new versions of bar codes. You can stick a sticker on any device, gadget, and machine to track various variables, aspects and factors etc. Basically it is about how everything can be tagged with some kind of computer readable information.
We can forecast weather reports; efficiently handle traffic, global communication, news broadcasting, everyday chores, health, automation of systems in the corporate world etc.

Some people may say that the internet of things sounds both sci-fi as well as dumb at the same time. But does it really matter? If you are a mom and you have 4 kids and if you have an event on Sunday, you can monitor the list of available clean clothes yippee!!
The rigid machine will become smart if there is a temperature sensor in it. Imagine if guns had GPS (Global Positioning Systems), you could plan a covert attack very easily by studying about various topographic features in the enemy terrain and you also stand a chance to get rescued because your backing troops will easily track you down.
If shoes had embedded GPS chips, they would have transmitted information about the terrain, topography, location, roadmap, climate etc. This will be extremely useful to trekkers, marines, athletes and literally anyone who wants to use it!
Before the evolution of the internet of things, the global internet was predominantly run by TCP IP and Ethernet. There used to be several ways to connect computers. But the fundamental way is much more different than the normal TCP IP or Ethernet.
These Radio frequency stickers are classified into active and passive. Active stickers have sensors built into them and they transmit data. Passive stickers have a serial numbers. Wave around a band and active stickers can collect real time data related to temperature or shock. Even if you have an item that might be broken, the RFID can check the amount of damage. RFID tags can constantly monitor and detect if the temperature goes above or below certain levels.
Many of the international RFID tag vendors are now worried about an issue. It is that the battery just doesn’t last long enough. Talking about the Internet of Things, the way these devices and smart systems communicate and also the type of data being monitored and transmitted is different and unique. Hence it is essential to consider the manner in which they are being powered.
There is a unique way where just by the movement of the human body, these devices can be charged. An apt example would be embedding these devices into shoes. Embedding them in the shoes will power these devices. These smart things connect exactly in the Internet like fashion but not the traditional TCP-IP or Ethernet. In the future, even the most common household things like your small carton of milk will have an embedded RFID tag or sticker that will possess temperature reading capabilities and the capacity to transmit related to
• Quantity : Whether it is full / empty
• Quality: Whether the milk is stale /fresh.
• Temperature: Analyzing the temperature of the milk.
• Chemical Analysis: This will show the fat content in the milk.

Imagine that your kids gobbled up all cookies, these smart devices will transmit the signals and the RFID on the refrigerator will indicate through text messages or emails that you have to buy cookies while you shop. Considering the fact that these facilities could make human beings more dependent and lazier than ever, the possibilities are endless. This is just the beginning of the infinite possibilities that could easily come up in a decade using the Internet of Things.
It is an amazing concept that can ever happen to your devices. If you go down to purchase those active RFID tags, they might be expensive. But they are getting cheaper day by day, month by month and year by year. Soon there will be a point where these sensors, tags and devices can be installed anywhere and everywhere. The planet will have a central nervous system then. Devices being linked up together, temperature sensors, flow rate of water, transmission of real time data related to communication, finance and all other things under the sky are soon going to be a reality.
One day the global fraternity will witness itself submerged and drowning in the sea of data. Data leads to information. Information turns into knowledge after thorough authentication, verification and segregation. This knowledge in due course of time gets transformed into wisdom. Small sensors and isolated systems would be constantly monitoring doors, windows, lanes, backyards, subways, pools, bridges, courts, corridors, apartments, highways, and even oceans, seas, lagoons, mountains, glaciers and coral reefs for that matter. These smart RFID tags are already being used for wildlife protection in several hundred sanctuaries across the world.
You will suddenly realize that we have got systems talking to each other. These smart devices and sensors will work with much more efficiency and perfection than we can imagine. New benchmarks will be established with regards to operational efficiency in every industry across the world.
Whether we acknowledge or not, notice this or not, this transcendental transformation or paradigm shift is already happening. We have already begun taping this innate potential of tiny intelligent things and the network that is comprised by these little intelligent items. IT will truly encompass so many different aspects of your life… even Google Glasses are an example of the impending possibilities…

Call or label it as a network of trillions of interconnected intelligent sensors / things / devices systems within the cloud or inter communicating networks and signals… that talk to each other to make human lives better, it is indeed happening. We are entering a mode where every machine, network and even non living objects are getting connected to each other in a way that is all set out to change the entire human lives forever.

Security & Piracy
People also interpret it as a pessimistic invasion and intrusion into our privacies. But the fact remains that the security of Internet of Things will depend on how you modulate and manipulate it according to your needs. But again, another worry is that entities like NSA will continue to snoop into anything they want… and normal encryptions and VPNs are not sufficient to fight their snooping.
Just like the cheesy quote from Spiderman… with greater power comes greater responsibility, these spy organizations will have to censor and put a check on their own spying activities. Technology can be used in any way we want. IT will either liberate us from the restrictions and problems or enslave us to a feared technocratic rule where technology will potentially supersede emotions and even law of nature.

Taxis are broadcasting their positions. Trains and cabs are updating their locations. Complex set of relationships between signals and transmitted data is ensuring that societies are becoming more integrated and efficient. The Internet of Things has all the potential to connect various aspects and ways of our life in intelligent and innovative ways.
There will be a fundamental evolution of new activities and new forms of social relations. You can look at the planet as an information creation and transmission system. One fears whether the planet is slowly submitting itself into a new world laden by technocratic global orders where privacy is dead. Privacy intrusions will be obvious and safeguarding it will be a distant dream. Is it really that night marish?
Or is it just a possible notion that underestimates the Internet of Things since we are embedding intelligence sensors into everything and even into the world of everyday objects?
Internet of Things will change our future
All of a sudden these inanimate objects are endowed with smart agents and the ability to transmit real time data and give feedback. Thus, the world is going to becoming intelligent and responsible. It wouldn’t be wrong to anticipate that the world will look the extesion of our minds and imaginations.
In that new world, everything will be linked to everything else. Thus Matter will become Mind. Essentially we would be moving forward to a time where objects will have actual agents and a kind of consciousness. Things would be enhanced and almost alive. If you walk into a room, the room would know how you prefer the lighting to be and your favorite songs start playing automatically.
The curtains are raised automatically. The refrigerator offers you your favorite snack. The complete flourishing of these technologies promises to essentially blur the distinction between ourselves and the world. One can quote that there will be a perfect union and harmony between man and nature.
The world will have a mind of its own. It’s how cognitive philosophers used to say, nature has eyes too. When our tools start talking back, the motive will be accomplished. We will have fully spread out our minds into the universe. This is the Internet of Things and it is definitely a game changer and full of potentials. Imagine a world where every inanimate object has life. Chairs could think, bullets could analyze, stairs could judge and earphones could predict. The RFID technology and ultra nano sensors embedded everywhere would connect the entire world in a way one could never imagine.
One fear is that as chips get tinier, we’ll introduce them in everything around us. This might invoke and instigate unwanted new challenges. It is necessary to think about the impact that “The Internet of Things (IoT)” will exert on the global future. It will also influence the way people interact with each other in the coming decades and centuries.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a beautiful vision and dream. But however far we may go with technological advancements, the basic necessities of human beings will still remain the same. The joy in fishing with our families, chasing our siblings, chattering without friends and sunbathing at a beach cannot be substituted by any technocratic world orders.

We would still need to be cared, sheltered. We will still love to have fun, be sincere at work and studies, and have affection for our families. May this beautiful blueprint for a better world order not mess up our personal lives? Let us also strive to safeguard our little privacies and ensure that a new world order ruled by intelligent chips won’t deprive us of the basic joys of life.

Privacy intrusion will continue to be a major cause of concern in the coming times. It is impossible to reverse this development of a new technocratic world order. But we must research hard and find out ways to ensure that we all still retain a normal human life where the infiltration of technology doesn’t beat the very meaning of human existence.

It is not that we don’t want technology in our lives. But we need to strictly draw a line and see to it that there is no over dependence on technology. The choice is completely ours and it is at our own discretion to decide whether we want normal lives or a life of robotic slavery where even drinking water will include embedded chips on a glass to analyse the chemical constituents in it!

References
Cisco, (2015). Internet of Things (IoT). [online] Available at: http://www.cisco.com/web/solutions/trends/iot/overview.html [Accessed 3 Feb. 2015].
Microsoft.com, (2015). Internet of Things | Microsoft. [online] Available at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/internet-of-things.aspx [Accessed 3 Feb. 2015].
Techopedia.com, (2015). What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? – Definition from Techopedia. [online] Available at: http://www.techopedia.com/definition/28247/internet-of-things-iot [Accessed 3 Feb. 2015].
Theinternetofthings.eu, (2015). the internet of things | Are you ready for the Internet of Things?. [online] Available at: http://www.theinternetofthings.eu/ [Accessed 3 Feb. 2015].

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Deepak Kamboj

Deepak Kamboj is a Solution Architect and Technology Enthusiast, located at Redmond, WA, having 14+ years of hands on experience in the IT industry.

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