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There’s a lot of industry buzz around the concept of IoT – the ‘Internet of Things’. But what exactly is IoT and what’s all the hype about? How will it reshape the future?

Here’s a quick two minute guide to the basics.

What is the Internet of Things?

IoT, or the Internet of Things, is a concept in computing and networking which describes how an increasing number of everyday physical devices and objects are being connected to the Internet and are able to relay information about themselves to us. We’ve all heard the example of the Internet-connected fridge that alerts you (via your smartphone) to order more milk when it’s running low (or orders it automatically).

What are the implications of IoT?

IoT is already starting to improve and disrupt a vast range of industries and applications and the concept is far-reaching that it’s difficult to predict the future implications. There are new applications for IoT being conceptualised and realised every day.

One thing is certain: the future will involve an unbelievable amount of information being collected, processed and even acted on without any input from us as end-users.

Some typical examples where IoT will improve our lives in the future are:

  • Smart parking: monitoring and reporting to your smartphone and car of whereabouts of empty carparks
  • Smart traffic lights: integrated traffic control systems that monitor traffic congestion and optimise accordingly
  • Hazard alerts: smart bridges/highways that can detect ice or incidents and alert your car kilometres away, to warn you to slow down
  • Waste management: detection of rubbish levels through a city to optimise collection routes and schedules
  • Smart infrastructure: sensors in concrete and steel bridges detecting and reporting excessive movement or degradation
  • Tiny heart monitors implanted in your body monitoring heart patterns can send you an alert if any abnormal activity is detected
  • Smart trolleys or checkouts: items are automatically scanned at the supermarket and your credit card is automatically charged as you leave the store.
  • Production optimisation: the movement of products and people in your factory can be monitored in real-time to optimise processes
  • Home automation: virtually every electric device in your home can be controlled and monitored from your smartphone: fridge, garage door, shaver,  lighting, coffee machine, heating & cooling, etc, etc.
  • Smart agriculture: remote monitoring of crops and livestock
  • Smart pills: swallowable sensors that track vital internal functions

As a fast-developing, disruptive concept, the Internet of Things is one of the most promising developments in the information age.

What IoT ideas are you developing in your business or industry? What IoT developments will severely disrupt the way you currently do business?