What is Internet of Things – Business Connexion Explains
IoT. Internet of Things.
This is one of the most radical activities happening all around us and most of us haven’t even noticed. Those that have, are been bamboozled with so much technical gumf that its almost impossible to understand.
Internet of Things is one of the hot topics on the upcoming My World of Tomorrow event, so there is no one better to explain the concept than the Chief Technology Officer at Business Connexion, Andy Brauer.
The Basic Stuff We Know
There are certain fundamentals that can all see and understand. More people are getting internet connections to their homes, work and mobile as its hard to survive and function without such connectivity in today’s world. As more locations and devices are being connected so the cost of the devices reduce. This has become so cheap, that it makes financial sense not only to connect our homes but also start to connect machines too. Why drive hours out of your way to check on the stock level of your bending machine, when you could simply connect to the vending machine via the internet and check your stock level.
Being able to connect machines has unlimited potential – everything from coffee machines to security gates to washing machines, air conditioners etc. etc. etc. will be connected. Virtually all machines can be connected. Virtually all “things” can be connected. If this is the case, then it makes sense that people will be connected to their machine to give instructions, but it would also make sense that machines can connect to other machines to get instructions. This is known as Machine to Machine
The IoT Impact
So if anything can be connected and anything will be connected, what impact does that have on us ?
In the past, you came home and switched on the water sprinkler to water your grass. Now, you have a computer that automatically waters the grass at a set time. With IoT, the sprinkler computer, can “talk” to the weather application online and work out if its going to rain today and if so, should the grass be watered or not. It save you money by not wasting water.
If you are driving to your meeting, the car which is connected to the internet, will automatically work out the fastest route to your next meeting as it has access to your diary, and to city maps and to city traffic.
Your fridge at home, is able to scan the barcode on items that you have in the fridge and instead of simply alerting you that you don’t have milk, it could be instructed to simply order it online and the milk gets delivered.
The other side of the everything-is-connected is that it opens up a security problem. If everything is connected, then does that mean that hackers can access our fridge and use that as a way to access our credit card details ? What if the security gate at work is linked to the number plate recognition system, does that mean that anyone can fake the number plate and gain access to my office? These are the kind of questions that have a lot of IT administrators up at night. So before any solution is implemented, these are questions that need to be addressed.
The other IoT challenge is the sharing of personal data. If the Fridge company knows about your buying habits of milk, will you get an email saying since you buy this milk, you should buy this coffee too ? or will your car purposefully take you past a McDonalds on route to your meeting and suggest you stop for a meal ?
The next step in IoT
These any many more questions and opportunities are being addressed by many companies around the world. There is a balance to be had between automation, control and security and as more smart devices join the connected world, we need to find that balance.