The Internet of Things keeps being proclaimed as the next big technological revolution we will have. The name Internet of Things (most often abbreviated as IoT) keeps being used in magazines and TV shows. The Internet of Things is not a separate internet or a separate way for computers to connect to each other – it is simply the name for a new way of using the internet.
Why it is called the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things talks about making machines connect and talk to each other. This may seem confusing – isn’t that what the internet already is? The difference between the Internet of Things and the internet is that in the internet the intended recipient of the communication is a person. When you open Google.com and search for something you are indeed using machines, but the end product is you, a person. That is how most of our communication happens. When you send your friend a message on Facebook, the real communication is happening between your computer, Facebook’s server, and then your friend’s computer, but the communication process is happening for you and your friend.
In the Internet of Things the end point of communication is a machine and not a person. There is no human involved in the whole communication. Instead it is machines talking to each other and reacting accordingly. It is much easier to understand with the example of self-driving cars. We all know that soon all our cars will be driving themselves using GPS and sensors. Self-driving cars (also called autonomous vehicles) are a part of the Internet of Things. This is because they connect to a server and operate autonomously; without any human intervention. The computer asks the server for the best route, receives directions, and begins driving itself.
Why Everyone is so Excited about the Internet of Things?
Okay, so we will have devices talking to each other, but why is that so exciting? It is so exciting because it unlocks the next step in technology. It will allow us to create amazing systems that make our lives better. Some cities are already implementing IoT technologies to make the lives of their citizens easier. There are smart signals which redirect traffic to make it flow faster. All the signals in the city are connected to each other. All of them detect the amount of traffic and send the information to each other. Whenever there is too much traffic on a road, the signal tells all the other signals to divert traffic. The other signals then shut down access to that road and instead tell the drivers to use other routes, thus preventing a huge traffic jam.
The Internet of Things enables different machines to talk to each other in this way to make our lives better. In the future IoT devices will be common in every home. When you wake up your bed will inform all the devices that you are up. The lights for the toilet will open themselves up as you walk in. As you brush your teeth and wash your face, your coffee maker will start making coffee, so you have a hot cup ready when you step out of the shower. As you sit down on your sofa with your coffee your TV will automatically open and put on the channel you like to watch. Your car will detect that it is hot today and it will turn on the air condition 5 minutes before you leave so the car is cold by the time you sit in it. All such actions will happen automatically; without you having to touch a single button. That is why people are so excited about the Internet of Things – it brings the internet and computers out of our screens and into our life.