The “Internet of Things” is a phrase you probably heard of a lot nowadays. The “geek community” has been talking about it for quite some time now. The Internet of Things (IoT), in short, is the creation of a network connected devices in order to reach a new level of autonomy.
Internet of Things AKA IoT Concept
The concept has actually been kicking around and since the dawn of the net. In 1982, a soda (or pop) machine connected to a network. There it reported its contents as well as when its freshly stocked product had gotten cold. This was only the beginning, however. A more recognized prerequisite for the IoT movement was in the late ’90s when Kevin Ashton explained the future gravity and importance of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID for short) would have on technology. With RFID tags tacked on items of daily life, a computer could be implemented to create a system that keeps inventory and track of said items. Just shy of 20 years later, this type of system is now possible with smartphones and Near Field Communication stickers. These allow users similar data as the RFID but transmission can be picked up by a swipe motion.
The internet of things has also been heavily intertwined with Do-it-Yourself movement since the later 00’s. The DIY movement is pretty self-explanatory. With build instructions being readily available on the internet, it no longer takes an engineering wizard to build tech gadgets like camera-equipped drones or a cellphone-controlled microwave (A great example of an Internet of things item). Even when taking into account the time involved to build, these items are usually cheaper than their commercially available counterparts.
The item that brought the DIY world and that of the IoT together was the Raspberry Pi. The Pi is a fully functional computer advertised as the size of a credit card (later iterations and clones have actually been smaller). Due to the small size and price tag, makers are inclined to incorporate the device into tech projects. Many prime examples of the Internet of Things projects include it or the similarly marketed Arduino board.
These boards, an apt double entendre of both the circuit board and motherboard, connect the mechanically derived technology like a fridge with the programmable world. With that in mind, one could not only supplement an aging, food-cooling appliance with touchscreen controls but they could also have it report temperature and power draw and implement self-regulating settings in the name of power preservation.
The grander Do-It-Yourself Smart-Home project can connect items like the previously mentioned “Smartfridge”, lights, DIY security systems, and central air. These examples could then be managed from a central hub or remotely from smartphones.
These projects have caught on in recent years, and, responding naturally, the commercial market has caught on, selling normal appliances that can be remotely controlled. Sites like Shopsmart.in (a price comparison website) have seen an influx of products like this, such as portable Bluetooth speakers. The relatively benign product has exploded in recent years and was likely borne out of a DIY IoT project. The market was flooded with products like this. For example, LED Bluetooth lightbulbs which can be turned on or off or dimmed in the absence of a switch can be bought in department stores.
The Internet of Things is not a set of products that can control remotely. It is the new ideal lifestyle. The future comically represented in the Jetsons is actually closer than one may think. On top of that, due to the makers’ movement, it will be possible at an affordable price. Multiple research companies believe that by the year 2020, tens of billions of devices will be connected to this internet. This brave new venture is well underway and will flood the market more than it already has in the years to come.