Curious about the Internet of Things? Read on – a short intro. #IoT

"Internet of Things" by SRI Consulting Business Intelligence/National Intelligence Council - Apendix F of Disruptive Technologies Global Trends 2025 page 1 Figure 15 (Background: The Internet of Things). Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -

“Internet of Things” by SRI Consulting Business Intelligence/National Intelligence Council – Apendix F of Disruptive Technologies Global Trends 2025 page 1 Figure 15 (Background: The Internet of Things). Licensed under Public Domain via Commons –

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data. (Wikipedia). The IoT will provide constant contact with our clothing and wearables, cars, offices and our homes. Each item providing information and capable of both sending and receiving information, and then reacting to what it finds.

Thinking about a typical day. Your alarm clock could trigger the coffee machine. Your car could could be connected to your diary and auto sync to a map to provide you with the best direction taking in account weather conditions,  traffic congestion or diversions. Running late? No worries an auto-text will inform whoever you are due to meet. Smart parking will direct you to available spaces. Vehicle auto-diagnosis will remind you when you need fuel, air in your tyres or an MOT. In the office your printer will know it is running low on toner and auto-reorder new supplies. Smart lighting and heating will auto-adjust, helping to reduce energy use. Your chair and monitor heights will auto-adjust wherever you are working. As the evening draws in the curtains in your home will draw close, a welcome light will come on and your smart crock pot will have your evening meal in control.

Harbor Research who curated the infographic below say that from their perspective, this story is not just about people communicating with people or machines communicating with machines. Smart, connected systems are a technological and economic phenomenon of unprecedented scale, encompassing potentially billions if not trillions of nodes — an Internet of infinite interactions and values…

Smart Systems and the Internet of Things are a combination of:

  1. Sensors – location data using GPS sensors. Eyes and ears using camera and microphones, along with seonsory organs that can measure any thing from temperature to pressure changes. For example:
    • position/presence/proximity, motion/velocity/displacement, temperature, humidity/moisture, acoustic/sound/vibration, chemical/gas, flow, force/load/torque/strain/pressure, leaks/levels, electric/magnetic, acceleration/tilt, machine vision/optical ambient light
  2. Connectivity – these inputs are digitised and placed onto networks
  3. People and Processes – these networked inputs can then be combined into bi-directional systems that integrate data, people, processes and systems for better decision making

The interactions between these entities are creating new types of smart applications and services. Examples given include smart thermostats, connected cars, activity trackers, smart outlets and parking sensors.

“We are giving our world a digital nervous system.”

The diversity of applications will affect:

  • Home and consumer  e.g. light bulbs, security, pet feeding, irrigation controller, smoke alarm, energy monitoring
  • Transport and mobility e.g traffic routing, package monitoring, smart parking, shipping
  • Health and body  e.g. patient care, elderly monitoring, remote diagnostic, equipment monitoring, hospital hygiene, bio wearables, food sensors
  • Buildings and infrastructure – e.g. security, lighting, electrical, transit, emergency alerts
  • Cities and industry – e.g. electrical distribution, maintenance, surveillance, signage, emergency services, waste management

Connectivity may take three forms: one-to-one, one-to-many or many-to-many. The combinations are limitless.


What Exactly Is The Internet of Things? #infographic


You can also find more infographics at Visualistan

About Sue Beckingham

A National Teaching Fellow, Educational Developer and Principal Lecturer in Computing with a research interest in the use of social media in higher education.
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