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What is 'IoT'?

Posted on Jan 21, 2019.

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'IoT' is a term that gets mentioned regularly, whether it's online or around you in every day life, but not everyone jumps to the chance to explain what is is when asked. Many people are intimidated by the term, as we've been lead to believe that it is some complex and technical concept that it is hard to fully grasp; this is not the case.

'IoT' is short for 'Internet of Things', and if you are wanting a technical definition, here it is: "The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction." So, if you have just read that and feel none-the-wiser, you aren't alone... In simple terms, 'IoT' means taking all things in the world and connecting them to the internet. Once something is connected to the internet, it gives it the ability to send and/or receive information.

To give you an example, on your smartphone you can listen to any song in the world... not because your phone has every single song downloaded, but because every song is stored somewhere else, but your phone has the ability to send information through asking for that song, then your phone receives information back resulting in you now streaming that song on your phone. With this in mind, it's important to note that 'IoT' can be categorised into 3 categories:

1. Things that collect information and then send it.

2. Things that receive information and then act on it.

3. Things that do both.

There are digital devices everywhere... mobiles, laptops, iPads, TVs etc. It is these devices that help collect, analyse and monitor data and information about their surroundings, giving them the ability to communication with each other through the 'Internet of Things'. The Amazon Echo smart speaker or the Google Nest thermostat are perfect examples of newer/more advanced devices you may find around your home that are a part of the 'IoT'.

It is evident through the advances of technology, and that it is becoming a norm to talk to some sort of smart speaker in your home that the 'IoT' continues to grow from strength to strength. Businesses and even public sector organisations are finding ways to harness this power to further improve the way they work.

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