The Internet of Things (IoT) is a vague yet fascinating concept which intrigues most people, yet few understand its full nature and close relationship with the deployment of fibre optics.
The Internet of Things: What is it?
In a nutshell, the Internet of Things involves smart, connected devices and the technology to allow these networked devices to interact and communicate with one another. Real world and everyday objects with embedded sensors that can communicate wirelessly constitute the ‘things’ including vehicles, machines, buildings, people, animals, goods and the broader Environment.
The use of IoT comprises home sensors and smart appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines automatically switching on or contacting the manufacturer when they need servicing. Sensors embedded in smart vehicles will communicate via sensors in the urban environment to warn drivers of upcoming traffic jams and then automatically provide alternative routes and identify available parking spaces close to the destination.
In the health industry, wearable and telehealth monitors will warn of medical conditions, and keep track of vital statistics while enabling the remote diagnosis of some illnesses. Recently, the term “Internet of Everything” has also been used to describe the imagined hyperconnected nature of everything. This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything conceivable. Smart devices will interpret data and fine-tune its capabilities over time and the ability to communicate with other objects and with people will become the norm. Consequently,
machine-to-machine (M2M), machine-to-person (M2P) and person-to-person (P2P) will be part of future communication.
What drives the key technologies of the Internet of Things is the miniaturisation of sensors that need small amounts of power and can connect to wireless networks, either through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. In the future a growing variety of applications will be controlled and monitored through pervasive smartphones.