What is Internet of Things (IoT)?

"What is the Internet of Things or IoT?" If you search this on Google, the search engine throws many definitions back at you. For example, Wikipedia defines IoT as: " a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.”

Posted: 26 Aug, 2020

internet of things

What can we extrapolate from this? Well, the Internet of Things (IoT ) can be accessed through various devices—mechanical and digital machines. For the sake of keeping things simple, let’s focus on devices. When thinking about IoT, the devices that connect to it are limitless—desktop computers, laptops, mobile devices like tablets or phones, and even home security systems are devices that make up IoT. With the emergence of the Internet as a primary source of communication, there has been an emergence of a network of devices that users can access to remain connected.

Connection to an “internet of things” (IoT) has brought unprecedented benefits. Mobile phones have evolved from a device used for making and receiving calls, to smartphones which are, in essence, a pocket computer. Users have moved beyond the original functionality of calling or texting to other functions such as reading books, watching movies or television, listening to music, word processing, sending emails, connecting on social media, and more. So how did this all happen?

IoT and SMART Technology

When a device is connected to the internet, it can send information, receive information, or both. This ability to send and/or receive information makes a device SMART. Let's take SMART phones (smartphones) as an example. Now, you can listen to almost any song in the world, but this is not because every song in the world is actually stored on the smartphone. Instead, the songs are stored elsewhere, but the phone can send information (ask for a specific song) and then receive the information (stream the song on the phone). To be classified as a SMART device, smartphones do not need to have super storage or supercomputers within them. The only capability the device needs to have is the ability to connect to a database of information or a supercomputer.

Since IoT encompasses devices, mechanical machines, and digital machines connected to the Internet, they often fall into one of the following three categories:

  • a machine or device that collects information and then sends it,
  • a machine or device that receives information and then operates on it,
  • device, machine, or technology that can do both.

All three have tremendous benefits that complement each other.

Future of IoT

Now that we have provided a brief overview of IoT, let’s talk about the future.

Internet of Thing (IoT) by 2025:

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), by 2025, IoT devices such as machines and sensors are expected to generate 79.4 ZB of data. Additionally, IoT will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 28.7% between 2020 to 2025.

The Internet of Things, Big Data, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence (AI):

We know that IoT refers to devices that transmit data over the network. The device generates an unimaginable amount of data that has great value to the industry. Many organizations, however, have no idea how to manage this amount of data. The field of data science (also known as big data) and artificial intelligence (AI) are able to take the numerous data points generated by IoT, synthesize the information, and extract meaning from these data.

Machine learning is a type of AI (artificial intelligence) that can help computers learn without programming them. The way to program a computer is to focus on the data received from a device and learn from the received data to understand preferences and adjust accordingly. To draw meaning from a large amount of customer data, IoT allows data to flow between devices. AI helps manage the data without any human error. Similarly, AI is considered a key driver for the development of the IoT revolution.

A Side Note about 5G, the Fuel That IOT Needs

5G is the core of the ecosystem enhancement of IoT in the Global South. It is a single network that can sustain billions of applications, devices, and machines that make up IoT. Between 2020 and 2030, IoT devices are projected to grow from 75 billion to more than 100 billion. The transition of global wireless networks from 4G to 5G is the most important. Today's 4G networks can support up to 5500 to 6000 nanobytes of IOT devices on a single unit. With 5G networks, a single unit can handle up to one million devices.

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