According to Webopedia, “The Internet of Things (IoT) is “the ever-growing network of physical objects that feature Internet connectivity and the communication that occurs between these and Internet-enabled devices and systems.”
According to the Statistica website, the number of connected devices is projected to reach 50 billion units worldwide by 2020. This means that the connected devices will make your life easier such with cars which let you know when you need an oil change, refrigerators which let you know when there’s a problem, home alarms which let you know when the battery is running low, etc.
The way IoT devices connect will be by using a combination of WIFI and bluetooth. According to Techradar, the range of bluetooth is set to increase by up to four times, which will include an increase in speed and data transfers. Which will then affect me because…? It will make it easier for these devices to connect to the nodes and report problems, if there are any. Right now, having a stable connection is not as good as it could be.
As smart phone and wearable technology becomes more popular, connectivity between those devices will increase and if you work in an office, it will become easier for management and employees to be connected. For example… If you’re a boss and you want to send text messages your employees, they can receive them easily if all of the devices are connected to a specific channel.
Beacons will need to be installed and placed so Bluetooth devices will operate properly. If the beacons are too far away or the Bluetooth device doesn’t have enough power, the devices won’t operate correctly causing this to happen if the devices cannot connect, then important information will be lost or not transmitted. Think of what happens when you drive into an area with no cell phone towers. You cannot call or receive messages. What happens if you have an emergency? Having beacons will remedy that problem, though the problem is likely to persist in the country.
In addition to beacons, sensors will need to be installed, along with repeaters, which not only repeat the signal, but strengthen it. With sensors, they act like the roots of a tree, spreading out in all directions to capture signals and to relay that data to the main part of the Internet which is necessary to relay over the Internet.
According to The Motley Fool, “global spending on IoT devices and services will rise from $656 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020. That growth is expected to be fueled by growth in devices, connectivity solutions, and IT services and according to IDC, modules and sensors, will account for 32% of that total. Research firm IDC estimates that global spending on IoT devices and services will rise from $656 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020. That growth is expected to be fueled by growth in devices, connectivity solutions, and IT services. IDC believes that devices, which include modules and sensors, will account for 32% of that total. That growth will boost demand for “purpose-built” IoT platforms, application software, and cloud-based “as a service” solutions for device management.
One market which has been growing rapidly is the global wearables market. According to Statista, this market is expected to be valued at roughly 53.2 billion USD by 2017. Of these, smartwatches, fitness and health trackers are expected to make up more than 70% of all sales across the globe in 2016. Other markets which are expected to increase are smart clothing and devices which measure the vital signs of patients. Implantation of some devices, such as pacemakers, is on the rise.
An important aspect about IoT is that it’s about services, not devices. While the number of connected devices is on the rise, the importance of what those devices offer to consumers cannot be overlooked. For example…. Technology which is used to monitor your sleep patterns using your smart phone.
One interesting way the IoT will affect you is when you sleep. According to Techradar, there are over 9,000 sleep apps and gadgets. Some apps will switch off the lights, others could connect to electric curtains. Apps of the future will be able to regulate your sleep, taking care of the temperature, lighting, and sound.
One such sleep app is Juvo. According to their advertising, Juvo will monitor your breathing, heart rate, movement and more. This is not a wearable device. Instead, it is a sensor that slips under your mattress.
If you live in a noisy environment, you can use apps to create white noise which will filter out background noise allowing you to sleep.
There are many positive aspects to IoT, but one major issue is the ownership of data and privacy. At the CES technology show, it was apparent data is what manufacturers want and these devices help them get it. The down side is security and privacy.
According to this article, “Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez did admit that she doesn’t use a connected fitness tracker because of data concerns. She also warned companies not to “collect information that they truly don’t need” because it exposes those companies to unnecessary risk.”
The only way to prevent data collection is not to use connected devices, but as the world moves forward, the ability to avoid connectivity will become difficult.
That said, some manufacturers have decided to opt out of connectivity in favor of a simpler life. One such company produces the John’s phone, which is just a phone. You call, hang up and that’s it. There’s no GPS tracking. Another option is to buy an older model cell phone that doesn’t have GPS tracking. In my travels, I met a man, a bank executive, who did exactly that, because he didn’t trust the modern devices.
And privacy is an issue, not just in terms of devices, but also personal security. Privacy consultant JJ Luna advises people to obtain a ghost address, where you do not live and have all your bills sent there. If your security is compromised by as stalker, as an example, they will only find a box on the wall and not where you live. As drastic as this might sound, taking those precautions can save lives. Something to think about, in this increasingly connected world.