The INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT) and What It Means for You

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The Internet of Things – sounds pretty cool, right? Except what exactly does it mean?

“If you invent a breakthrough in artificial intelligence, so machines can learn, that is worth 10 Microsofts” – Bill Gates

The Internet of Things, a.k.a. ‘IoT’ is a technology concept that “refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity, and the communication that occurs between these objects and the other Internet-enabled devices and systems.” (https://www.webopedia.com/TERM/I/internet_of_things.html)

Have a Nest thermostat? Smart bulbs? An Apple Watch or Samsung Gear? These are all real-life examples of IoT devices in use by millions of people today. There are also practical applications for smart cities where connectivity and devices across the city create opportunities for increased savings, increased safety and security, and more. Here is a cool article about smart cities: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/smart-cities-6-essential-technologies/

Technology is already ubiquitous in most countries today. But with IoT, we are just beginning to scratch the surface for what our lives will look like in the not-too-distant future. As with any major technological advancement, there are clear positives and negatives to IoT:

Pros:

1.       Automation

2.       Efficiency

3.       Cost-Savings

4.       Communication

5.       Instant Data

Cons:

1.       Privacy and Security

2.       Compatibility

3.       Complexity

4.       Less Jobs

5.       Dependence on Technology

Another major issue with IoT technology – the infrastructure of the Internet must be super reliable for this technology’s pros to outweigh the cons. Not only must the network be reliable, but it must be secure and advanced enough to prevent large-scale infiltration from the “baddies” out there looking to wreak havoc. If this can be figured out, the possibilities of human potential can increase exponentially. Think about something like automotive traffic flow. You could set up a standard traffic light system which relies on patterns, weight plates and such to detect when cars are present – OR – you can create a smart grid which actively understands, in real time using many devices in strategic locations, what traffic is doing across the entire city’s footprint and automatically creates the ideal travel path for the majority of cars at any given time, reducing travel times and traffic congestion. Chattanooga, Tennessee, where we are headquartered, is a forward-thinking city, and local leaders developed a Smart Grid several years ago to manage the service quality and reliability of electricity and fiber optics in the region. https://www.smartgrid.gov/project/epb_smart_grid_project.html Most residents of the city have directly experienced the benefit of this system – whether they know it or not – through proactive reduction of outage times, active communication when power goes down, and more.  

Whatever the use case, there are certainly exciting things happening in technology and IT around the world when it comes to the Internet of Things. As a managed services partner, we also pride ourselves on our ability to make recommendations based on the technical experience of our team and our deep understanding of how technology works. If there is something we can do to assist your company in exploring the potential of practical IoT applications for your business, we sure would love the challenge and the opportunity!

We are interested in your thoughts on the pros and cons, your experiences with IoT, and more! Thanks for reading!

-EB