The Internet of Things (IoT)
30 years ago, many may have envisioned the future to be a utopia of sorts with flying cars and levitating buildings. Though this is not the current state of things, technology of the future is here today. The internet of things, though some may not know it yet, is not fast approaching or some time off in the distance. It is now. The digital age is upon us. The Internet of things, or IOT, can be described in layman’s terms as physical objects (“things”) that are embedded with sensors, chips, software, or other technologies with the purpose of collecting and exchanging data with other devices over the internet. The purpose being that when devices collect data and analyze it, the results can be beneficial to the user and give insight into knowledge they would otherwise not have been able to obtain.
Today, everything from a toothbrush to a key chain can have a chip or sensor in it, collecting user data, analyzing it, and relaying the results. It may seem eerie or invasive to some, but the internet of things can be extremely beneficial and useful to society. Of course, IoT may give off the impression to some that ‘robots are going to take over the world’, but the simple analysis of such data can make processes more efficient, give insight into the structural integrity of infrastructure, and even save lives.
Many can attest to the fact that smart home devices require little hassle to install and can be extremely useful due to their ease of use and convenience. Smart lights and thermometers for instance are going completely digital and can be controlled from an app on the user’s phone so they don’t even have to as much as get off the couch. Though these kinds of devices are useful and convenient, they are more so luxury items than necessities. The convenience and ease of use of these products are generally the main factors that play into a consumer’s decision to purchase such luxuries. But what of products more beneficial to society in a broader sense? Such as devices that could monitor the infrastructure of a building, detecting broken pipes, leaks, support integrity, and more. Such devices could let the user know when repairs are necessary before any damage occurs. This could revolutionize society as a whole and transform the safety of our infrastructure and buildings.
Soon companies will have the power to monitor the infrastructure of buildings. IoT will make it possible to detect catastrophic damage before it happens. Sensors to tell of impending gas leaks will help to save lives and keep people safer. They will also be able to pick up on things like water damage, further preventing catastrophic damage to buildings. Detecting damage like this will be extremely beneficial in the long run, likely saving companies thousands in repair costs due to the avoidance of catastrophic damage. Companies with such technology would be able to tell their customers of an impending pipe leak for example a week before it happens with a simple phone call or email. IoT in this sense will help change the world in a positive way.
Though this technology is possible, it is not enough to simply install it. It must constantly be collecting, analyzing, and relaying data. However, though it can help prevent catastrophic damage and save money, there are more benefits as well. The data collected will help to optimize usage and lead to savings on energy, water, as well as other utilities and resources. Constantly monitoring the data and analyzing it to make the processes more efficient is the only way to make these benefits possible. IoT has the potential to lead to extreme environmental and financial benefits.
The internet of things has truly changed the world we live in for the better and there is still a long way to go from here. Improvements and innovations will be made to make IoT more efficient and useful. The future is bright for IoT as well as the people that take full advantage of all it has to offer.