What is Internet of Things (IoT)?

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a network of interconnected computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals, and people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

A person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transmitter, an automobile with built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low, or any other man-made artifact that can be assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address are all examples of Internet of Things.

Organizations across a wide range of industries are increasingly turning to IoT to improve operational efficiency, better understand customers to provide better customer service, improve decision-making, and boost the value of their businesses.

How does IoT work?

An IoT environment is made up of web-enabled smart devices using embedded systems such as processors, sensors, and communication hardware to gather, send, and act on data from their environment. By connecting to an IoT gateway or other edge device, IoT devices can share sensor data that is either routed to the cloud for analysis or processed locally. These gadgets may occasionally communicate with one another and act on the information they receive. Although individuals can engage with the devices to set them up, give them instructions, or retrieve data, the gadgets do the majority of the work without human participation.

The connectivity, networking, and communication protocols that these web-enabled devices use are primarily determined by the IoT applications that are installed.

IoT can also use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make the data collection process easier and more dynamic.

Why is IoT important?

People can use the Internet of Things to live and work smarter and achieve complete control over their lives. IoT is critical in business in addition to providing smart devices to automate homes. IoT gives businesses a real-time view of how their systems work, providing information on anything from machine performance to supply chain and logistical operations.

Companies may use the Internet of Things to automate processes and save money on manpower. It also reduces waste and enhances service delivery by lowering the cost of manufacturing and delivering items and providing transparency into consumer transactions.

As a result, the Internet of Things is one of the most significant technologies of everyday life, and it will continue to gain popularity as more businesses recognize the value of connected devices to maintain their competitiveness.

What are the benefits of IoT to organizations?

Organizations can benefit from the Internet of Things in a variety of ways. Some advantages are industry-specific, while others are relevant to a variety of industries. Some of the most popular advantages of IoT include:

  • monitoring the entire business process,
  • improving customer experience (CX),
  • saving time and money,
  • increasing employee productivity,
  • combining and adapting business models,
  • making sensible business decisions; and
  • increasing your revenue.

IoT encourages businesses to rethink how they approach business and provides them with the tools to improve their strategy.

In general, IoT is most prevalent in manufacturing, transportation, and utility businesses, where sensors and other IoT devices are used; but, it has also found applications in agriculture, infrastructure, and home automation, leading to certain organizations’ digital transformation.

Farmers can benefit from IoT by making their jobs easier. Sensors can gather information on rainfall, humidity, temperature, and soil content, among other things, to aid in the automation of farming practices.

The ability to monitor operations surrounding infrastructure is another factor that IoT may help with. Sensors could be used to track events or changes in structural buildings, bridges, and other infrastructure, for example. This has many advantages, including cost savings, time savings, quality-of-life workflow changes, and a paperless workflow.

A home automation company can use IoT to monitor and control mechanical and electrical systems in a building. Smart cities can help citizens minimize waste and energy usage on a larger scale.

Every industry is affected by the Internet of Things, including healthcare, banking, retail, and manufacturing.

Advantages and disadvantages of IoT

Some of the advantages of IoT include:

  • Improved communication between connected electronic devices; 
  • Saving time and money by sending data packets over a linked network; and
  • Automating tasks to help improve the quality of a company’s services while also minimizing the need for human interaction.

Some of the disadvantages of IoT include:

  • As the number of connected devices grows and more information is shared between them, the risk of a hacker stealing personal data increases as well.
  • Enterprises may someday have to deal with large numbers of IoT devices, possibly millions, and collecting and managing data from all of those devices will be difficult.
  • If there is a bug in the system, every connected device will most likely get corrupted.
  • It’s difficult for devices from different manufacturers to interact with each other since there is no universal standard for IoT compatibility.

Consumer and enterprise IoT applications

The Internet of Things has a variety of real-world applications, from consumer IoT and enterprise IoT to manufacturing and industrial IoT. (IIoT). IoT applications can be found in a variety of industries, including automotive, telecommunications, and energy.

Smart houses with smart thermostats, smart appliances, and connected heating, lighting, and electronic devices, for example, can be managed remotely via computers and smartphones in the consumer segment.

Wearable devices with sensors and software may gather and analyze user data, as well as send messages to other technologies, in order to make users’ lives easier and more comfortable. Wearable devices are also used in public safety, such as enhancing first responder reaction times during emergencies by offering efficient routes to a location or tracking construction workers’ or firefighters’ vital signs in potentially life-threatening situations.

In healthcare, IoT has numerous advantages, including the potential to monitor patients more carefully through data analysis. IoT technologies are frequently used in hospitals to fulfill activities such as pharmaceutical and medical instrument inventory management.

Sensors that detect how many people are in a room, for example, can help smart buildings save money on energy. The temperature can be adjusted automatically, such as putting on the air conditioner if sensors detect that a conference room is full or turning down the heat if everyone has left the office.

In agriculture, IoT-based smart farming systems can use connected sensors to monitor things like light, temperature, humidity, and soil moisture in crop fields. IoT can also be used to automate irrigation systems.

IoT sensors and deployments, such as smart lighting and smart meters, can help alleviate traffic, conserve energy, monitor environmental issues, and improve sanitation in a smart city.

IoT security and privacy issues

The Internet of Things connects billions of devices to the internet and uses billions of data points, all of which must be secured. IoT security and privacy are cited as major concerns due to its larger attack surface.

Since IoT devices are so closely connected, a hacker only needs to exploit one vulnerability to manipulate all of the data and render it useless. Manufacturers that fail to update their equipment on a regular basis expose them to cybercriminals.

Furthermore, connected devices frequently prompt users to provide personal information such as names, ages, addresses, phone numbers, and even social network accounts, all of which can be invaluable to hackers.

Hackers aren’t the only risk to the Internet of Things; privacy is also a major concern for IoT users. Companies that manufacture and distribute consumer IoT devices, for example, could utilize those devices to collect and sell the personal data of their users.

In addition to leaking personal data, IoT poses a threat to critical infrastructures, such as electricity, transportation, and financial services.

Future of IoT

If 25 billion devices are connected to the Internet of Things by 2021, this growing trend will surely enhance Artificial Intelligence (AI), popularize Data Broking, and spark a discussion regarding IoT’s social, legal, and ethical consequences. A new wave of cyber risks will emerge as more devices become interconnected. Cyber hackers could soon be breaking into your coffee maker and gaining access to your sensitive and personal information. As the new era of cyber threats begins, it is critical that you secure your IoT devices to avoid cyber attacks.