What is the internet of things?

How-To

Confused about the internet of things? Never even heard of it? This is what you need to know…
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What is the internet of things?

Getting in sync with life

The term ‘internet of things’ (or IoT for short) is being bandied about more and more these days, and if you’re a bit lost on it’s meaning – we guarantee you’re not alone. Thankfully it’s not as complicated as it sounds…

The internet of things is an umbrella term that covers a range of ‘smart’, connected objects that you’ll soon (or may already) have around your home. These things are deemed smart because they can ‘talk’ to each other using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, or can be controlled from your smartphone.

These gadgets can range from large white goods, like fridges and washing machines, to smaller appliances like coffee machines and toasters, to home security, like the locks on your doors or CCTV.

Being able to control and monitor this stuff from your smartphone when you’re not at home wouldn’t be possible without them being connected to a shared network, becoming part of, and contributing to, the internet of things.

For example...

Let’s imagine a scenario in which a machine makes your coffee in the morning to be ready a few minutes before your alarm goes off. It’s also been pretty cold overnight so your Nest Learning Thermostat has turned itself on to make sure you wake up to a toasty home.

On the way home from work, you receive a reminder from your fridge to pick up milk because the bottle you have is approaching its expiration date, and as you pull onto the drive, your front door unlocks because it knows you’re close.

This is the sort of promise the IoT holds. And, you may be surprised to know that this isn’t the description of the future - this is all happening right now. Fortunately, connected devices like this are quickly coming down in price, and are expected to become more mainstream in the near future.

Samsung, for example, is investing over $100m (£65m) in the industry. Telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has also expressed an interest in the growth of the IoT, saying it wants “to ensure the UK plays a leading role”, noting that over 40 million devices are connected via the IoT in the UK already, and that it expects that figure to grow eight-fold by 2022.

The smart home is within our grasp, but it may be a few years before your fridge does the grocery shopping for you. We’d love to hear from you if you’ve got any experience with connected devices – just drop us a comment below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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