The Internet of Things is a growing network of everyday objects – from industrial machines to consumer goods – that can share information and complete tasks while you are busy with other activities, like work, sleep or exercise.
Soon, our cars, our homes, our major appliances and even our city streets will be connected to the Internet – creating this network of objects that is called the Internet of Things, or IoT for short.
Made up of millions of sensors and devices that generate incessant streams of data, the IoT can be used to improve our lives and our businesses in many ways. But how does it work? And what are these things that are part of the network?
The Internet of Things consists of three main components:
- The things (or assets) themselves.
- The communication networks connecting them.
- The computing systems that make use of the data flowing to and from our things.
Using this infrastructure, objects or assets can communicate with each other and even optimize activities between them based on the analysis of data streaming through the network.
Imagine a sprinkler system that uses forecasts, weather sensors and pay-by-use water rates to optimize the watering of your lawn. Or a public trash can that compacts trash as needed and alerts city workers when it’s full.
Self-parking cars today are a marvel, but what about fully autonomous cars that taxi us efficiently around a city, stopping to share fares when budget-conscious travelers opt in; or trucks that haul commerce safely and quickly across the country, avoiding traffic delays and optimizing part replacement needs?
Home security systems already allow you to remotely control your door locks and thermostats, but what if they took proactive action on your behalf - cooling down your home and opening windows, based on your preferences, the existing weather conditions and your proximity to home?